New Delhi: We're sure there's not a single person in the world who hasn't gone through the annoying experience of having their shoelaces 'magically' untying themselves while you're walking.
In school, at work, while you're out for a walk or a run – your shoelaces find some opportunity to wiggle their way out of the knot you were so sure was strong enough to hold them in place.
Most of us blame it on a weak knot or simply the pace with which we walk or the typical 'someone must have stepped on my shoe' theory. But is that really it?
Researchers believe it has a completely different reason and it all boils down to Science! A study conducted by a team of researchers at UC Berkeley looked into lace loosening and through it, attempted to figure out why it happens.
According to the study, the way our feet hit and leave the ground while running or walking cause a 'stomp and whip' effect, thereby disentangling the knot, tugging on the end until the entire lace gives way.
However, stomping or whipping forces by themselves are not enough to untie the shoe, as both forces must take effect.
This basically puts the burden on understanding why certain knots are better than others, which no one has really done.
As per the Huffington Post, in order to arrive at these findings, the Cal Berkeley engineers videotapedfellow engineer Christine Gregg while she ran on a treadmill. It was filmed in slow-motion so researchers could figure out what causes “shoelace knot failure.”
"First, the repeated impact of the shoe on the floor during walking serves to loosen the knot,” the study says. “Then, the whipping motions of the free ends of the laces caused by the leg swing produce slipping of the laces. This leads to eventual runaway untangling of the knot.”
The study also looked at the two most common ways people tie their shoes.
“Some laces might be better than others for tying knots, but the fundamental mechanics causing them to fail is the same, we believe,” Gregg said in an interview with Berkeley’s website, the Huffington Post reported.
According to researchers, the study on shoelaces could open many doors and have major implications for studies on DNA.