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A few rolled shoelaces.

Shoelaces may have been used as a strategy in war. It is said that the Gurkha soldiers, when crawling on the ground, depended on knowing the lace pattern of their own soldiers and those of their enemies to figure out who they encountered

Straight laces meant they were among allies and a crisscross pattern meant they were beside an enemy. 

Whether the accounts are accurate, we may never find out. What we do know is that shoelaces have been around for a while and are functional in more ways than one, but when exactly were shoelaces invented?

Continue reading about some theories of 6 early people groups that were ones to invent shoelaces and how they used them! 

1. Areni-1

The shoelaces found in the Areni-l cave are the oldest known example of this type of cord. They were made from animal sinews and date back to around 4000 BC

This discovery has led to a new theory about the invention of shoelaces. It was previously thought that shoelaces were invented much later, in the Middle Ages. 

But the Areni-l shoelaces suggest that they may have been invented much earlier. This is because early shoes often had lacing holes but no laces.

2. Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi the Iceman shown in a museum.

The shoelaces found on Ötzi the Iceman are made of animal skin and date back to over 5000 years ago. 

The theory is that early humans used shoelaces to fasten their shoes, which would have helped them to walk long distances without losing their footwear.

This is an important discovery, as it allows us to understand how early humans lived and what kinds of things they used in their everyday lives. 

3. Ancient Greeks and Romans

The first shoelaces created by the Ancient Greeks were made of leather and were used to fasten sandals. Later, shoelaces were made of linen or other materials and were used to fasten shoes.

The ancient Roman shoe was called a sandal and it had two straps that went around the foot and up the leg.

These Roman sandals were held together by leather shoelaces or cloth ones. The laces were tied in a knot at the top of the leg, which kept the laced sandals from falling off.

It is not clear exactly when this invention was made, but it is believed to be sometime between 100 BCE and 300 AD.

The ancient Roman soldiers were not only responsible for inventing the shoelace but also for popularizing it. 

During the Roman Empire, shoelaces became a fashion accessory and were worn by both men and women.

They were often made of expensive materials such as silk or linen. The wealthy would even have their shoelaces adorned with jewels.

Shoelaces continued to be popular throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the 17th century, they began to fall out of fashion and were replaced by buckles and other fasteners.

4. Brogues (Inventor John Lobb)

Men's brown brogues on a beige background.

Brogues are a type of shoe that has been around for centuries. While the image above is a more modern version, the shoelaces on these were originally used to help keep the shoes on the feet of farmers and other workers who spent a lot of time outdoors.

The theory is that the invention of shoelaces for the Brogues shoe was a way to keep these workers’ feet from getting wet and cold when working in the fields or other outdoor areas.

Today, shoelaces are used more for fashion than function, but they still play an important role in keeping our shoes on our feet. 

5. Modern Shoelaces (Inventor John Boydell)

Today, most shoelaces are made from synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. 

The first synthetic shoelace was created in 1873 by John Boydell, and the patent for it was filed in 1874. 

These laces were made from various materials, including gutta-percha and vulcanized rubber

Synthetic shoelaces became popular because they did not break as easily as traditional shoelaces made from the animal gut or plant fibers. Synthetic shoelaces can also be easily dyed to create a wide range of colors. This makes them perfect for use in fashion and sporting shoes.

In the early 1900s, rayon became the material of choice for shoelaces.

By the middle of the century, nylon had replaced rayon as the most popular synthetic fiber for shoelaces. Today, polyester is the most common type of synthetic shoelace on the market.

Synthetic shoelaces have a number of advantages over traditional laces. They are more durable, they don’t absorb sweat or water, and they are easy to clean. Synthetic shoelaces are also cheaper to produce than laces made from natural fibers.

Despite the many advantages of synthetic shoelaces, there are some drawbacks. Cheaply made synthetic laces can be slippery, which can make it difficult to keep your shoes tied.

Loop King Laces & the History of Shoelaces

One shoelace trend that has been popular in recent years is the use of shoelaces as a fashion accessory.

Brands have started to create luxury shoelaces made from materials like leather, satin, and rope which can add a touch of luxury to any outfit.

Shoelaces are also available in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can easily find a pair that matches your personal style.

If you’re looking for a way to add a little extra something to your outfit, consider investing in a pair!

The answer to the question – “when were shoelaces invented?” may have a different answer depending on who you ask. The key takeaway is that shoelaces have come a long way since their early invention.

Today, there are all sorts of different types and styles of shoelaces, from classic cotton laces to luxury leather laces.

If you’re looking for a way to add some personality to your shoe game, check out these luxury shoelaces. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the perfect set of laces for your shoes. 

Miles Anthony Smith

Miles is a loving father of 3 adults, devoted husband of 24+ years, co-chief sneakerhead (along with his wife Carolyn) at Loop King Laces, author, entrepreneur, investor, & owner of several businesses (AmaLinks Pro, Why Stuff Sucks, & Kompelling Kars). Miles has been featured in New York Magazine, Escapist Magazine, FashionSpot, Menswear Style, & Men Style Fashion. Loop King is trusted by sneakerheads JumperMan Kris, jumpmanbostic, ajinchicago, among others.


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces


Gold Tip Shoelaces