I’ve noticed the past couple of years that running shoe laces have been going through an enlightenment period; evolving at a faster rate than ever before, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good thing. Personally I have the latest technology in shoe lace science in my New Balance MT101s and to be honest, they have been coming untied a lot lately. The good thing about shoe laces though is that they are interchangeable, you can put any type of shoe lace on any type of running shoe. We examine if it’s time to go back from the future for your running shoe laces.
Flat woven: These are your traditional running shoe laces. They are a 1/2 inch wide, flat and square with plastic end points for ease of lacing. They range from 27 to 72 inches and have traditionally been about 34 inches in running shoes. They can be made of cotton, jute, or hemp which is different from modern running shoe laces made from synthetic fibers which tend to be more slippery. The length of the flat woven on traditional running shoes allows for little excess lace to dangle on the side of your shoe. This results in an extra tight shoe as runners must tighten enough to have plenty of lace for the tie.
Fat Woven: These are very similar to the flat woven running shoe laces above; however, they have a width of 3/4 inch. The idea behind having fatter woven laces is that they won’t loosen in the lacing holes on the shoe as you run. They also make it easier to tie for all intensive gripping purposes.
Round Braided: These first appeared in basketball shoes and made their way into running shoes. The lengths range from 27 to 72 inches; however, most are 72 inches because of their basketball “baggy look” heritage. The 72 inch laces are much too long for running shoes as runners feet pass each other very closely. Basketball players are able to tuck the long laces into their shoes but runners can’t due to chaffing. Don’t buy these shoe laces and if they come with your running shoes throw them out.
SURE LACE: This is what my New Balance 101s have. The length of the laces are 34 inches. The laces resemble round braided laces but are computer knit designed with a reciprocating wave pattern. New Balance says it, “secure shoe laces, provide added midfoot support, and keep the shoe snug around the foot.” I agree with all of these except it keeps the shoe laces secure. Here’s a video about them:
Overall, you have to find the shoe lace that fits you, but don’t be fooled by gimmicks like SURE LACE technology or the hip long lace fad. If it aint broke, don’t fix it, just tie a double knot!