Design and build of a portable apparatus for measuring lace tension

  • Kelly Lockwood Brock University
  • Tzu-Ting Hsu Brock University
  • Colin Dunne Faculty of Applied Health Science, Brock University
  • John-Allan Ellingson School of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, George Brown College
Keywords: footwear, lace tension, portable instrumentations


Laces have traditionally been used to secure the foot, limit slippage, enhance fit, and prevent injury across different types of footwear. Quantitatively assessing the merits and effectiveness of laces is technically challenging due to the lack of portable instrumentation that can measure lace tension reliably. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to design and build a portable apparatus to quantify lace tension to be used on footwear in both laboratory and real-world environments. The apparatus was designed to meet three major design criteria: (i) portable, (ii) able to accommodate different types of footwear, lace materials, and lacing patterns, and (iii) able to measure lace tension while the footwear is secured on the foot. As a result of the design process, the apparatus consisted of a base, fabricated from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and a frame, made from aluminum and 3D printed Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). A measurement system was affixed to the frame and consisted of a lever, a non-deformable cable with a hook, a load cell, a caliper, and a microcontroller to measure the force and change in length of laces when a force was applied. The total height and weight of the apparatus was 25.5 cm and 6.35 kg, respectively. A reliability analysis was conducted using three different types of laces (waxed, non-waxed, and carbon fiber blend) and revealed a high internal consistency within lace types with alpha values of 0.95, 0.81, 0.91, respectively. The interclass reliability coefficient across lace types revealed an alpha value of 0.84. As a result of the design, build, and reliability analysis, the apparatus was able to provide reliable measurements of lace tension while satisfying the design criteria. It is envisioned that the apparatus can be used for ongoing investigations across different types of footwear and different types of laces.

How to Cite
Lockwood, K., Hsu, T.-T., Dunne, C., & Ellingson, J.-A. (2024). Design and build of a portable apparatus for measuring lace tension. Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS), 9(3), 009.