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Make laced shoes into slip-ons with inner tubes

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Picture of Make laced shoes into slip-ons with inner tubes
I got tired of my bike's pedals catching my laces, so I decided to ditch my laces and go for something else. I ended up with using inner tubes to turn them into slip-ons. They stretch out to put your foot in, and stretch back tight. Mine are incredibly comfortable and very convenient.

All you need is a pair of shoes (laced), an inner tube, and scissors. Go to your local bike shop and ask for old inner tubes. Explain why you need them and they will most likely always give them to you.
 
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Step 1: Unlace shoes

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A very easy part. Take off the shoes' old laces. Keep them around to get a sense of how long the new ones need to be.

Step 2: Cut inner tube

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Lay out the inner tube and cut it the same length as the shoe lace. Then take that tube and cut two 1 cm. wide strips from it. Some tubes already have markings around 1cm. like in the third picture. Do not leave any jagged edges as they could get worse and rip when stretched.
(You can use scissors, x-acto knives, or rotary cutters to cut it)

Step 3: Lace the shoes up

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Another simple part. You can get all fancy with this if you'd like. Just lace the shoes with inner tube strips you cut.

Step 4: Adjust the laces

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Adjust the laces so they are tight, but can still slip off when you want them to. When they are nice and tight, keep the shoe on your foot and do the first step of tying a shoe, like in the picture.

Step 5: Tie the knot

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It doesn't really matter what kind of knot you tie. Just tie a tight, small knot and the rubber will keep it tight. Cut off the excess tube hanging off (pic. 2)

Step 6: Lace other shoe

Follow steps 3, 4, and 5 for the other shoe.
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drwebster1 year ago
what a good idea,gotta do this,thank`s
nickodemus3 years ago
An update on the pictures I posted beforehand - I retired this pair of shoes today. I wore these shoes every day for a year after making the laces, until one recently snapped (Probably of my own doing anyways... there were a few thin spots in the rubber strips.). These laces could probably outlast the lifespan of any shoe.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea and intructable.
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Archergal523 years ago
I did this with my bike shoes with laces. It works fine, and I don't have to worry about my laces getting caught on the chain ring any more.

My only issue is that the shoe is a little narrow, and sometimes slipping my heel into the shoe is a bit of work. I should just buy a shoe horn (do they still make shoe horns???)
jacco1997 (author)  Archergal523 years ago
The hell is occasionally problamatic for me too but a shoe horn should do the trick for that. I do believe thouse are still around too as one of those cheap 99 cents with free shipping items on ebay.
I believe you meant to say heel, however, it makes the statement somewhat humorous.
kloopk3 years ago
Loved this, and had to do it as soon as I got these new hightops.
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jacco1997 (author)  kloopk3 years ago
What brand are those ridiculously beautiful shoes? I simply must get myself a pair.
darlingtom3 years ago
I cut mind a bit thinner for a five-year old's sneakers. I also had to taper the ends to fit in the soccer sneaker little holes.
jacco1997 (author)  darlingtom3 years ago
I couldn't find a good system for getting them through but tapering them should work.
It did! I just taper cut mine at a shallow angle for about 3/4 of an inch, and they went through the tiny holes of my 9-year-old's Asics perfectly.

My daughter suffers from a sensory processing disorder that makes tying shoelaces a huge frustrating deal every morning, but none of the decent, supportive brands of cross-trainers or runners have velcro fastenings. We have experimented with a few different kinds of stretchy lace, but they look terrible and untidy, or the elastic wasn't high quality enough for a shoe.

Like darlingtom, I also made them narrower. Additionally, I laced them straight-bar method rather than criss-cross. The finished shoe looks amazing - very neat and tidy! I will add a picture when she comes home.. I whipped this up in the 10 minutes before she went to school today, and didn't get a chance to record it for you. :)

This is the best idea. Thank you!!
wrap clear hockey tape (best), duct tape (not as good), or scotch tape (preferably not) around the end.

If you do this in a spiral fashion so you have a long "tail" of tape it should be easy to lace the shoes. Simply push the skinny tape tail through the hole and pull through.

You don't need to worry about removing the tape as you're going to be cutting the excess tubing off anyway.
bdave13 years ago
could you use high tops?
jacco1997 (author)  bdave13 years ago
I don't have any to try it on, but you might as well try. It might be slightly challenging to get your foot in depending on how tight you make it though.
Foaly73 years ago
Could you use shrink tubing to make the "knot" more permanent? Such as, lace the shoes, wrap the ends in shrink tubing, then heat the tubing to make a permanent seal?
jacco1997 (author)  Foaly73 years ago
I have never used shrink tubing, so I wouldn't know. A few people have commented about using it, but no one has told me if it works. Might you be the first?
Heat-shrink tubing is much less flexible than the rubber, especially after being heated and shrunk. One of the problems using it in electronics is that if it is flexed too much it cracks and becomes useless.



Perhaps some kind of silicone adhesive, say clear RTV between the knot and tongue?
Mrballeng3 years ago
Great Instructable! But I think your holding out on us. Keep em' coming.
jacco1997 (author)  Mrballeng3 years ago
Thank you! I have more, but I just can't find time to post them. I will try to get some up soon.
Seitanist4 years ago
Great tutorial, thanks! Really happy with the result. I made one a bit tighter than the other, in retrospect I probably would have made both a bit looser overall.

Also, the amount of times Instructables tried to get me to pay money was ridiculous.
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jacco1997 (author)  Seitanist4 years ago
Thanks! I really love the re-use section of Instructables for the fact that you don't have to go out and buy stuff to make something awesome.
Schuyler4 years ago
Or, buy elastic shoe laces, though they are a bit pricey.
You can do exactly the same thing with regular narrow sewing elastic, as well, It is not pricey.
Great idea. My job has a small bike shop in the basement, so I grabbed an old tube (I've yet to have an irreparable flat on my own bikes) and chopped it up. Now my grody bike-sneakers are less of a pain in the behind to get on and off.
And I love the statement made by wearing accessories made of used bike parts - very DIY bikepunk.
Brilliant.

I use to hate flat tires on my bike, but because of instructables I know say "Yay!" every time I have to walk my bike home.
calamari4 years ago
Didn't work on my flip flops...
Hahaha! I LOL'd on that one!
Such an awesome idea. You are a very talented individual. Hopefully some greedy corporation doesn't swoop this up before you get a chance to have your creative genius discovered and acknowledged. good luck
jacco1997 (author)  jenkretschman4 years ago
Why thank you, kind stranger.
hazlett4 years ago
I have been using elastic cord for this purpose for a couple of year now. Works great. Almost every pair of shoes I buy, the first thing I do is ditch the laces and put in the elastic cord.

The only shoes I have with shoelaces are dress shoes and that is only one pair, my other dress shoes are manufactured slip-ons.
That sounds like something i'd like to try, where do you get the elastic cord?
blackturtle4 years ago
LOVE this! I recently converted my shoes with sewing elastic but they feel a little loose. This will work perfectly I think! thanks for sharing!
Rich.4 years ago
Great Idea, I use surgical tubing. It is more elastic than inner tube and very comfortable as it gives and retracts with every move.
Calorie4 years ago
YES!!! my shoes have constantly come undone in spite of my best efforts of sailing knots. You won my vote.
Genius!

Out of curiosity, what kind of shoes are those? (the dark ones at the top of the page)
jacco1997 (author)  hollenback.c4 years ago
They would be my lovely Old Navy shoes that I found at the thrift store for 2 dollars.
Nice, love thrift stores!
jacco1997 (author)  hollenback.c4 years ago
It's where I got the other shoes too.
nickodemus4 years ago
I finally made some :)
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jacco1997 (author)  nickodemus4 years ago
They look great! Where did you tie them?
I tied the knot behind the tongue, then pushed it to the side so it wouldn't be visible.
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