The amazing process involved in making a shoelace!

How Are Shoelaces Made?

Shoelaces are a standard part of today’s life but for thousands of years were either nonexistent or made of crude materials. Shoelaces don’t make the headlines very often but as in the case of the UPS worker who injured his back due to an untied shoelace it does happen. Shoelaces play a surprisingly important role in our lives. From hockey players, marathon runners, to soccer players, shoelaces are a vital component to their success. A single broken or untied shoelace can be catastrophic.

How Are Shoelaces Made

Tonya Harding was almost disqualified due to a broken shoelace

Shoelaces are vitally important in our lives but how are they made?

Shoelaces are surprisingly complex. While creating Easy Tie shoelaces we learned that there are hundreds of varieties of shoelaces. They come in different shapes, sizes, materials, textures, weaves, and patterns creating thousands of different possible variations.

Let’s start with the basics – Materials

There are four main materials that almost all shoelaces are made out of.

  1. cotton
  2. polyester
  3. nylon
  4. polypropylene

Each material has different properties. The type of material selected depends on the anticipated use of the lace. Unfortunately, many times the primary concern is cost and a poor quality lace replaces a more appropriate one.

Making a Shoelace

To make a shoelace you have to weave it together. Each shoelaces is actually part of one very, very long lace. Using one of the materials listed above, a long lace is created and then cut into individual shoelaces. An impressive machine does the weaving at blistering speeds.

Shoelace Tip – The Aglet

Once the shoelace has been woven together it has to be cut. This is where the aglet is added. The aglet is the end of the shoelace. Originally, the aglet was a crimped piece of metal but they now are secured with a piece of plastic tape.

Shoes have been around for thousands of years, but shoelaces have only been around for 100 years. Feel lucky? I do. Next time you lace up remember that your shoelaces are actually pretty special.