Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Paracord Bootlaces & Shoestrings

More than 20 years ago, when I worked for AAFES at Ft. Gillem, I tore one of my bootlaces when it snagged on a pallet, and 'Sarge', a Korean and Vietnam war vet that I worked with, gave me a short length of paracord to fix the problem.

The typical shoestrings and bootlaces that come with most new shoes and boots may often wear out faster than the footwear does, and eventually need replacing.  Paracord has long been an option for a stronger and more durable temporary or permanent fix for a broken string or lace, and some folks will swap 'em out as soon as they get a new pair of footwear home.

Outdoorsmen, survivalists, scouts, and military vets can usually give you any number of alternate or emergency uses for paracord laces, should you find yourself in dire need, or in the middle of a run of the mill zombie apocalypse.  There are currently so many paracord colors, combinations, and camo variations, that the hard part is deciding which to use.

I swapped out the cheap, soft, and wimpy laces that came with my current boots with some tan 550 paracord, lacing them up the same way as I had them before.  I measured and cut the paracord to the same length as the original laces, and left the inner strands intact.  I cut the ends of the paracord at an angle, then did a quick melt with my torch lighter, and crimped the ends with needle nose pliers.  A lacing needle or hemostats can be used if needed when working the paracord through tight eyelets or lugs.

You can add a bit of bling to your boots with a Schmuckatelli Co Boot Lace/Bracelet Skull.  The classic skull beads from Schmuckatelli Co have been a long time favorite of mine, and they have a much larger variety of beads available now than when I first bought them in the summer of 2005.

Some folks will melt and roll the ends of the paracord strands to shape them into aglets, use heat shrink tubing as an alternative, or make/buy metal ones to crimp onto the paracord ends.

When replacing the shoestrings on my cross trainers, I tried a lattice lacing variation from Ian Fieggen's book, 'Laces'.  Most of the patterns shown are either for shoes/boots with eyelets or lugs, but these shoes have both, so I treated the center section like lugs to get the lattice pattern in, and it came out alright.  Some patterns that look cool, may not be so easy to loosen and tighten up, so you have to see what will work for you.

Some paracord can feel slick/slippery and may not hold tight with a 'Standard Shoelace Knot'.  I've sometimes used what's called the 'Better Bow Shoelace Knot', and it's held securely for me, but there are many other options to try.

On a side note, white paracord soaks up blood like a sponge, lol.  The skin on one of my thumbs is split/cracked, and it's hard to keep band-aids on it.  I was finishing up on the shoelaces when I saw the red on the ends of the laces, wondered where the heck that stain came from, and then it dawned on me, dadgummit.  Maybe a bit of stain remover and an old soft bristle toothbrush will fix it right on up...


Mark Wing said...

That's a great idea, thanks!

graverobber said...

One way to make an aglet is to coat a short segment of paracord with super glue and then cut it. There is a guy on youtube that teaches at an ourdoor survival school and he shows how to use paracord as a bandage exactly because it soaks up blood but doesn't stick to the wound.

l'Apicoltore said...

You can use hydrogen peroxide to get the blood out. Great blog!

Kev said...

I prefer the heat shrink method. Looks professional, a nice, softer black and no tricks required.