If I'm hiking in the wilderness and my shoelace breaks, what's the best way to go about fixing it assuming I have no spare?

  • 2
    This is why I always have a pair of hockey laces in the repair kit. Useful for stringing up laundy in the tent, and assorted tying tasks, and can be cut down for shoelaces should the need arise. $3, toss them in, and relax. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 13:20
  • 12
    Just tie a knot and move on.
    – slybloty
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 12:39
  • @slybloty Admittedly if this is possible the solution is somewhat obvious, but sometimes if the lace has frayed, broken in an odd place or so on it's not always as simple as it might seem.
    – berry120
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 20:49

7 Answers 7


First, I always have at least one shoe lace in my first aid kit (I know, not the most usual place, but I never forget it and it only needs a very small space).

Also some piece of washing line (e.g. for drying clothes) can be used.

If you don't have one of those and the shoe lace has broken on multiple places, you can cut the other shoe lace and use half of it to lace your shoes every other hole. It will not fit as good as a 100% length shoe lace, but better than having one good and none for the other.

  • 5
    Why would you cut the other lace? The broken one will always have a part that is longer than half of the other lace...
    – Jasper
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 10:54
  • @Jasper you are right ... I changed the answer (although it's a very rare situation where a shoe lace is broken multiple times where less than half is left, but it can happen). Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 14:31

There's a number of options for dealing with such an issue, each can be appropriate depending on the situation in hand.

  • The wonders of paracord can come to the rescue if you have some on hand (and if not, why not!) It's usually a bit thicker than shoelaces but can squeeze through the holes and do the job surprisingly well. Depending on the length of the hike, you may want to seal the ends to stop it unravelling.
  • If the lace has broken near the top, you should be able to tie a simple reef knot to connect the two ends together.
  • If it's broken at an awkward place then use half of it to just tie around the top holes; and you may be able to do the same with the bottom holes with the other half. This won't be as comfortable, but if you're just on a day hike it should do the job in hand.
  • These are a useful fashion accessory: amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00767D2GE/…
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 16:20
  • You should also take out the lace from the other shoe, cut that up and tie everything together such that you have to equal laces. This balances your feet more, possibly preventing all sorts of issues (blisters, sore soles because of overcompensating for the other foot, etc.) Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Rody I don´t think that you need to cut your second lace... Just try to bind your shoes in a similar way. I would not cut the second lace. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:17
  • I would use an overhand knot (also known as a thumb knot or just simply 'a knot') which is less likely to fail than a reef knot.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 8:29

I always carry para chord with me. It can be used for building shelters, hanging food (to hide from bears), securing items to a back pack, staking down tents, and also it can be used as a shoelace.

Para chord is usually made out of spectra or nylon (the same as climbing rope) and has a tensile strength of (usually) between 400 and 600lbf.

So next time you are in the wilderness and your shoelace breaks you can just take out your para chord and re-string the shoe!

  • I agree with that. I often carry thin robe for hanging food away from the tent. That robe is not heavy and is practical. In emergency you could use rope from the tent for shoelace. The size is similar. I would still say it is better to tie a simple knot, ...
    – Alex J.
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 22:29

To always have a duck tape with you in case something break (taken from here in french)

Disadvantage: it is not biodegradable

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  • 2
    Eco-Friendly Duck Tape :) ecoshopper.net/2008/eco-household-garden/…
    – Sponge Bob
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 23:10
  • @KeeganMcCarthy: Nice !
    – Amine
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 13:44
  • Do they make mini rolls? If not, a full roll of duct tape is WAY too heavy for hiking.
    – Justin C
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 18:15
  • @Justin, you can find small rolls in camping stores, but it's easy enough to make your own around your pack frame or something. Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 17:34

Real 550 cord (paracord) has an outer braid over multiple twisted strands of fiber (7, I think). If the cord is too thick, whack off a piece and pull out as many strands as you need to get the job done. It's incredibly versatile stuff and you probably should consider it basic survival gear. But make sure that it's the real deal. I'm not sure that a lot of those paracord "survival bracelets" that are so popular these days are made out of quality cord.


The easiest is to just tie a knot in it and use it as is but treading it in the shoe so the knot is not going to interfere with the job.

The easiest knot to use is an overhand knot, (also known by many other names and I have never met anybody who was not able to tie it.)
Tie it in both ends at the same time, having the broken ends sticking out together and as short as you can and still get the knot to tighten properly.

Now the tricky bit, feed the shoelace in so that the knot does not restrict the tightening of the lace.
If the break is somewhere in the middle of the lace you can just use it as usual, at the lower end of the shoe, lacing up with each half of the lace alternate, (as most people seem to lace up their shoes.)
But if the knot is near the top of the shoe, but not all the way out, you may need to use an alternate lacing way which has knot out of the way. Bring the long end of the lace out of one of the bottom loops, the knot at the inside, and the keep the short end of the lace out of the way below the lacing while you use the long end to connect all there is to be connected, till both ends are the same size. Then use both ends alternatively for the top of the shoe.
In some cases the knot is in such a position that you have to keep it nearer the top of the shoe when starting out.

If you want to learn about lacing up shoes before you set out, I can recommend Ian's shoelace site.

If you do carry a spare lace or a useful bit of string you can use it instead. But the knot in the existing string has rescued many a person on everyday trips where shoe laces where not in their gear.


No need to worry! Just tie it back together where it broke!!

Beautiful day get up eat breakfast and pack up making exceptional time go to put your favorite boots on just as every other day and what ho?? Your hi mileage boots lace busts sending you tush over tea kettle!! Oh dear the day is ruined!

But does it have to be? Usually broken laces get really frayed and or they slide not so well through boot lace holes that are pinched groves or gnarled in some manner. This usually means that the lace won’t go jerking out of your boot holes the same forceful jerk that snapped the lace. ( giggles hysterically)

If you pardon my 10 year old humor this leaves you with and opportunity to pull the broken spot through creating enough thread to tie together on either side.

WARNING: be mindful of where your laces are threaded at the last hole if they are frayed. Getting a fuzzy jungly bush of polyethylene- euratha- nylon- elasta- stretch - Chinese finger trap material looking stuff to jam through that tiny hole can be a nightmare of false hopes as each time you manage to grasp a thread or two and hope pulling those will surely help the others through. Do not fall for this trick! You’ll dawdle away half the day without knowing it with your “ just one more time I almost got it “ tung out of mouth head tilted sweat bead hung inseparably to forehead hand trembling .. you get the picture. It only makes matters worse. You’ll be pulling the guts out of your lace and leaving behind something resembling a fabric slinky that’s seen better days.

If this should happen and you need to re thread the jungle,bush-o-tangle of poly cordage lace through the small metal ring - there’s always the option of lighting it on fire to melt it. The laces are almost 100% guaranteed to be made from some sort of plastic which is some sort of oil. Therefore it is some sort of meltable formable and resealable. Just don’t let it drip on your hands. “YOWCH!!”

Use a square knot or a fisherman’s knot to attach the two pieces together. Actually in theory you could also burn them together melt them together and if you have superglue with you could glue them together.

Hope my knowledge is able to help someone in need, brightening up their day!!

  • +1. but you forgot wetting the broken ends with saliva and then twisting them together. :)
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 19:27

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