Holding it Together

You might not think twice about an invention that is arguably one of the most important parts of your wardrobe. It has evolved over time, but its importance has remained unchanged. No pair of athletic shoes is complete without a pair of them and learning to tie them is a childhood milestone.

According to the website “How Products are Made” (madehow.com), “The history of shoelaces is inextricably bound with the history of the shoe and how it was secured and designed in different eras and cultures.”

From the earliest recorded times until now, shoes have evolved and could not have functioned without shoelaces. First made of leather, manufacturers started using textured polyester, spun polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. However, madehow.com says leather shoelaces have stood the test of time: “Shoes of the Middle Ages are less frequently found in excavations than those of the Romans, perhaps because the sturdy leather of the Roman sandal seems to defy deterioration.”

There are a variety of leathers used for shoelaces. ALD features the following shoelaces in these three types, listed in order of strength:

• Chrome – Chrome tanned leather is soft and fairly water-resistant, making it a good choice for shoes that may be subjected to heat or humidity. It can be used to produce a wide variety of colors that show very little color change over time.
• Burgundy – Burgundy is durable tanned leather. This attractive leather has a yellow center. Often used for saddle strings, bull whips and cinches, its strength and pliability makes it a great material for shoelaces. Firmer and more dense than chrome-tanned laces, alum laces can be used for work boots.
• Cougar – Cougar rawhide laces are perfect for any footwear that sees a lot of outdoor use. Work boots need thick, uniform and heavy laces. Cougar rawhide brings that durability.