lacing up hiking boots

Hiking Boot Laces (The Complete Guide)

Laces are often overlooked when choosing hiking boots but play a crucial role. Keeping your boots securely fastened and providing support and comfort to your feet. In many cases, people may not realize the importance of high-quality hiking boot laces until they experience problems with their footwear.

Poor quality or worn-out laces can cause your boots to become loose or untied, leading to discomfort, blisters, and even injury. In addition, the wrong type of laces may not provide enough support or rub against your feet. Over time this will cause irritation and pain.

When choosing boots, pay attention to the laces and choose a high-quality pair appropriate for your needs. Whether you’re hiking, working, or just wearing your boots for everyday use, the correct laces can make all the difference for comfort, support, and durability.

So, while boot laces may not always be top of mind when choosing footwear, they are certainly not to be overlooked if you want to ensure a comfortable and safe wearing experience.

In our complete guide to Shoe/Boot Laces, we will highlight the significance that laces play in hiking. Providing some practical advice on choosing the right style of laces for your hiking footwear. With this knowledge, you can venture deep into nature, safe in the knowledge that your laces will KNOT be an issue.

Hiking boots with colorful laces - Hiking Boot Laces (The Complete Guide)

What Are The Best Laces For Hiking

For hiking, the best laces are durable, stay tied securely, and offer good support and comfort.

Look for laces made of strong materials like nylon, Kevlar, or synthetic fibers that can withstand wear and tear. Round or flat laces are both good options, depending on your personal preference and the type of boots that you have. Elastic laces are also worth considering if you want a more customized fit.

Be sure to choose laces that are the correct length for your boots. Consider features like reinforced tips or reflective strips for added durability and safety. Ultimately, finding the best laces for hiking may require some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try out different types until you find the perfect pair for your needs.

Why Would You Change Hiking Boot Laces?

99.9 times out of 100 a pair of hiking boots will be sold with laces, but in some circumstances, hikers may choose to change them.

Reasons A Hiker May Change Laces On Their Boots

  • Wear and tear: Over time, hiking boot laces can become frayed or damaged from exposure to moisture, dirt, and rough terrain. This can weaken the laces and make them more prone to breaking or coming undone during hikes. Changing the laces can help ensure your boots remain secure and comfortable on the trail.
  • Comfort: Some hikers might find their current laces uncomfortable or cause pressure points on their feet. Switching to a different type of lace, such as a wider or softer lace, can help alleviate discomfort and improve the overall fit of the boot.
  • Style: Hiking boot laces come in a variety of colors and styles. Changing the laces can be a simple way to update the look of your boots or coordinate with different hiking outfits.
  • Performance: Different types of laces can offer different levels of support, traction, and durability. Hikers may consider changing their laces to a specific type, such as waxed or Kevlar laces. This can enhance the performance of their boots in certain conditions or terrains.

Overall, changing hiking boot laces can be a simple and effective way to improve the comfort, durability, and style of your hiking gear.

Hiking Boot Lace Types (Explained)

The type of hiking boot lace you choose can significantly impact the comfort, durability, adjustability, and even aesthetics of your hiking boots.

A secure and adjustable lace can prevent blisters, improve stability, and reduce the risk of injury. Durable lace can ensure your boots stay securely fastened throughout your hike. Waterproof and breathable laces can also help keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet or warm conditions.

Investing in high-quality, durable, and adjustable hiking boot laces can make a significant difference in your overall hiking experience.

For hiking shoe laces, several types are particularly well-suited for outdoor activities.

Here are some of the most common types of hiking shoe laces and their benefits:


Round laces

Round laces can be a good choice for hiking boots because they are generally strong and durable. They can withstand the wear and tear of rough terrain. Round laces are usually made from materials like nylon or polyester. These materials are resistant to abrasion and can last longer than other types of laces. They are also available in different lengths and thicknesses, so you can find the right size for your boots.

However, the round shape of the laces may not provide as much support as flat laces. This can be a consideration if you need extra support for your feet and ankles during hikes.

kevlar laces

Kevlar laces

These laces can be a great choice for hiking boots that need laces that can withstand extreme conditions.

Kevlar is a strong and durable material used in bulletproof vests and other high-performance applications. Kevlar laces are resistant to cuts, abrasions, and chemicals. This makes them an excellent option for hiking boots that will be subjected to rough terrain, extreme temperatures, or harsh weather conditions.

They are also lightweight, which can be beneficial for hikers who want to reduce the overall weight of their gear. However, Kevlar laces can be more expensive than other types of laces and may not be as widely available as other materials. Additionally, Kevlar laces are not elastic and do not stretch. They may not be the best choice for hikers who prefer laces that can be adjusted for a customized fit.

elastic laces

Elastic laces

Elastic laces can be a convenient option for hiking shoes and boots. Especially for hikers who want to quickly and easily adjust their footwear on the trail. They are made from materials like silicone, rubber, or bungee cord, and they have a stretchy quality that allows them to flex and move with your foot. This means that elastic laces can provide a comfortable and snug fit, while also allowing your foot to move naturally as you hike.

These laces are also quick to lace up and take off. This can be helpful for hikers who want to minimize the amount of time spent adjusting their footwear. They are a good option for those with mobility issues or hand dexterity concerns, as they can be tightened or loosened easily as needed.

One potential drawback of elastic laces is that they may not provide as much support as other types of laces, especially for hikers with wider feet or high arches. Additionally, elastic laces may not be as durable as other types of laces and can wear out more quickly over time.

Overall, elastic laces can be a good option for hikers who prioritize convenience and ease of use, but they may not be the best choice for hikers who require more support or durability from their laces.

flat white laces

Flat laces

Flat laces can be an excellent choice for hiking boots, offering a range of benefits that can enhance your hiking experience.

One of the main advantages of using flat laces for hiking is that they provide additional support to the foot and ankle. The wider surface area of flat laces helps distribute pressure more evenly across the lacing area. This reduces the risk of discomfort and injuries such as blisters. This is particularly important when hiking on uneven terrain or carrying heavy loads.

Flat laces also tend to be made from softer materials than round laces. This can make them more comfortable to wear over long periods. They also provide a secure fit that can help prevent your foot from slipping inside the boot while hiking.

Overall, the additional support and comfort provided by flat laces make them a great choice for hiking boots. However, it’s important to choose laces made from durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of hiking. Look for flat laces made from nylon or polyester, as these materials are resistant to abrasion and can last longer than other materials.

waxed laces

Waxed laces

Waxed laces are a popular choice for hiking boots because they offer several benefits that can enhance the hiking experience. One of the main advantages of using waxed laces for hiking is their durability. The wax coating helps to protect the laces from moisture and abrasion, which can increase their lifespan and reduce the risk of fraying or breaking during hikes.

In addition to their durability, waxed laces can also provide a more secure fit than other types of laces. The wax coating helps to prevent the laces from slipping or coming undone, even when subjected to rough terrain or heavy loads. This can help hikers feel more confident and comfortable on the trail.

Another advantage of waxed laces is their aesthetic appeal. The wax coating gives the laces a shiny and polished appearance that can complement the look of hiking boots. This can be a nice touch for hikers who value both form and function in their gear.

It’s important to note that waxed laces may not be the best choice for all hikers. The wax coating can make the laces slightly stiffer than other types of laces, which may be uncomfortable for some wearers. Additionally, the wax coating can wear off over time. Theu may require occasional re-waxing to maintain their durability and appearance.

Overall, waxed laces can be a good choice for hikers who prioritize durability, security, and style in their hiking boots.


Hiking Boot Lace Lengths (Explained)

Shoelace length is important because it affects the fit and comfort of the shoes. Laces that are too short may not allow for proper lacing or tying, leading to a loose fit that can cause blisters or other discomforts. On the other hand, laces that are too long may drag on the ground. This can cause tripping hazards or getting caught on obstacles during hikes.

Tips For Getting The Correct Shoelace Length

  • Measure your current laces: If you have a pair of hiking boots with laces that fit well, measure the length of the laces to get an idea of the appropriate length. Measure from the tip of one lace to the tip of the other, excluding the aglets (the plastic or metal tips at the ends of the laces).
  • Check the manufacturer’s recommendations: Some hiking boot manufacturers provide recommendations for the appropriate lace length for each size of boot they produce. Check the manufacturer’s website or product information to see if they offer guidance on lace length.
  • Consider the number of eyelets: The number of eyelets on your boots can also affect the appropriate length of laces. Boots with fewer eyelets may require shorter laces, while boots with more eyelets may require longer laces.
  • Allow for extra length: It’s a good idea to choose laces that are slightly longer than your measurements to allow for flexibility and adjustability in lacing your boots. Aim for laces that are 3-4 inches longer than the measurement you obtained in step 1.
  • Try on the boots: Once you have chosen a pair of laces, try on your hiking boots and lace them up. Ensure that the laces are long enough to tie securely, but not so long that they drag on the ground or get caught on obstacles during hikes.

By taking these steps, you can choose the appropriate length of laces for your hiking boots, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit on the trail.

hiking boots hanging by laces

Tying And Lacing Hiking Boots (Explained)

Tying shoelaces properly is crucial for any hiking trip. It helps to prevent injury by keeping your feet securely in your shoes. This reducing the risk of slipping or tripping on uneven terrain.

This is especially important when hiking on steep or rocky trails, where a single misstep can lead to a serious injury.

Properly tied shoelaces also ensure that your shoes fit properly. This is essential for comfort and support during long hikes. When your shoes fit snugly, you are less likely to develop blisters or experience discomfort or pain during your hike.

In addition to preventing injury and ensuring comfort, properly tied shoelaces improve stability while hiking. Especially when navigating challenging terrain.

Lastly, tying your shoelaces correctly can conserve energy by allowing your feet to push off the ground more efficiently. This will reduce fatigue and improve overall endurance. In short, properly tied shoelaces are an important part of preparing for any hiking trip. Helping to keep you safe, comfortable, and energized throughout your journey.

Here is a youtube clip from our friends at ENWILD who give a great demonstration on the best way to lace and tie your hiking boots:


When To Replace Hiking Boot Laces

Hiking with damaged laces can have several negative consequences that can potentially impact your hiking experience.

Worn or damaged laces can cause discomfort and pain in your feet, as your shoes may not fit properly or may loosen up during the hike. This can also reduce the support and stability of your shoes, increasing the risk of slips, falls, and injuries.

Additionally, damaged laces may not hold your foot securely in place, causing your foot to slide around inside your shoe. This wh can lead to blisters, hotspots, and other foot injuries. It’s important to always inspect your hiking gear before hiking to ensure that everything is in good condition, including your laces. If you notice any damage or wear, it’s best to replace them before hitting the trail.

Snapped laces during a hike can also lead to a long uncomfortable hike home. The risk of this is not worth the relatively small price of ensuring your laces are in good condition.

Signs That It´s Time To Replace Your Hiking Boot Laces

  • Fraying: If your boot laces are frayed or starting to show signs of wear and tear, it’s time to replace them. Frayed laces can easily break, which can be dangerous when you’re out on a hike.
  • Stretching: Over time, hiking boot laces may stretch, which can result in a loose fit. This can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, as loose boots can cause blisters or lead to falls on uneven terrain.
  • Knots won’t hold: If you’re having trouble getting your laces to stay tied, even after double knotting them, it’s a sign that they may be losing their elasticity and need to be replaced.
  • Fading or discoloration: If your laces are starting to look faded or discolored, it may be time to replace them. While this is mostly a cosmetic issue, it can also be a sign that your laces have been exposed to the elements for too long and may be weakened as a result.

In general, it’s a good idea to replace your hiking boot laces every six months to a year, depending on how frequently you use them and the conditions in which you hike. If you notice any of these signs of wear and tear, it’s a good idea to replace them sooner rather than later to ensure your safety and comfort on the trail.

Other Helpful Articles

If you found this article helpful you will love these too!

How To Buy Hiking Boots Online (5 Essential Tips!)

Hiking Socks VS Tube Socks: Key Differences You Need To Know

Hiking Boot Types (Explained)