University scientists baffled by how Vans always land laces-up


Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Jeff Klebauskas, Staff Writer

After years of research dating back to the early 1980s, University physics professors Gordan James Van Doren and Paul C. Lee remain stumped as to how Vans shoes always land laces-up after being slammed Off The Wall™ of the Olin Science Building.


The brand of shoes, specifically the checkered slip-ons that were made famous by world-renowned burnout and slacker Jeff Spicoli, have fascinated Van Doren and Lee ever since they noticed that they had never, not once in their entire life, seen a pair of Vans lying soles-up.


Three years ago, the duo managed to publish their findings on why the slip-on Vans always land soles-down. Something about the kinetic parameters of the rubber combining with the thermal energy of … it doesn’t matter.  The point is, despite these experiments, they still cannot scientifically explain why the slip-on’s laced counterpart always lands in a supine position.


Van Doren expounded on their puzzlement, but he remains cautiously optimistic about getting to the bottom of this footwear singularity.


“The lace-up phenomenon is a source of astonishment and confusion among the academic elite,” Van Doren said. “Dr. Lee and I are steadfast on our goal of finally getting to the bottom of this as they did with the Beacon of Maracaibo or the ‘Sailing Stones’ of Death Valley.”


In spite of Van Doren and Lee’s focus on this particular brand of shoes, many of their fellow professors in the University’s Physics Department find the studies unfairly preferential to Vans.


“Converse, Nike, and, yes, even the mid-’90s version of the brand that bears my namesake always land lace-up as well,” Dr. Harvey Airwalk said. “I am not suggesting that Dr. Van Doren and Dr. Lee are wrong in their pursuit.  I just think their work needs to be expanded to show the generalization of the lace-up phenomenon.”

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