The rhetorical question: “How long is a piece of string?” is serious when it comes to shoelaces. Too long and the ends can drag. Too short and they can be difficult to tie. Here's how to figure out the ideal length.
Table of Contents
Some shoelaces list the number of eyelets (eg. 6-8) to which they are suited. This can be a very rough estimate, as shoes vary widely. Allowing for the shoe width, or using my approximation formula, gives much better results.
Calculating a reasonably accurate shoelace length for a particular shoe with a particular lacing method requires taking into account many factors – and some pretty complex maths.
Enter shoe measurements into this web-based calculator to accurately compute the length of shoelace needed for any possible shoe lacing method on that shoe.
All of the underlying mathematical formulas from the Shoelace Length Calculator are shown both in mathematical notation and in generic notation compatible with spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel.
Having calculated a theoretically accurate shoelace length, the problem arises of how to buy a shoelace from the limited lengths available. It all comes down to the resulting end lengths that you find comfortable.
Comparing each lacing method to basic Criss Cross Lacing makes it easier to know whether a shorter or longer shoelace is needed for a particular lacing method.
Many shoes come with shoelaces that are excessively long. Here's some theories about this phenomenon, as well as some practical solutions as to what to do about it.
From an American Ian to an Australian Ian, thanks for the helpful measurement charts and insightful guidance that allowed me to pick out a pair of new shoelaces!
– Ian H., Apr-2022
THANK YOU! Your Shoelace Site is amazing! Indispensable when reusing my short shoelaces on higher shoes, & now again as my German boyfriend gave me a pair of Lederhosen with laces that were too long! I love the clear explanations!
– Michelle G., Jul-2021
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