This is why your shoelaces come undone all the time

Because science says so

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Because science says so

Don’t you just love science? From why you should watch porn on a first date to why women with dogs are happier, it has an explanation for everything.

Including why you keep suffering one of the most annoying fashion mishaps: your shoelaces becoming undone. Or, as the mechanical engineers at University California Berkeley call it, ’shoelace knot failure’.

It’s all down to two things really. One, the force of your foot striking the ground, which relaxes the knot.

And second, the force caused by your leg swinging, which unravels the ends of the shoelaces.

Lead researcher Christopher Daily-Diamond told the BBC, ‘When you talk about knotted structures, if you can start to understand the shoelace, then you can apply it to other things, like DNA or microstructures, that fail under dynamic forces.

‘This is the first step toward understanding why certain knots are better than others, which no one has really done.’

And while some types of shoelaces may be better than others, it’s just a matter of time before the knot failure occurs.

Co-author of the study Christine Gregg tested various laces, and concluded, ‘The interesting thing about this mechanism is that your laces can be fine for a really long time and it's not until you get one little bit of motion to cause loosening that starts this avalanche effect leading to knot failure.’

So basically any time you walk or run then. Our solution? Double knotting all the way.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.