Hiking Boot Laces – Length, Repair, and Pro Tips, Everything You Need to Know


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There’s tons of information out there about hiking boots. You can find dozens of articles about the best pairs, how to keep them clean, and which ones are best for climbing. But there’s little mention of the things holding them on your feet: The bootlaces.

Hiking boot laces are durable shoelaces that are often made of leather, nylon, or polypropylene. To find the right length, count your boots’ eyelets or measure your current laces. Choose durable laces that can be cleaned, and experiment with lacing patterns to suit your feet’s size and shape.

This hiking boot laces guide will explore standard boot lace lengths, the mystery of aglets, and what to look for when choosing a pair of hiking boot shoelaces. We’ll also review a few common lacing patterns.

How Long Should Hiking Boot Laces Be?

Determining the right length for your shoelaces can be a little tricky. However, you can get it done via two primary methods. These methods can be described as:

  • Use What You’ve Got
  • Count Your Eyelets

These titles aren’t incredibly descriptive or instructive, so we’ll go ahead and delve a little deeper into how you might find the right size boot laces for your favorite pair of hiking shoes. Hopefully, you haven’t tossed out your old laces quite yet.

Use What You’ve Got

One of the best ways to find a replacement pair of laces for your hiking boots is to use your current, tattered pair. Unless you’ve lost a significant amount of length on them due to thread shedding, you’ll be able to lay your laces out and measure them.

This measurement should give you a pretty good idea of the correct length of laces for you and your boots. Remember, if your previous laces were a little long, don’t be afraid to go a few inches shorter. Alternatively, if your last bootlaces were far too short, add a few inches to your measurement.

Count Your Eyelets

The small metal circles that hold your laces in place are called eyelets. You could count your eyelets to find out what length of shoelace you’ll need to order, but results can vary slightly depending on shoe and foot size. Still, you could reference a helpful lace length guide on eyelets.

What Are Aglets?

A small plastic cap often covers the tips of your shoelaces. This part of the lace is called the aglet. Each singular lace has two aglets, one on each end of the lace. 

These plasticized or waxed portions function to make it easier to lace our shoes and tie them. However, they can quickly become splintered, fractured, and non-existent. When this happens, the ends of our shoelaces become miserably frayed. 

When hiking, these loose threads can begin to catch on low hanging plants and branches. This is a tripping hazard and plain annoying. You could choose to repair your aglets or replace your laces. 

If you choose to replace your old bootlaces, you could decide to practice smart lace maintenance tasks to keep your aglets clean and dry. This may extend the life of your new laces and help them maintain their brand-new look and condition.

Features to Look for in Hiking Boot Laces

Before you go out in search of hiking boot laces, you’ll want to consider a few aspects of your future strings. Some essential factors to think about include:

  • Length
  • Durability
  • Cleanability
  • Style and Color

You’ll naturally want to buy a pair of boot laces that are the right length for your shoes, and they’ll need to be durable to withstand low-hanging brush, small streams, gravelly roads, and hours of uphill hiking.

It may also be a great idea to get a pair of hiking boot shoelaces that hardly ever get dirty or that are easy to clean. Otherwise, you may end up spending a fortune on replacement laces that grow filthy after a few uses.

Price, style, and color are far more flexible. Your priorities and preferences will determine how you feel about setting a budget for your laces and what colors and textures you like best.

Length

Shoelaces come in a wide variety of lengths. Choosing the right laces is crucial to tie your shoes correctly, wear your boots comfortably, and avoid tripping over droopy knots. 

The standard sizes for shoelaces tend to vary between 27 inches in length and 120 inches in length. They can be described in the following way:

  • 27 Inches – Toddler’s Sneaker
  • 30 Inches – Child’s Shoe
  • 33 Inches – Adult Sneaker
  • 45 Inches – Small Boots
  • 54 Inches – Hiking Boots

However, counting the eyelets on your boots may result in better results. It’s also ok to purchase a variety of affordable, differently sized boot laces. 

You can experiment with laces of different lengths to find the ideal one for you. From there, you can begin choosing higher-quality options of the correct size. Just be sure that your final choice is a durable one.

Durability

While shoelaces can be made of all kinds of materials and fabrics, hiking boots laces need to be made of sturdy materials that can withstand lots of stress, rain, and dirt. Most hiking boot lace manufacturers make their laces out of:

  • Nylon
  • Polypropylene
  • Paracord
  • Leather
  • Kevlar

All of these options are strong enough to handle long hikes and camping trips. They may also be straightforward to clean or naturally stain repellent. Though you may not realize it, keeping your shoelaces dry and clean can make a significant difference in their lifespan.

Cleanability

Cotton laces and unwaxed natural-fiber laces tend to be the first to stain and hold onto dirt and grime. If you plan on hiking through an area that isn’t paved, you’ll likely want to choose laces that are made out of nylon, paracord, or stain-repelling synthetic fabrics.

You could also choose a natural option, like leather. However, it may be a good idea to opt for the waxed version of any animal-based or all-nature laces. Otherwise, they could begin to collect foul odors and colors that only contribute to damaging your boots.

Style and Color

Bootlaces come in a variety of colors, materials, and styles. For example, flat cotton laces are commonly found on tennis shoes and sneakers, but they’d quickly fall apart and come undone on a pair of hiking boots. 

When you’re browsing for the right replacement laces, you’ll want to choose a pair that compliments your shoes, and that is the correct type of shoelace for your hard-working boots.

Common Hiking Boot Lacing Patterns

You could choose to tie your boot laces in a variety of patterns and knots. Depending on the option you pick, you could experience a better or a worse fit. As such, it’s vital to understand how each lacing pattern functions. 

While there are dozens of lacing patterns you could choose to try, we’ll be focusing on three of some of the most common lacings found in hiking boots. These three patterns and knots can be summarized as the:

  • Toeless Lace
  • Window Lace
  • Surgeon’s Knot

Many hikers may use a toeless or window lacing pattern to keep their feet comfy throughout the day. Hikers with slim ankles can utilize the surgeon’s knot to keep their boot’s heel tight against their ankle, reducing painful chafing. 

One of the best ways to figure out which pattern and knot configuration might work for you is to spend a few hours lightly walking around in a pair of hiking boots with a standard lacing pattern. If the shoes feel too tight on your toes, the toeless lacing pattern may help.

But if the boots squeeze the middle of your feet, a window lacing may let them breathe a little. Naturally, you can explore the many different styles to find the ideal one for your boots, toes, heels, and arches.

Conclusion

Shoelaces are about as old as Western civilization itself. However, they’ve come a long way since then. Hiking boot laces are durable, relatively long, and easy to clean. They may be made of synthetic materials like nylon or natural materials like leather.

When choosing new hiking boot laces, it’s crucial to choose a pair that are the right length for your boots. You could measure your current pair of laces or use a stand-in piece of string to help you select laces that are the correct length. Just be sure to keep your aglets cleans and dry!

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