How To Shorten Your Shoelaces When They've Become Too Long To Single Tie

Picture of How To Shorten Your Shoelaces When They've Become Too Long To Single Tie
If you are a person like me who wears athletic shoes most of the time, you most certainly have to deal with the annoying problem of shoelace growth.  Over the lifetime of the shoe, everything stretches. The lace holes will elongate bringing them closer and closer together.  This results in shoelaces that must be double or even triple tied in order to avoid catching them on something.   Here is an easy fix for this problem.
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
You will need:
  • Small diameter heat shrink tubing
  • Hot air gun or similar heat source
  • Super (Krazy) glue
  • Scissors

Most hardware stores carry heat shrink tubing, but in black only. If you want your aglets (that’s what the ends of your shoelaces are called)  to remain clear, or white you will have to spend a few extra bucks and get an assorted pack from Radio Shack. The part number is 278-1610. The assorted pack will provide you with a lifetime supply of tubing for shoe lace shortening.

Step 2: Find your shoes

Picture of Find your shoes
If you are like me, when your shoes are not on your feet, they are hard to find so go find them now. Once found, put one on and single tie them just like you did the first day you got them. Remove the shoe without untying it and place it on your work surface.  Allow the extra lace to splay out to sides of the shoe

Step 3: Select and cut the tubing

Picture of Select and cut the tubing
Cut a piece of the shrink tubing to a length of approx. 3/4 inch (20mm). The ideal piece of tubing should just be able to slide over the existing aglet.

Step 4: Slide the tubing into place and secure it

Picture of Slide the tubing into place and secure it
Work the tubing all the way down the lace into approximately the same position it was in on the day you purchased the shoes. Once in place, use your heat gun (preferred) or similar hot air producing device to shrink it.  An open flame is not recommended.

Step 5: Cut off the extra length

Picture of Cut off the extra length
Using scissors, cut the lace at a point that includes a small bit of the tubing. This will ensure  that your new aglet will have a nice flush end.
M D AM5 months ago

when do use krazy glue??

jpnagle593 years ago
Ditto bunnydeath , I also thought the same thing. 

Sir 2xlbu4u , I have fought this beast many times, and being the idiot I am, the answer was in front of me the whole time... Thank you so much! The perfect need I have of your post, is the grandchildren and now days are doing wild stuff with their laces like they did in the 80's and 90's, and they don't like the knot in the middle, or the cut in half, it 'frizzes' they tell me. Yours produces a clean, professional solution...  Brilliant!
pcooper23 years ago
I shorten my shoe laces by several inches by tying a double knot dubbed by its inventor as "Ian's Secure Knot". It has the added benefit of keeping the knots from opening while walking, yet is almost as easy to undo as a regular knot. Learn to tie it with step-by-step illustrated instructions at Ian Fieggen's site,
CaseyCase3 years ago
I shorten my shoelaces by marking where they need to be cut, painting that area on the shoelace with an oil-based polyurethane. Let the poly dry overnight and then cut. The polyurethane gets absorbed into the fibers and hardens and binds them together so no replacement aglet is needed.
2xlbu4u (author)  CaseyCase3 years ago
Sounds cool. Have you tried plastidip? I works really well when you need to cut stranded rope. I work it in with a brush, let dry, cut, and then a final dip.
Good idea--especially if you wanted a colored aglet.

I wanted to add that if you were in a hurry, you could "harden" the shoelace before cutting with superglue instead of oil-based polyurethane. I tend to use the poly because that's generally what I have on hand.
Great idea, cutting the shoe lace in half when shoe is new, will prolong the life of the shoe lace.
who1buffy3 years ago
You can get a pack of assorted heat shrink at Harbor freight Tools for about $2.00.
2xlbu4u (author)  who1buffy3 years ago
Thanks. I love Harbor freight Tools and they are opening stores on the east coast now!
heathbar643 years ago
What a great idea! I've always just cut the lace in the middle and tied them together so the knot is at the bottom middle of the shoe. this is much nicer.
2xlbu4u (author)  heathbar643 years ago
Yup.. I used to do that too. But that ugly knot.really bugged me so I had to think of something better
That's a good idea. Quick & Easy!
f5mando3 years ago
Excellent instructable - well explained and shot! Thanks so much for this.
2xlbu4u (author)  f5mando3 years ago
You are welcome. It is my first one. The collective intelligence of the people who contribute to this site is supreme so I felt that I had to put forth a solid effort right out of the gate
JBZG3 years ago
buy shorter laces
lucjoker3 years ago
the short sulution is this:
take out the shoelace
fold in 2
cut the folded site off and tie together
put the lace back in the shoe
takes about 1 min
no glue...............

Monsterguy3 years ago
I've always thought it was odd that even though (almost) everyone has shoelaces, that most people don't know what aglets* are called.

*it's not even in the dictionary the spellchecker uses in Chrome...silly red line :p
bunnydeath3 years ago
At first, I thought this had to be the stupidest instructable EVER. Then I read it. GREAT WAY TO DO IT. THANKS.
WVvan3 years ago
Double plus good idea!
bowdenski3 years ago
Good tip. (sorry for the pun)
I tend to shorten ONE lace, but twice as far.
Have y'all added the glue before shrinking?