Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY Lace-Keepers!!

If you ride with normal shoes of the non-clipping-in/non-mechanically-attached-to-the-pedal variety, you've no doubt had occasion to question the safety of a shoe with laces.  Laces can easily get caught in your chainring, especially if they come untied from all of your furious pedaling.  This can be very dangerous, bringing the ride to an abrupt halt, and potentially causing injury if you can't find a way to stop yourself from falling over.  This presents a problem, since there are lots of great shoes that would be great bike shoes if the darn laces didn't get in the way.  Fortunately, I haven't caught a lace in my chainring since I was a very young lad ... but the memory of the resulting tumble of humility still haunts me whenever selecting a shoe for a ride.

Some shoes that are designed with bike riding in mind come with some kind of built-in lace keeper, in the form of an elastic loop to tuck the laces in, or a Velcro strap that covers the tied laces.  But what about all the great shoes that don't have that option, since the designer really hadn't thought about bicycling as a priority for the design?  You can buy aftermarket elastic laces similar to the Keen sandal style that have an adjustable clip.  They seem to work pretty well on shoes they were designed for, but I've tried them on regular shoes and found them to be less than perfect for comfort and adjust-ability on good ol' regular shoes.  So ... what else can one do?  Well ... there's a cheap and incredibly easy way to solve the problem.

I present to you ... DIY Lace-Keepers!!!  Yay!!

Start with a normal lace-up type shoe, preferably a matching pair, unless you have a "unique" style requirement.  Here's a pair of light hiking shoes as an example (great for all-around adventure riding/exploring, or whenever you might want to both ride and walk in one pair of shoes):

See how the laces are a bit on the long side?  They're great laces, though ... the kind that stay tied ... so I don't want to change them, but even when tied, they're a little long, and I don't have the patience to double-tie or find a way to shorten them.

I was thinking it would be great if these shoes had some loops to tuck the tied laces into, and thought perhaps some Velcro strips would work.  I happened to have some extra Velcro ... it comes in a roll that can be cut into pieces of any length, and is available at almost any hardware store.  So I cut two strips about four inches long and placed them under the laces where they cross below the top tie location.

Velcro strips cut to length

Strips placed under laces ... second crossing point from top

 After tying the laces as usual, I grabbed all of the tied portion, placed it over the Velcro pointing toward the toe, and wrapped the Velcro around the whole thing.

Velcro strip wrapped around tied laces

 I found this system to be very secure, keeping the laces out of the way while also helping to keep them tied.  I was a little concerned that it might look strange ... but looking at the finished product, I think it looks perfectly fine, although something a little narrower might look nicer.  Of course, you could also get some color-coordinated Velcro, if you prefer ... which I might just do, now that I know it works so well.

It's amazingly simple ... it's incredibly inexpensive ... and it makes any lace-up shoe a million times safer for bike riding.  Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.  And if you have any other genius lace-keeping tricks, please share them!

Back again soon ... be safe out there!!


  1. Scott, this could work for my hiking shoes also (which wil never see a bicycle). LONG laces that tend to come untied unless double knotted...a pain to untie at times. And your velcro solution looks kinda cool, too!

    1. Hey, Bill ... I hadn't thought about that. This could work for a lot of shoe laces that don't stay tied, regardless of their use. Hmmm ...might there be a market for pre-packaged Velcro lace-keepers?