My shoe laces seem to wear out quite often. However, all my shoes have different numbers of eyelets and some even have hooks.

As stores have laces sealed and just sold by stating how long they are, is there a rule of thumb for getting the right length of shoelaces on the first purchase?

  • Take the old shoelace out and measure it?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


I don't know if this qualifies as a hack, but just do the math:

  • You need to have two ends to tie together of a somewhat appropriate length, estimated at 4 times the distance between the eyelet columns, or find a given constant you are satisified with

  • The laces needs cross over at the bottom and top of the eyelets, that is twice for each pair of eyelets

In other words, given 6 pairs of eyelets, and an approx distance between the left and right column of eyelets to be 5 cm (or 2 inches), you'll get a formula like the following:

  • lace for tieing plus number of eyelets, multiplied with the distance between eyelet columns
  • For 12 eyelet pairs with a distance of 5 cm (or 2 inches) this would give "2*4 + 12" multiplied with 5 cm (or 2 inches) giving 100 cm (or 40 inches)

Another way of putting this is: Start of with 40 cm (or 16 inches) and add 10 cm (or 4 inches) for each pair of eyelets

But, your safest bet is simply to pull out either the one lace which are still intact, or the two pieces of broken lace and simply measure the length.


Buy a 100-foot length of paracord and use that instead of laces. They are the ultimate shoelace, and might be the last you need without breaking again!

Cut to length, and form the aglet by melting the plastic with a lighter and rolling it with a wet thumb-and-finger.

I learned about paracord from a TV episode Going Deep with David Rees: How to tie your shoes, and it demonstrated how paracord is stronger and more durable than common shoelaces. I found a short on YouTube from this eposide, too.

  • Paracord is often too thick, other string might fit better. But well made shoelaces are often still easier for most people. Making aglets by melting and shaping paracord is not as easy as you make it seem.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:37
  • 1
    You can also get it in thinner sizes, down to thread. Tge line of products is made from tge same stock fiber and rated for strength. I bought some sloghtly thinner stuff to make a belt modeled on braided leather belts but longer lasting.
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 2:09

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