Are you dealing with shoelaces that are too long? This post will show you a cheap and easy way to shorten them yourself.
I recently ordered a new pair of suede bucks. They were perfect except one little thing – the shoelaces were way too long.
Even after double-knotting, the loops looked like giant bunny ears, flopping around with every step.
Not only do long laces look bad, but they get caught on things and are easy to step on. They seem to come untied constantly.
So, instead of buying new shoelaces, I decided to shorten them. After a bit of searching, I found this amazing website dedicated to all things shoelace-related — different knots, types of laces, and even how to deal with excess length.
The whole operation, including a quick trip to the hardware store, took about a half hour, and it only cost $4. Here’s a quick overview of how I did it:
What Supplies You Need
You will need your shoes, a pair of scissors, a measuring tape (optional but helpful), a lighter and at least one inch of heat shrink tubing.
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, you’re ready to start shortening.
How To Shorten Your Shoelaces
Follow these step-by-step instructions to shorten your shoelaces in just a few minutes:
What You Need
Step 1: Measure & Mark Your Laces
Tie your shoes so the loops are the right size, then use a marker or pen to mark the excess length on both ends (this is where you'll cut the laces).
Tip: Shoelace Lengths
Shoelaces come in standard sizes like 37 inches. I ended up taking 3 inches off each end of my laces.
Step 2: Remove Shoelaces
This step is easy. Just take the shoelaces out of each shoe.
Step 3: Cut Your Laces
Cut your laces where you marked them in step 1. Take an equal amount off of each end. My 37" laces were shortened to 31".
Step 4: Measure & Cut Your Tubing
Your aglets (tips) should be 1/2 inch long. Measure your tubing and cut it into 4 pieces (each a half inch long).
Step 5: Insert Lace Into Tube
Fit the loose aglet over the end of your trimmed lace so the end of the lace is flush (no excess lace hanging out).
Step 6: Heat & Shrink
Use a lighter to shrink the tubing around the shoelace. Hold the lace a couple of inches above the flame; it doesn't take much heat (don't melt the rubber!).
Step 7: Lace Up Your Shoes
Lace up your shoes using your favorite lacing method, and enjoy your new shorter shoelaces 👌🏼
And that’s it! Now your shoelaces should be the perfect length. Nice job!
Shoelace Shortening Tips
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shortening your shoelaces:
Heat Shrink Tubing
If you are shortening thicker laces (like the flat laces used for sneakers), go with 5mm tubing.
It also comes in different colors. You can try to match or complement the color of your shoes, or just have fun with it.
In general, straight lacing is better for dress shoes.
Use Some Glue
This isn’t totally necessary, but you can use a toothpick to put a little super glue inside the tubing after Step 4 (see above).
This will make your new laces more durable by preventing the tubing from slipping off the end of each lace over time.
Questions About Shortening Your Shoelaces
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about shortening shoelaces:
How Do You Shorten Laces Without Cutting Them?
To shorten laces without cutting them, try double lacing. With this lacing method, you can thread both laces through one or more pairs of eyelets, shortening your laces by several inches.
You could also tuck extra long shoelace ends into your shoes. However, they can come untucked and trip you as you walk.
You might also want to try double, triple, or even quadruple knotting your shoes. This isn’t the best option as having giant knots sitting on top of your shoes looks sloppy.
Your best (and safest) option to shorten your shoelaces is to cut them.
How Long Should Shoelaces Be?
Shoelaces should be long enough to tie easily but short enough that there is not a lot of excess lace flopping around. Most of the time, you can estimate how long your laces should be by the number of eyelets.
To get a more exact measurement, use this Shoelace Length Approximation Formula from Ian’s Shoelace Site:
Horizontal Spacing × Total Eyelets + 500 (all measurements in mm)
If you don’t want to do the math yourself, you can use this handy shoelace length calculator to find the ideal lace length for your shoes.
What Is the Tip of a Shoelace Called?
It’s called an aglet. (If you listen to this song, you’ll never forget the name of this essential element of shoelace anatomy).
Aglets help prevent the ends of laces from fraying and make it easier to lace up your shoes or boots.
How Do You Shorten Shoelaces Without Fraying?
You can shorten laces without fraying by replacing their aglets with heat shrink tubing after cutting them to the length you want.
Why Is One Shoelace Longer Than the Other?
Throughout the day, when you’re walking around your shoelaces can loosen up a bit. They tend to loosen unevenly, causing one side of the shoelace to be longer than the other.
They also can become uneven if you pull one shoelace with more force than the other when you’re tying your shoes.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!