Monday, September 17, 2012

How to get a shoelace through a long narrow space

Getting a shoelace (or a string) through a long flexible space. A brief how-to.

"Crocs" brand shoes. Boaters/Loafers bought off the bargain rack at Famous Footwear.
They fit well and are comfortable. But note the laces! 

They go right around the ankle of the shoe, going in and out of eyelets that are quite far apart. When not visible the lace is going through the interior space between two layers of leather (and is therefore not visible or available on the other side of the eyelet). 

Clearly the laces were put in place first and the uppers were stitched around them. If pulled out, there's no way to get those laces back through those eyelets again! Terrible design!

Enter curious child. Lace and shoe become separated. 

Fume for several hours.

Fume for several more. Put shoes aside and set subconscious to "problem solving mode". What to do? Toss the shoes? Certainly not! They're a week old!

After much thought and experimentation, here's what worked for me:

1) Find a long slender piece of plastic or metal that can be pushed several inches through a small space against resistance. Stiff wire might work. I found this metal strip on the road while running. A slim coffee stirrer might work too.

2) Lay the shoelace's aglet on it.

3) Stick together tightly using a 0.5" length of duct tape. Make sure it goes over only once, as otherwise the aglet-and-strip will be too thick to put through the eyelets.

4) Push the strip through the first eyelet and out the other. Then pull the lace through.

5) When finished remove the duct tape.

6) Voila! Shoe repaired!

An alternative I didn't try: find a narrow drinking straw. Push the aglet into one end (perhaps with a little glue?) and push the straw through the eyelets. Then use the straw to pull the lace through.

Hope it's useful!
Brian Ó Broin

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