Light-up LED shoelaces

There are some things that work better in theory than in real life, and shoelaces that light up definitely fit into the former. Solange wears similar shoelaces in her music video ‘Lovers in the parking lot’. When I saw these novelty shoelaces, I thought I would give them a try. These battery-powered shoelaces (that’s a phrase I never thought I would use!) have LEDs that light up.

LED shoelaces in the original packaging.

LED shoelaces in the original packaging.

Each shoelace is made up of 2 parts – a long bit of clear plastic for the lace, and the part that lights up, which is powered by a round battery. Both parts should be attached, but my first problem was that the shoelaces didn’t come with any instructions on how to do so. It took me ages to figure out how everything connected up.

With no instructions, it took Shih Yen a long time to figure out how to correctly connect up the LED shoelaces.

With no instructions, it took Shih Yen a long time to figure out how to correctly connect up the LED shoelaces.

After a long time, I finally managed to get everything connected correctly and working. It felt like I was wearing disco lights on my feet. The lights changed colour and flashed. This brings me to the second problem: I don’t know when or where anyone would wear these shoelaces, other than maybe being in a Solange music video. I can’t think of a single occasion where someone would want to wear disco lights on their shoes. At first, I thought maybe it’s appropriate to wear clubbing, but then clubs already have flashing lights anyway, so lights on shoelaces would go unnoticed. The only benefit I can think of for wearing these shoelaces is if you wear them in pitch darkness. The flashing lights would light the way for you.

Don't have a torch? These LED shoelaces light the way for you in complete darkness.

Don’t have a torch? These LED shoelaces light the way for you in complete darkness.

The packaging claims that these shoelaces are waterproof and washable. I have my doubts about this claim, given that there are electronics (LEDs and batteries) in the laces. I certainly wouldn’t wear this out in a thunderstorm. Actually, I think I wouldn’t wear these light-up laces at all.

The LED light-up shoelaces in low light.

The LED light-up shoelaces in low light.

Curly Shoelaces

Curly shoelaces were popular in the 1980s – 1990s, but I somehow missed this trend at the height of its popularity. I managed to find curly shoelaces recently, so I thought I would write about them this month. My curly shoelaces are made in Taiwan. As the name suggests, curly laces are curly and coiled, and they look like springs.

Curly shoelaces

Curly shoelaces look like springs.

These shoelaces are also called elastic non-tying shoelaces, but curly shoelaces sound so much better, don’t you agree? Because of the curly shape and elastic nature of the laces, they don’t need to be tied. They are great for young children who don’t know how to tie their shoelaces. Curly laces are useful for people who suffer from arthritis or other medical problems that prevent them from tying shoelaces. Curly shoelaces are also a good option for someone really lazy who doesn’t feel like bending down to tie their laces all the time.

curlylaces1

Curly laces can be tied just like ordinary shoelaces.

Curly laces can be tied just like normal shoelaces. If going for the usual criss cross Xs, just pull laces through the eyelets and twist to straighten.

Personally, I prefer doing up curly laces in a parallel style because I think it looks better.

My personal preference for tying curly shoelaces.

My personal preference for tying curly shoelaces.

Different ways to tie your shoelaces and minor acts of rebellion

I had my primary and secondary education in Malaysia. The goal of the Malaysian education system seemed to be to make every student the same – both in the way they look and the way they think. I attended 7 different schools in 3 different cities across East and West Malaysia, so I feel well qualified to write about Malaysian schools. I attended one school that even printed a rule book that stated clearly all the school rules.

All Malaysian government schools have a school uniform which is the same across the country. Even one of the kindergartens I attended had a uniform. School rules were restrictive and didn’t seem to serve any purpose apart from making us all look the same. There were school rules that dictated hair colour, hair length, skirt length, even fingernail length (and yes, they check!). No hair clips, makeup, jewellery or nail polish (not even clear polish) was allowed. There were rules that stated what colour rubber bands you can use to tie up your hair, even rules on the colour of the lenses in your glasses. On top of that, every student has to wear a name tag because there are too many students for the teachers to remember our names. What has all this got to do with shoes, shoelaces or socks? Bear with me, I will get to the point.

Of course there were rules on the colour of school shoes and socks. Both shoes and socks had to be all-white; not even a stripe of colour or a coloured logo was allowed. I don’t know who decided Malaysian students should wear white canvas shoes and socks. They are so hard to keep clean. While the school rules can dictate the colour of my shoelaces (white of course!), none of the schools I attended had rules specifying how I should tie my shoelaces. So, the way I tied my shoelaces was the only way I had to show my individuality at school.

I will now share these different ways to tie shoelaces. You do not need to stick with the usual way of tying laces with criss cross Xs. Back in June, I wrote about LA Gear sneakers, which were the first to introduce me to tying shoes with two pairs of shoelaces. Since it was LA Gear sneakers that first inspired me, I have used my LA Gear shoes here, but all these ways of tying shoelaces can be used with any sneaker or shoe that requires laces. These styles have all been road tested (or should I say walk tested) by me.

These are my LA Gear sneakers with shoelaces as they came in the box.

The picture above is how the shoelaces looked when I took them out of the box. But Xs are so boring! You could try shoelaces tied parallel.

Try parallel shoelaces

Or in a zig zag pattern. The zig zag pattern works best with a pair of short shoelaces.

Or maybe zig zags

If you have two pairs of shoelaces, here’s what you can do:

To achieve a chess/checker board design, start with one pair of shoelaces tied parallel. Then, weave a second pair of shoelace through the first pair to get the desired pattern.

This weaved pattern was my favourite way of tying shoelaces as a teen. Even though I could only use white shoelaces at school, I love the chess board design.

This style works best with 2 pairs of short shoelaces

This shoelace design is one I associate the most with the 1980s LA Gear style of tying shoes with 2 pairs of laces

A zig zag pattern with 2 pairs of shoelaces

Levi’s recycled shoes

Earth’s population is now 7 billion and continuing to increase by a billion every 13 years or so. With limited resources on earth, it is in everyone’s best interest to be more eco-friendly and practice the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. Separating my rubbish into plastics, glass, paper and cardboard had been my extent of recycling until I bought a pair of recycled shoes made by Levi’s. These are not secondhand shoes, but shoes that have been made from recycled materials.

Levi’s is a company that is trying to be more eco-friendly. It has a Water<Less range of jeans which uses on average 28% less water to manufacture. Levi’s encourages consumers to donate their old jeans and they also used 25 500 pairs of old jeans to make recycled denim insulation for their San Francisco headquarters.

Additionally, Levi’s also has a range of footwear called their Red Tab shoes, which is made from old jeans. According to Levi’s, no two pairs of shoes are the same.

This recycled Levi’s shoes started life as a pair of jeans.

While I love the design and idea of the recycled shoes, I have an issue with the cost. The Levi’s recycled shoe cost more than the pair of Levi’s shoes made from new materials. Surely recycled shoes should cost less since the recycled materials used to make it would cost less. If recycled shoes were cheaper than shoes made of new materials, this would encourage more people to recycle.

Both pairs of Levi’s shoes that I bought were made in Indonesia, and they seem to be made to fit Indonesian feet too. I found the shoes to be slightly too narrow for my feet, but I still love the style of the Levi’s shoes.

Red Tab recycled shoes by Levi’s also come with denim shoelaces.