How To Shorten Shoelaces – With and Without Cutting Them

Have you ever purchased new shoes only to find out that the laces are excessively long? This can lead to damaging the laces by stepping on them or even tripping over the extra length, which could result in injury. However, you don’t need to buy new laces. With a few simple household items, you can quickly shorten your laces and eliminate the risk of tripping.

How To Shorten Shoelaces with Cutting

Measuring and Cutting

Take your shoes

To determine how much lace to remove, it’s a good idea to put on your shoes and see the excess length on each side. Tie your shoes as you usually would for a comfortable fit and observe the length of the laces to decide how much to trim.
Consider your preferred shoe-tying style when deciding how much lace to cut. If you don’t want to double knot the laces, tie them normally and determine the length to remove on each side.

Mark the laces

To know precisely where to cut, mark the laces at the appropriate spot using a felt tip pen. Draw lines on each end of the laces to indicate the excess length to be removed.
  • It’s possible to mark the laces while wearing the shoes, but it may be more convenient to use a ruler to measure the length to remove from each end after taking off the shoes and then marking the laces.
  • Shoelaces come in standard lengths, such as 30-, 40-, or 54-inches. Once you know the usual excess length for your shoes, you can easily mark laces of the same size in the future.

Cut the laces.

Regular household scissors should suffice for cutting the laces, but make sure they are sharp to minimize fraying. Follow the marks you made to ensure accurate cutting.
Avoid cutting the entire excess length from one end of the lace, as this will result in mismatched ends when relacing your shoes.

Consider removing length from the middle of the lace.

Rather than trimming the ends of the lace and having to finish them, you can choose to remove the extra length from the center. This will leave you with two pieces, each with an aglet on one end, which can be tied together to form a single lace.
  • Put on the shoes, measure the excess length on each side using a ruler, add the measurements together, and cut the total amount from the middle of the lace.
  • Tightly tie the two lace pieces together and secure them further by applying a small amount of instant glue to the knot and letting it dry. If there is any excess lace outside the knot, trim it. Alternatively, you can sew the two pieces together.

Finishing the End of Shoelaces

Wrap the ends with adhesive tape

Place a piece of adhesive tape, sticky side down, on a flat surface and position the lace near its center. Carefully roll the tape tightly around the lace to create a strong, finished tip, also known as the aglet. If there is any excess lace protruding beyond the tape, trim it with scissors.

  • For added sturdiness, apply a few drops of glue beneath the tape’s end before sealing it onto the lace.
    Using adhesive tape typically creates a tip similar to plastic aglets on store-bought laces, allowing you to cut the excess length from only one end of the lace if desired.

Apply glue to the ends

Coat the lace tips with a small amount of glue, and as it begins to dry, press on the glue to help it absorb into the lace and reduce thickness. Once the glue has completely dried, trim any excess and apply another thin coat to enhance the aglet’s durability and provide a smoother appearance.

  • Avoid using instant glue, such as Krazy Glue, as it will bond with your skin and make shaping the lace end impossible.
  • Opt for an acetone-based solvent glue like Elmer’s Clear Household Cement or Tarzan’s Grip, which dry clear and are waterproof, making them ideal for forming aglets.
  • In the absence of glue, clear nail polish can be used as an alternative.
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Utilize heat shrink tubing

Commonly employed for insulating electrical joints, this tubing is sturdy and flexible enough to serve as effective aglets. Cut the tubing lengthwise to match typical aglet sizes, approximately ½ inch. Slide a section over each lace end and hold the tubing over a candle, lighter, or other flame to allow the material to contract.

  • Select tubing with a diameter that fits over your lace ends; usually, 4 to 5 millimeters is suitable.
  • Twisting the tubing into place over the lace ends can help prevent fraying.
  • Keep the tubing at a safe distance from the flame, as it requires minimal heat to shrink. If it starts to smoke or bubble, it’s too hot.
  • A small, travel-size hair straightening iron can also be used to safely heat the tubing. Gently clamp it over the end for five to ten seconds to shrink the tubing and complete the laces.
  • Clear heat shrink tubing most closely resembles factory-made aglets.

Melt the ends

If your laces are made of synthetic material, you can melt the material itself to create a smooth, finished tip. Hold the lace end over a candle, match, lighter, or other flame to melt the material just enough to form a sealed edge.

  • Ensure the lace is not too close to the flame to avoid igniting the entire lace. It’s best to perform this step over a sink in case a fire occurs.
  • Do not touch the synthetic lace material once it begins to melt, as it may adhere to your skin.

How To Shorten Shoelaces without Cutting

Tuck Shoelaces in and Go

This shoelace shortening trick may not be suitable for every type of shoe. It works best for casual shoes used for strolling or daily walks. However, for athletes or those engaging in intensive physical activities, you might want to consider other options.

The “tuck n go” method involves tucking in your shoelaces on the side of your shoes or behind the tongue to shorten them. Simply tie your shoes, and tuck any extra length out of sight.

You can combine this trick with various lacing patterns, tying the shoelaces and hiding the knots wherever feels most comfortable. Tucking allows you to make the most of the shoelace length while simultaneously shortening them.

Now, let’s explore another way to adjust long shoelaces: lacing up. There are numerous ways to tie shoelaces, beyond the bunny ears we learned as children. You can create various knots, you just need to know how.

We’ll discuss a few lacing techniques, but there are many more, and you can even create your own style. To help you achieve the desired shoelace length, let’s start with some simple methods.

Ladder Lacing

This method is highly effective in providing support and stability, ensuring a steady fit and a distinctive appearance. It works best for shoes like boots, which have many eyelets.

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To ladder lace:

  • Insert one aglet through the first eyelets, with ends pointing downward.
  • Pull both ends to ensure the shoelaces are of equal length.
  • Pass the aglets through the eyelets straight up the sides, moving to the next higher eyelet.
  • Run the ends straight across, beneath the vertical lace opposite the current position.
  • Repeat the last two steps until all eyelets are utilized.

Cross Lacing Method

  • Start by threading the laces straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the bottom eyelets.
  • For each pair of eyelets, cross the lace ends, passing them beneath the shoe’s sides and out through the next set of higher eyelets. Continue this process until the lacing is complete.

Straight Bar Lacing

If your new shoelaces are too long and you need an easy way to lace them, this method might be appealing. It’s suitable for shoes with an equal number of eyelet pairs.

This pattern gives shoes a neat appearance while making tightening or loosening adjustments easy.

To straight bar lace:

  • With aglets pointing downward, insert them into the first eyelets.
  • Pull the ends up and check if they are of equal length.
  • Hold the left end, run it straight up from the inside, then run it across the outside.
  • Run both aglets straight up inside the shoes, skipping one eyelet each time they re-emerge on the surface.
  • Continue these steps until the aglets reach the top.
  • Tie the knots to see if they are the desired length.

Over Under Lacing

For shoes with an even number of eyelet pairs, start by threading the laces straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.

  • For shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs, begin by threading the laces straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the bottom eyelets.
  • At each pair of eyelets, alternate between crossing the laces over (on the outside) and passing them in through the next higher set of eyelets, or crossing them under (on the inside) and passing them out through the next higher set of eyelets. Continue this process until the lacing is complete.

Wrap Around the Ankles

If you want to adjust your shoelace length but don’t have time to learn the other methods or cut and measure, you can simply wrap the extra lace around your ankles or the top eyelet. This method allows you to choose the length left for knotting. However, be cautious not to wrap too tightly, as this may cause muscle compression or injury to tendons or muscles.

Buy A New Set of Laces

The most straightforward solution for obtaining the correct size of shoelaces is to purchase a new pair. Not everyone is keen on double knotting or trying the above remedies, and you might prefer the easier path.

If you’re still in the store where you bought your shoes, you can inquire about shoelaces that suit your needs. You can even stock up on extra laces, choosing from various colors and materials.

How to Choose Shoelaces

When choosing shoelaces, there are several factors to consider to ensure you select the best option for your shoes and personal style. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right shoelaces:


Measure the length of your current shoelaces or count the number of eyelet pairs on your shoes. Shoelace length varies depending on the type of shoe and the number of eyelets. Here’s a general guide:

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Shoelaces come in various materials, each with unique characteristics:

  • Cotton: Natural, soft, and comfortable but may stretch and wear out more quickly than synthetic materials.
  • Polyester: Durable, resistant to wear and tear, and maintains its shape better than cotton.
  • Nylon: Strong, lightweight, and quick-drying, making it suitable for athletic or outdoor shoes.
  • Leather: Elegant, durable, and suitable for dress shoes but may require more maintenance than synthetic materials.


Different types of shoelaces can enhance the appearance and function of your shoes:

  • Flat: Commonly used for casual and athletic shoes, offering a clean, simple look.
  • Round: Often used for dress shoes, hiking boots, and work boots, providing a more polished appearance.
  • Oval: Used for athletic shoes, offering better grip and less slippage.
    Waxed: Suitable for dress shoes, adding a more refined appearance and extra durability.

Color and Pattern

Choose a color or pattern that complements your shoes and personal style:

  • Solid colors: Classic, versatile, and ideal for most shoes. Match the shoe color or choose a contrasting color for a bolder look.
  • Multicolor or patterned: Eye-catching and fun, these options can add a unique touch to your shoes.


The aglet is the plastic or metal tip at the end of the shoelace. Consider the durability and appearance of the aglet when choosing shoelaces:

  • Plastic: Most common, lightweight, and cost-effective, but may wear out more quickly than metal aglets.
  • Metal: Durable and adds a premium appearance but may be more expensive and heavier than plastic aglets.

Take these factors into consideration when selecting shoelaces to find the perfect match for your shoes and style preferences.

Why the right size of shoelaces is important?

Having the right size of shoelaces is important for several reasons:

  • Comfort: Properly sized shoelaces allow you to tie your shoes comfortably without applying excessive pressure or constriction on your feet. If the laces are too short, they may be difficult to tie, causing discomfort. If they are too long, they may create a loose fit, resulting in improper foot support.
  • Safety: Long shoelaces can pose a tripping hazard, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Ensuring that your laces are the correct size helps prevent them from dragging on the ground or getting caught on objects.
  • Secure fit: The right size of shoelaces enables you to achieve a secure, snug fit, which is essential for maintaining stability and support while walking, running, or engaging in other physical activities. This can help reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries.
  • Shoe lifespan: Properly sized shoelaces help distribute pressure evenly across the shoe, preventing excessive wear and tear on certain areas. This can extend the lifespan of your shoes and maintain their shape and function.
  • Aesthetics: The correct length of shoelaces contributes to the overall appearance of your shoes. Neatly tied laces enhance the look of your footwear, whereas excessively long or short laces can detract from their visual appeal.
  • Ease of use: Shoelaces that are the right size are easier to tie and untie, making it more convenient to put on and remove your shoes. This can save time and reduce frustration, particularly if you need to adjust your shoes frequently.

In summary, choosing the right size of shoelaces is essential for ensuring comfort, safety, a secure fit, and an attractive appearance. It can also help prolong the life of your shoes and make them more convenient to use.

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Olivia Cox
Hi, This is Olivia. I am the owner of F5Active - a refreshing blog with the unlimited power of positivity. I hope to share with readers my point of view, life experiences, adventures, and more. Apart from being informative, my blog will also provide insightful reviews, conducted by Andre - my co-author. My biggest wish is to see F5Active growing every day. Let's get on that journey together!

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