The 9 different types of shoelaces

January 16, 2024

The 9 different types of shoelaces

Shoelaces might seem like a small detail, but in the footwear world, they're a big deal. They're not just strings to keep your shoes on. 

Shoelaces are the unsung heroes that can totally change how a pair of shoes looks and feels. Think about it: the right laces can turn a drab pair of sneakers into a statement piece or make a pair of dress shoes feel like they were made just for you.

In this article, we’ll demystify shoelaces and explore nine unique types. From the classic flat lace that most of us know and love to more unusual styles. 

Let's dive in and see how something as simple as a shoelace can make a big difference. Fasten your laces, it’s going to be a fun ride.

1. Flat shoelaces

Flat shoelaces are arguably the most recognized style out there. They're typically crafted from cotton, polyester, or a blend of both, offering a comfy and reliable fastening system for your shoes. 

Their flat, broad structure produces a secure fit that reduces the chance of accidental untying. What's more, they effortlessly thread through the eyelets and result in a clean, streamlined look. They’re ideal for a variety of occasions and footwear styles, including sports shoes, casual sneakers, and even some types of boots.

2. Round shoelaces

Next up are round shoelaces. Known for their cylindrical shape that's often reinforced with a core for added durability, these laces bring a touch of class to your shoes. 

Synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are commonly used to ensure longevity and sturdiness. They're a popular choice for dress shoes since they tend to bring out an elegant look without drawing too much attention.

However, it's worth noting that they might need a firm double knot to prevent them from slipping undone due to their smooth texture.

3. Oval shoelaces

The oval shoelaces, or sports laces as they're often called, expertly straddle the line between flat and round shoelaces. They feature a rounded, tube-like shape that flattens when knotted. This guarantees a robust grip that doesn't come undone during vigorous activities. 

Oval laces are ideal for athletic shoes, hiking boots, and other active footwear. They’re designed to withstand the rigors of exercise and outdoor adventures. They’re also typically manufactured from durable, elastic materials like nylon or elastic to secure a snug fit, resist wear and tear, and meet the demands of your active lifestyle.

4. Elastic shoelaces

Elastic shoelaces are a game-changer for people constantly on the move or who struggle with standard laces. These laces are made from stretchable material and transform your footwear into slip-ons while offering a snug, adjustable fit. 

Elastic shoelaces pair great with athletic shoes or sneakers since they enhance comfort and reduce the risk of tripping over untied laces. No wonder they’re such a popular choice for kids. They make dressing time less of a hassle, too.

5. Leather shoelaces

Leather shoelaces exude a sense of class and rugged charm. Crafted from either rawhide or suede, they are often found gracing the likes of boat shoes, dress boots, and artisan-crafted footwear. 

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, leather laces offer durability and a distinct touch that ages beautifully over time. Keep in mind, they might require a bit of “breaking in” and care to maintain their premium look (but it’s so worth it!)

6. No-tie shoelaces

No-tie shoelaces act are a game changer for those who struggle to tie standard laces, or for those who just see tying your shoes as an unnecessary chore. They typically employ a locking system or are designed like a cable tie. This allows you to dial in your preferred fit and forget about knots and bows.

Their no-tie feature is what you want in a versatile and inclusive product. They work perfectly for children, elderly individuals, or anyone with mobility issues.  From athletic shoes to casual footwear, they provide a practical yet stylish shoelace solution. 

7. Braided nylon shoelaces

Braided Nylon shoelaces bring a flair of style to any shoe. They have a delicate yet sturdy construction. Being light and thin, they are mounted with a variety of footwear styles, from sneakers to hiking boots. Their intricate braided design provides ample friction, preventing them from getting easily untied. 

They boast superior strength and longevity, making them a reliable companion for your footwear over time.

8. Waxed shoelaces

If there’s a shoelace that can rule them all when it comes to style, it’s undoubtedly the waxed ones. These laces are often made from cotton or polyester threads. Their thinly waxed design brings a subtle sheen that gives your footwear a refined, polished appearance. 

They look good and offer practical advantages by adding strength and water resistance. A bonus: the wax provides a grip that helps keep your tied laces tied through long hours of wear.

9. Rawhide shoelaces

Rawhide shoelaces offer a rustic look to your shoes. They're usually crafted from untreated leather, which gives them a coarse, natural texture—perfect for a variety of casual shoes and boots. 

Beyond their unique charm, rawhide laces are known for their resilience and durability. Over time, these laces mold to the shape of the eyelets, ensuring a snug, custom-fit each time you wear your shoes. 

They may require an initial break-in period. Be a little patient. Their classic allure and promise of long-term comfort make it worth the wait. 

Lacing tips to step up your footwear game

Shoelaces quietly perform behind the scenes, often escaping notice until they create a knot problem or snap at the worst moment. Yet, as we've found by exploring various types of shoelaces, these seemingly inconspicuous strings can markedly enhance your footwear experience.

Here are some practical tips to make the most out of your shoelaces:

Consider your specific footwear

It's a given that certain types of laces pair better with specific shoes. Thick, robust laces, like braided nylon or leather ones, add a rugged charm to casual shoes and boots. 

On the other hand, slim, subtle laces that are waxed or round can add a dash of class to your dress shoes. Always ensure you're choosing the type of lace that compliments your footwear.

Consider lace length

Every shoe needs a different lace length. An overly long lace can make a simple shoelace knot seem unnecessarily bulky and make you prone to tripping. Choose a lace that’s too short and you may not even be able to knot it. 

If you're unsure about the length, a straightforward method is to count your shoe's eyelet pairs. Generally, shoes with 5-6 eyelet pairs require a 45-inch lace, 6-7 pairs would need a 54-inch lace, and so on.

Master a secure knotting technique

Even the most luxurious shoelaces won't do you any good if they keep coming undone. So, learn some trustworthy knotting techniques. 

The classic Bunny Ears or Loop, Swoop, and Pull methods are secure and easy to learn. For knots that hold even longer, learn the Ian Knot or the Surgeon's Shoelace Knot. 

Regular checks and replacements

No matter the quality, shoelaces aren't invincible. Regular wear and tear and environmental conditions can degrade them over time, and a snapped lace is no one's idea of fun. 

Keep a regular check on your laces to ensure they're in good shape. It’s a good idea to always have spare pairs for when an inevitable snap happens. 

Not a fan of laces? We've got you covered.

While laces add personality to your shoes, let's be honest, they can be a hassle to manage. If you love the efficiency of simply slipping into your shoes and moving on with your day, then you'll adore our hands-free Kiziks.

Kiziks harness game-changing HandsFree Labs® technology to offer you shoes with the perfect fit—no knot-tying needed. They're a smart option for those who value convenience: just slide your foot in, and you're good to go.

Ideal for your active lifestyle, our “put-on-and-go” shoes strike the perfect balance between functionality, style, and comfort without entangling you in the pesky process of tying laces.

A final word

In the world of shoes, shoelaces do more than just hold things together. They can tie together an outfit, enhance comfort, and show off your creative flair.

There’s so much more to shoelaces than meets the eye. From the classy look of waxed laces to the practical brilliance of no-tie options, they all bring a unique flavor to your wardrobe.

At Kizik, we understand the importance of craft and the amount of detail it takes to create the perfect footwear experience. We embrace the diversity and functionality of different shoelaces, but we also recognize that sometimes, simple is all you need.

That's why our HandsFree Labs® technology offers a solution without compromising on style or comfort. Whether you're a fan of traditional laces or prefer the ease of our slip-ons, Kizik ensures your steps are as hassle-free and stylish as possible. 

Whatever your choice, lace up or slip on, step out with confidence. After all, it's not just about the shoes—it's about how you feel walking in them!


Athletic Shoes: Lace Them to Fit - Health Encyclopedia | University of Rochester Medical Center

No-Tie Alternatives to Laces | North Dakota Assistive

How to Tie a Shoe | Searingtown 

8 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Favorite Shoes | Footwear News 

Written By: Chris Fry

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