Peace Magazine (Canada) Interview
Nov-2007: Interview mainly about the different lacing methods, delving into areas such as fashion versus function plus cultural influences such as the wearer's nationality and age.
- Interview for: Peace Magazine (formerly Canada’s street style magazine, since closed)
- Interviewed by: Morgan Gerard
- Interviewed via: E-mail
- Interviewed on: 03-Nov-2007
MORGAN: Is lacing a bit of an obsession with you and, if so, how did it all begin?
IAN: I was always more interested in shoelace knots than lacing methods, having invented my own super-fast knot back in 1982. In 2000, when I really got going on my shoelace site, I found that most people were more interested in lacing methods than knots. This started me on documenting what was out there as well as inventing and testing new methods.
MORGAN: How many lacing styles have you catalogued in your travels?
IAN: There's over fifty lacing methods in my upcoming book, of which I've only added 33 to the web site so far. In addition, there's probably another fifty methods of which I only have sketches and have to find the time to add at some stage. Looks like I'll be busy for a while yet!
MORGAN: Do you have either one favourite or a variety that you use for different shoes or situations?
IAN: Most of my everyday shoes have “Over Under Lacing”, which is a very practical method yet slightly different looking method that really appeals to my sense of efficiency. For my trendier sneakers, I use “Lattice Lacing”, especially with some wide, colourful laces.
MORGAN: Are some “sexier” and others more “practical”? Any examples, by style or technique name?
IAN: From a scientific standpoint, I'm really interested in the practical methods that people from all walks of life have developed.
For example, “Hiking / Biking Lacing” places the loops and loose ends towards the side of the shoe instead of in the middle. Positioning them on the inside (between your ankles) places them further away from snagging undergrowth when hiking. Positioned on the outside, they stay clear of chains and cranks when cycling.
Many runners swear by different methods that reduce pressure-points, which invariably cause blisters. One such method, called “Bar Lacing” (or “Lydiard Lacing”) reduces the pressure on the sensitive top of the foot, while “Bow Tie Lacing” can be used to avoid any tight areas.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many of the “sexier” or more “fashionable” methods are completely impractical in terms of looking great at the expense of being nearly impossible to tighten or loosen. For example, “Checkerboard Lacing” forms a neat woven checkerboard, but the ends are simply tucked into the shoe rather than knotted, turning the shoe into a “slip-on”. I even added a couple of insanely difficult methods to the book, like “Star Lacing”, that only true lacing addicts will ever attempt.
MORGAN: People send you photos of their lacing examples from around the world. Have you noticed any trends or cultural lacing patterns based on variables like where these people live, their age or what kind of footwear they're lacing?
IAN: People often don't tell me much about themselves, so I'd be guessing at any trends. I suspect, however, that people use lacing methods to express their individuality, so a quiet person may use a minimalistic method even if they live in a “loud” community.
Footwear-wise, there are some slight trends, though these may have been influenced by the way these methods were traditionally used and hence the way they are presented on the site. For example, “Ladder Lacing” and “Spider Web Lacing” were traditionally used on tall military boots, and thus are still popular on those types of tall boots as well as Converse Hi-Tops.
MORGAN: Many Peace readers consider themselves sneaker afficianados. How can reading Laces help them step up their game?
IAN: Firstly, by raising awareness of what's possible. Many may not have even considered more than one or two methods, let alone fifty! Second, by showing some really fresh footwear laced in different ways that can totally change the appearance. Even something as simple as replacing laces with a different colour can have a dramatic effect. Third, many people suffer in the name of fashion, putting up with sneakers that may not fit properly, or with laces that are way too long, or most commonly, with shoelaces that come undone. There are dozens of solutions to all of these problems, from lacing methods that adjust fit, ways to shorten shoelaces, and more secure shoelace knots.
MORGAN: Are you a sneaker freak and, if so, do you have a short list of your favourite pairs (and why)?
IAN: I never considered myself a sneaker freak previously, but I'm fast being converted. My favourite pairs are my grey Pumas (seen on most of the sample lacing shots) and some new Converse Double Uppers, which I laced with green and gold laces and wore with my tuxedo at my book's launch party! Why? Because sometimes you just have to wear something that's really wild!
“OVER UNDER AND BEYOND”
By Morgan Gerard, Peace Magazine (Canada), 11-Jan-2008
(Article no longer available online since Peace website closed)