... has spent much of his life wearing shoes. Many of these fruitless years have been spent putting shoes on the “proper” way--tying and untying laces whenever circumstances prescribed shoelessness or shodden feet. All this changed when ... stumbled upon an innovative dressing technique that has revolutionized his shoe-wearing lifestyle. ... discovered that by holding the tongue of the shoe with his left hand while clasping the back of the shoe with his right thumb, he could apply principles of leverage to transform his thumb into a flawless shoehorn.

Using this life-hack, ... has fully mastered the ability to put his shoes on and take them off without untying his shoelaces. Like a magician extracting a rabbit from a false-bottomed top hat, ... can now accomplish a seemingly impossible feat with aplomb: he can gracefully slip into and out of sneakers and boots without compromising either the integrity of the shoe or the integrity of the fit. “Unlacing is for slaves to convention who have too much time on their hands. Manual shoehorning is freedom at its most basic level,” proclaims .... Critics of the practice, such as prominent shoehorn magnate Marvin McNuttle, dispute the claim that a thumb can replace a well-crafted silver, shell, or bone horn for gracefully introducing a foot to a shoe. “A thumb was, and will never be, a proper shoehorn. Shoehorns exist for a reason.”
Over the course of his lifetime, ... has often perceived the process of shoeing and un-shoeing his feet to be unnecessarily time-consuming and laborious. “I have often wondered to myself, why can’t a shoe be more like a flip-flop?” ... discovered a solution to the shoelacing conundrum when he faced a situation that demanded rapid shoe removal. “I was standing in line at airport security, and remembered that I had to take my shoes off before being scanned. There was already a crowd of people pressuring me from behind and I knew that time was of the essence.” It was in this context that ..., driven by necessity, invented his makeshift shoehorning technique. He slid his heel past his thumbnail, distal interphalangeal joint, and base knuckle, ultimately wriggling the entire foot free of the shoe. After passing through an exhaustive security screen, ... felt an urgent need to make it to his departure gate and decided to shoehorn his feet back into his shoes by reversing the process.

Since that day, ... leaves his laces tied on a near-permanent “comfort” setting which balances the needs of ankle and arch support against the convenience of manual shoehorning. Since perfecting the process through countless repetition, ... has been spreading the word about the merits of the practice. “We evolved opposable thumbs to do more than just make knots with string. The thumb can be the tool itself.”