One of the things I used to pack with me when I first started hiking was an extra pair of bootlaces. While I’ve never experienced laces breaking while hiking I know people who have. Their solution was duct tape, which resulted in blisters because the fit was not comfortable.
An alternate solution is paracord & electrical heat shrink tubing.
Most bootlaces aren’t very durable and don’t last long under hard use. I prefer to make my own out of 7-strand paracord with heat shrink aglets and since I always carry paracord on Adventures I can easily replace them if they break. Truth be told I’ve only ever made 2 pairs for 2 separate pairs of boots and they’ve never broken with hundreds of miles of heavy use. What does need replacement every once in a while are the heat shrink aglets.
Bonus! You can make them out of any color you want!
Electrical Heat Shrink Tubing that fits just over the diameter of your paracord, usually 3/16″ – they have a 2:1 shrink ratio so they’re nice and snug – this can be found at Home Depot for like $2
Lighter – you’ll need to ‘finish” the end of the paracord by melting them and also to shrink the tubing around the ends of the laces. (Kids should watch an adult do it first and then be supervised)
Cutting tool – knife or scissors
Measuring tool – unless you’re going to just line it up to your old laces
Ok – let’s get started!
1- Decide how long you want your bootlaces to be. You can either measure the ones that are on your boots already as a template or if you’ve tossed them away already just lace up your boots from top to bottom on one side and then bottom to top on the other side so you don’t have to unravel the entire spool and then make a mark. My bootlaces are 65”. You’ll want to cut them a little longer than what you want in the end because when you ‘finish’ the ends they will shrink back a little.
2- Cut 2 lengths of paracord to the length you’ve decided. Use a wicked sharp knife or scissors. (Kids should be supervised and know how to handle a knife)
3- Finish the ends. Using a lighter or matches, melt the ends. It’s ok if they start on fire a little but you’ll want to put it out pretty quickly. Make sure the ends have a good melt all around so the outer shell of the paracord is secured to the melted ends. Caution: The ends remain as hot as lava from Mt. Doom for a minute or so. (Kids definitely need to be supervised here)
4- Cut 4 lengths of Heat Shrink Tubes about 1/2” to 1” long. These are your aglets.
5- Slide the Heat Shrink Tubes over the ends. Just enough so they clear the melted ends. Those melted ends act as a stop so the tubing doesn’t slide off if they get pinched against a tree or rocks etc.
5- Apple heat to the Heat Shrink Tubes. It’s ok if the flame is directly applied to the tubes, but just barely. The flame needs to be jut close enough to cause the tubes to shrink. Make sure the tubes shrink nice and tight around all sides of the paracord.
6- Lace ‘em up!
7- Go Take A Hike! Contact Fox-Trick Adventures and come along on one of our Adventures in the Maine woods!
I hope this article was helpful – please reach out with any questions.