It’s a troublesome life and perhaps self-lacing shoes would help…

Oh, I do like the story about the self-lacing shoes operated by an app that doesn’t work properly.

This is for at least two reasons. One, the laces on my Dr Martens are always coming undone (more about those Docs in a moment). Two, it seems a fitting metaphor for a country that can no longer do up its own shoes.

Laces must be tied this way… no laces go that way… I am committed to tying laces this way, as I have always said… once we are free to tie British laces in the British way, the world will be ours… and so on in an endless undone loop of loose flapping shoes.

The malfunctioning app goes with the Nike Adapt BB shoe that came out last month – costing a bead of sweat under £300. According to a small report in the Guardian, these shoes “contain what the sportswear firm calls power laces, tightening or loosening the shoes at the press of a button either on the shoes or through a connected app”.

I worry about shoes that depend on an app. Do we really need technology that much? There are so many apps nowadays and I fear for the ‘putting on my Levi jeans’ app breaking down. Where would I be then? Trouser-less.

The misfiring Nikes are, as the name suggests, baseball shoes – but so are Converse shoes, as worn and operated without an accompanying app since around 1920.

With the Nikes, the idea is that the wearer can change the fit with the app for different situations, “such as moving from playing a game to resting on the sidelines”. Or you could just sit down and loosen the laces a bit.

Oh, the app also allows the wearer to customise light settings. And the app on my Dr Martens allows me to customise the polish settings by occasionally remembering to clean them.

But the laces do come undone on one of my two pairs. They seem tight as Theresa May’s nerves one minute, yet the next they are flapping free. It’s a troublesome life, and perhaps self-doing laces would help.

As a long-time wearer of Docs, I was heartened by a recent headline in the Observer – “Fashion reboot: why Dr Martens keep coming back in style.”

Ah, I always knew I had my toe on the pulse.

The story beneath that headline was mostly about catwalk fashion, rather than ageing man’s walk fashion, but never mind. Dr Martens are my favourite shoes, apart from the Loake ones I saw in a shop window in Manchester the other day that cost around the price of those self-lacing Nikes.

Getting dressed is not exactly a lottery for me: Levis’s, white T-shirt, cashmere jumper from John Lewis (choice of four) and Dr Martens. The other day in one of my jobs, a journalism lecturer pointed at my feet and then at his. We were wearing the same sort of Dr Martens, the heavy-souled ones (four-wheel drive shoes).

A solid choice but you do need to let your calf muscles know in advance, as those shoes take some lifting.

The ones picture here need that self-lacing app, if any technological types are passing by.

Leave a Reply