MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Extra Lace Holes On Sneakers

You’ve probably had questions about your clothes before, like “Why are shirt buttons on different sides for men & women? (Because, historically, women didn’t dress themselves.) Or why do my jeans have a tiny pocket? (To hold your pocket watch, duh.) But, while both of those points are relics of a different time, nowadays if you look at your sneakers, there’s a commonly-ignored detail that can actually be useful in your day-to-day life.

Most sneakers have an extra set of holes above the laces that most times go unused. You may have noticed that the holes don’t exactly line up with the rest of the laces, which indicates they’re for a special purpose. Now, in most situations, ignoring this pair of holes is totally fine, but if you’re tying up your shoes before a rigorous run or hike, you should take advantage of them.

Those extra holes actually create what’s called a “heel lock”. You start by taking one lace & poking it through the hole directly above it to create a loop. Then, do the same with the lace on the other side. Next, take the ends of both laces & pull them through the opposite loops, before tightening the laces by pulling them down rather than up. Then, once you’ve created the heel lock, just secure it with a regular bow tie.

This tightens the opening of your shoe around your ankle, which helps prevent your heel from sliding against the back of your sneaker as you run. It also stops your toe from hitting the front of your shoe. It’s especially handy for long runs, walks, or other activities that can often end with heel blisters & bruised toes. And, even if you aren’t slipping on your shoes for exercise, lacing up those extra holes can make a loose-fitting sneaker more comfortable.

Of course, the heel lock trick only works if your laces stayed tied, which even the most expertly-tied knot can’t guarantee.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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