A novel form of littering seems to be to hang a pair of tennis shoes (tied together by their laces) over a telephone line. Can you think of an easy way of getting them down?

  • I once learned in a cops documentation: This is used in the hood as a sign of where to buy drugs. Green or black sneakers usually mean you can buy marijuana there, white sneaker mean cocaine... But in this case it sounds like a bully just hanged your shoes up there.
    – Alex
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 10:29
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    @Alex That's a legend (though it's possible that the legend triggered real imitators). Commented May 9, 2015 at 11:40
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    I realize you state phone lines in the question, but for the record don't go near it if there is a chance it could be powerlines.
    – Minnow
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 18:29
  • @Minnow that's why we burned them down, no touching. Commented May 10, 2015 at 2:28

2 Answers 2


When we had this happen, we strapped a flame to a broom handle and burned the laces. You could use a butane torch like we did or attach some sort of long match to it. We just duct taped it to the handle, started the flame and lifted it up to the laces. Down in seconds.

On the flip side if you're worried about using fire or want the shoes intact you could try knocking the shoes off with the broom handle alone.

If the wire is too high, tape multiple brooms together, just make sure to use lots of duct tape and make sure you have enough overlap of brooms.

  • This may result in a damage to the line. If you're caught, the cost of repairs will be astronomic (for a regular person). Although I agree it's the best solution if executed properly. I'd also add recommendation to do it in the evening of a sunny day, as wet laces may turn out to be less flammable than wire insulation.
    – Agent_L
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 15:26

Not everyone has these handy, but a pellet rifle with a well placed shot or two could cut the laces and drop the shoes down. Might even be fun target practice provided it's not in a busy/populated area with houses around. Obvious cautionary noted about missing the target.

It would need to have a relatively high speed (fps) and I'd use pellets, not BBs (the sharper the better); ammo options.

  • I don't know if this would work, but it sounds like fun. Any idea how far a pellet travels if I aim it up? Houses are around :(
    – Andrew
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 3:44
  • @Andrew: Effective range would be between 25-50 yards (23-45 meters) for something with 1000 fps. However, what goes up must come down!
    – Minnow
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 1:35

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