You know the phenomenon. No matter how hard your try, eventually, the little plastic tip on the end of your shoelaces (the official term is “aglet”) will get crunched up, and slowly, you find yourself with a set of frayed laces. You could do the classic trick of burning the ends with a match to seize the fibers, but that’s a temporary solution, and eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you started.
You can replace shoelaces if necessary. But, so many pairs of shoes rely on the complement and/or contrast of the laces as a design element, and so often, you can’t find a replacement.
So, instead, let’s figure out how to fix shoelaces so they stay compact, useable,
How to Repair Frayed Shoe Lace Tips
The good news is: the materials required for this project cost about 4¢ to execute. It is not possible to buy a single unit of repair parts.
Clear heat shrink tubing is what you should be looking for. This material is used for electronics work such as collecting and coding wiring, sealing splices etc. Although it looks similar to a drinking straw when heated, it shrinks to about half of its original size. This is basically a shrinky dink tub.
You can find this at home centers but I’d recommend the route I took: you can buy this assorted set with Amazon Prime for less than $10. There are eight sizes available, including two that can be used for shoe laces and hoodie strings. The set includes forty units of the 5mm size and thirty-two units of the 6mm. You can fix two shoe lace tips with each unit, so a total 144 lace tips in the box for $8…or about 5¢ each. Plus you’ll have the other sizes for different projects.
All right! Let’s do it. First, choose the right size for your task.
Next, remove any frayed thread or torn pieces from the ends of the laces. Don’t get too carried away here, as you can clean it up again at the end. Just make sure you have a clean edge so that the tubing can slide inside.
The lace should be inserted into the tubing approximately halfway.
Next, measure the length of the lace against a intact lace tip. If you don’t have one for reference, 3/4″ or so is plenty. Cut the tubing to your desired length.
You will now need to heat the tubing. The best method is to use a heat gun. The tubing needs to get to around boiling water temperature to full shrink, about 200-225° F or 100°C. Not all hair dryers can get this hot, but it’s worth a shot. You can also use a heat gun for DIY projects. If you don’t have one, now’s a perfectly good time to pick one up for $20.
Of course, if you don’t want to pick up a heat gun you can use any high powered blow dryer. It will work just as well, even though it may take longer.
What temperature to use? Anything over 200°F will shrink the tubing. But if you can select it, I got the best results setting the gun to around 600-800°. This allowed me to shrink the surface quickly and also made it easier to distribute evenly.
If you don’t have a heat gun, no worries! You can heat the tubing with a lighter, candle, or match. You can simply make several passes over the flame to shrink it evenly. Rotate the thing regularly to do this.
Once it’s cooled for about 15 seconds, you can then trim the tip flush. And if you’re unhappy with the results, you can easily cut the new aglet off by slicing up its length with a craft knife, and start fresh.
That’s it! It takes less than five minutes to fix lace once you understand how it works.
This technique could be used anywhere else. Do you have any other ideas for fixing a shoelace? Comment below to share your knowledge.
1. How do I fix shoelaces that have become loose?
To tighten loose laces, tie a double or triple knot at the top eyelets so they don’t come undone as easily.
2. My shoelaces have broken, how do I fix them?
You can tie the broken ends together in an overhand knot or replace them entirely with new laces.
3. How do I fix shoelaces that have become frayed?
There’s no fixing frayed laces – it’s best to replace them before they break. Consider swapping for flat or waxed laces that don’t fray as easily.
4. One of my shoelaces is longer than the other, how do I fix?
Cut the longer lace to match the shorter one. Then rethread both laces evenly through all eyelets.
5. What’s the best way to tie shoelaces tightly and securely?
The standard bow knot or double knot work well. For extra security, try also wrapping the ends of the laces around each other before knotting.