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What to Do With Shoelaces That Are Too Long?

Shoelaces that are too long can be annoying, a possible tripping hazard, and can become untied way more easily.

So what should you do?

Here are some easy ideas to manage shoelaces that are too long so they aren’t dangerous or an annoyance.

What Are Shoelaces Made Out Of?

Nowadays, shoelaces can be made from a number of synthetic materials, such as textured polyester, nylon, spun polyester, and polypropylene.

Every shoe will have a lace that’s made specifically for the shoe and what the shoe will be used for.

For example, textured polyester laces are often used in work shoes, work boots, ice skating shoes, and skateboarding shoes.

This is because these kinds of shoes require a more durable lace that’s water-resistant and thicker than most laces.

There are also shoe brands that use elasticated quick lacing systems, like Salomon, the New Balance 840 V4, and the Saucony Switchback 2 trail running shoe.

These allow you to slip your feet in and out easily without having to adjust your laces every time.

The Plastic End

The plastic or metal end of your shoelace is called an aglet and it has a few functions that make lacing your shoes easier.

The profile of the aglet makes it easier to hold and feed laces through the eyelets of the shoe.

It protects the shoelaces by preventing their ends from being damaged or the fibers unraveling. The aglet also makes tying your shoelaces easier as you can grip them more easily.

While most shoelaces have a plastic aglet, you will find metal aglets on hiking boots or work boots that need a bit more durability. You can also find metal aglets on more luxury-style shoelaces.

Why Are Some Shoelaces Longer Than Others?

There are several reasons why some shoelaces are longer than others.

If we look at running shoes, brands may intentionally order the laces to be longer so that runners have enough lace to use different lacing patterns.

This will allow runners to alleviate pressure points on the top of the foot—window lacing pattern—or to prevent their foot from sliding forward and secure the heel in the shoe—runner’s loop.

There are a few lacing techniques that even basketball players will use to provide more stability around the foot or to provide more comfort, especially if they have wide or narrow feet.

Your shoelaces may be long for other reasons too. These include:

Stock Lengths

Unfortunately, you can’t tailor every shoelace to the length of each new shoe, as manufacturers have to select from a range of lengths that are in stock.

So if the design of the new shoe requires the ideal shoelace length to be 45 inches, manufacturers can choose the following:

  • Tailor-make the 45-inch laces
  • Go with the laces in stock that are 40 inches
  • Order shoelaces that are in stock that are 54 inches

Tailor-making the shoelace would be extremely costly.

If the company goes for shoelaces that are 40 inches in length, then the shoelaces could be too short.

The third option leaves you with a shoelace that’s 9 inches too long.

With that being said, most people will return shoes that have laces that are too short. This makes the shoes hard to tie, plus the shoe will be too tight when laced, causing pressure points across your foot and leading to discomfort.

It’s easier to shorten a long shoelace than it is to make a plan for a short shoelace, and this could be another reason why you have shoelaces that are longer.

Multiple Shoe Sizes

Most shoe brands will have multiple shoe sizes for every model of shoe they manufacture.

Some may go up to a men’s size 16, while the shoes in a different range may only go up to a men’s size 15.

The manufacturers may then choose just one stock shoelace length that could possibly be used for any new shoe that they may design in the future.

If manufacturers calculate the length of the shoelace to fit the maximum size in a particular range—like a men’s size 16—then every shoe will have a shoelace that’s suited to the largest size shoe in the range, regardless of shoes that are smaller in size.

Tips for Long Shoelaces

Fortunately, you can shorten any shoelace regardless of the type of shoe you buy using one of the following tips:

1. Measure and Cut the Laces

You can shorten your laces by measuring your preferred length and then cut them to that length. You will need to get either some lace tubing or an extra aglet before shortening your laces.

Start by measuring your preferred length, mark it on the laces, and then cut them. Put the end of the lace in the aglet or the tubing and heat it so that it shrinks around the shoelace.

If you don’t have tubing or an aglet, then you can burn the ends of the laces. This will seal the fibers and prevent them from fraying.

2. Buy New Shoelaces

You can always buy a new pair of shoelaces. They can range from 27 inches to 72 inches.

If you’re not sure what shoelace length to get, then a quick trick is to count the number of eyelets on one side of your shoe and use the below guide to pick the right length.

For example, if you have a row of 5 eyelets on one side of your shoe, then you’d get shoelaces that are 36-45 inches long. If you only have 4 eyelets, then you’d need laces that are 36 inches long.

Quick Shoelace Sizing Guide

4 Eyelets70 cm36 in
5 Eyelets90 – 120 cm36 – 45 in
6 Eyelets120 – 137 cm36 – 45 in
7 Eyelets137 – 160 cm54 – 63 in
8 Eyelets140 – 160 cm63 – 72 in
9 Eyelets182 cm72 in
10 Eyelets182 cm72 in

3. Tuck ‘N’ Go

Lace and tie your shoe as normal and then tuck the leftover lace into the sides or the front of your shoe.

You may need to experiment with where you tuck your laces comfortably, as they can create a pressure point that can irritate your foot, especially if you’re exercising or playing sports.

4. Wrap Excess

If you have high-topped shoes like Converse, Puma Kaia Platform Mid Sneakers, or hiking shoes, then you can wrap the excess shoelace around the top of the shoe.

You’ll often see basketball players wrap their excess shoelace around the tops of their shoes, as it may increase ankle support.

But you’d need to make sure that you don’t wrap them around the top too tightly as it could restrict your blood circulation to your feet.

5. Fold the Laces in Half

Remove your shoelaces and then fold the entire length of your shoelaces in half.

Then use the length of the half-fold to lace up your shoes. This is actually a quick and efficient way to shorten your laces without cutting them.

6. Run Your Laces Through Your Shoes’ Highest Eyelets Twice

If your shoelace is only slightly too long, you can lace your shoes like normal but run the end of the shoelace through the last eyelet twice or three times.

This will effectively shorten the shoelace a bit and may be a more comfortable length. However, on shoes with narrow eyelets, the shoelace may not be able to fit through it more than once.

7. Double or Triple Knot Your Laces

You can always do a double or triple knot in your laces to shorten them so they don’t hang over your shoes and become a tripping hazard.

This is also effective if your shoelaces often become untied. However, it may make them more difficult to untie in a hurry.