Last updated on February 7th, 2017 at 02:27 pm
Shoe laces are accessories that are often overlooked. Most of us don’t think too much about our laces, but did you know there are plenty of things you can do with your laces that can change the look of a pair of shoes? There are also so many different types, textures, ways of tying and styling laces that can be lots of fun to try.
What Are Laces?
A shoe lace is a piece of material that goes through either the holes or hooks on your shoes to keep them fastened nicely around your feet. They are usually seen as a simple shoe fastening, although they don’t have to be bland.
Shoes laces go back many years, nearly to the time when shoes were first invented, so no one actually knows the exact date that they were invented. Some records suggest that they were invented in 1790 although they didn’t become all that popular until the 20th century. Before shoe laces were invented, shoes were made to slip on or were fastened with buttons. If you had button up shoes in those days, you had to have a special tool known as a button hook to close the button.
Shoe laces can be made out of many materials, and over time, common lace materials have altered. When laces were first invented, they were mostly made out of cotton, jute, hemp or otherwise, leather. These days man made materials can offer greater strength and durability to create longer lasting shoe laces.
Shoe Lace Length
If you’ve ever looked at a loose shoelace and wondered why laces are so long, just think about their purpose. Laces have to be long because they have to weave through the amount of holes the pair of shoes they are intended for, then have enough material left to be able to make into a bow. The length of the laces also alters due to the sizes of shoes, but a standard lace is usually around 60-100cm in length.
If you’re trying to decide what length laces will suit your shoes, you will need to consider how many holes they have and how you want to style your lacing. More holes will need longer laces, and certain lacing patterns will use more lace length than others.
You’ll also need to think about what size laces to choose. A variety of thicknesses is usually available, and your choice will depend on the size of the holes in the shoe and the overall look of the footwear they will be fastening. For example, you’d expect to see wider laces on trainers but a classic men’s brogue needs a finer lace.
How To Tie And Lace Shoes
We’ve all probably been told to tie our laces as a child, as caring adults worried about us tripping ourselves by catching the loose lace. Un-tied laces can also leave the foot without enough support or make shoes too loose which can cause rubbing or discomfort, or even lead to a common foot complaint. With this in mind, tying your laces is important! Before you can tie them, you’ll need to lace the shoes in your chosen pattern.
When lacing your shoes, you can add some funkiness with the type of lacing you choose.
Simple Lacing: Criss-Cross
There is a simple design which is to, take the two ends of the shoes lace, and push the two ends through the two bottom holes, at the front of the shoe. Then pull them all the way through and even them out, take the shoe lace that is now on the right and push it up through the second hole on the left and the left shoe lace through the right hole. Repeat thing process, swapping over every time until you get to the top of the shoe, your laces should also be even if you evened them out before you started the threading process.
If you want to change up the simple lacing, you can do that too by finding some patterned laces, or by lacing your shoes in a different style. If you would like some ideas on how to do this, read our guide to styling your laces.
If you want to have your laces tied but you don’t want the bow showing, lift the tongue of the shoes up before you start tying and tie the lace under the tongue, push the tongue back down and you won’t be able to see the bow. There is also different type of lacing that can help foot conditions, this is worth looking into if you have a problem with your feet.
Or, if you don’t fancy tying your shoes, put the end of your laces inside the shoes before you put them on, simply put the shoes on, maybe tighten your laces and you’re good to go for a short distance. Although, if you are doing physical activity in your shoes, do be sure to tie them tightly to keep your feet and ankles protected and stable.
Which Shoe Laces
Which shoe laces you have is down to your personal preference whether that’s the colour, the pattern, what type of lacing or what type of laces you choose. There are certain laces that work better with certain shoes but most laces will work with most shoes.
We do suggest making smart decisions when coming to shoes that protect your feet when doing exercise. Consider choosing the right running shoes, walking shoes or hiking boots. For all of these types of footwear you will want some heavy duty laces that can pull tightly. Otherwise, this could stop the footwear providing the protection it was designed to offer. However, most shoes or boots that are created to protect and support your feet, as well as most other lace up shoes, do come with shoe laces that are perfect for them. You’ll generally only need to look for laces yourself if you want to replace them due to wear, or if you choose to change the style.
Laces are much more than a simple shoe fastening, they can add flair to any pair of shoes when chosen carefully and laced well. There are also many different patterns available, so if you have a plain pair of shoes, add some bright coloured laces or patterned laces and there you have it! A new looking pair of shoes. Do make sure to keep them either tucked away or inside the shoes though, for safety reasons, and have fun experimenting!