I have an old pair of well-worn hiking boots that I have used for years to do my yard work in. The last time I used them, while cutting the grass, one of the original boot laces finally broke.
My next door neighbor, who is an active duty Marine, was outside also. He observed me sit down on the ground and walked over to talk to me. He saw that I was working to rethread the broken boot lace, so I could finish cutting my grass and made a suggestion.
He told me that instead of buying cheap boot laces at my local Walmart, do what he has done for years and use 550 cord, also known as paracord, to replace my boot laces. The idea made a lot of sense to me.
Military grade 550 paracord rope, known as Mil-C-5040 Type 3, is made of nylon so that it dries quickly and is mildew resistant. It is 1/8 inch in diameter and is rated to hold 550 lbs. There are seven (7) inner removable strands. Each inner strand will support approximately 35 pounds. This type of paracord was originally used on military parachutes.
There is also a cheap after market five (5) strand and one strand paracord. I DO NOT recommend this type of paracord. They are NOT as strong or durable.
In order to replace your boot/shoe laces with paracord, you will need several items.
- Scissors works best or a sharp pocket knife can be used.
- A butane cigarette lighter.
- Paracord of your preferred color.
I went to my local Army surplus store and inquired if they had any paracord. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of colors and patterns that Paracord came in. The paracord came in packs of one hundred (100) feet.
Be sure to purchase only seven (7) strand paracord. I purchased brown paracord to match the color of my work boots and my new hiking boots. To my pleasant surprise, the paracord is made in the U.S.A. Not many things are still made in the U.S.A.
I took out the old boot laces from my new hiking boots and used them as a length guide to cut the new paracord boot laces. I cut the paracord to the same length as the old boot laces, 72 inches. I cut the ends of the new paracord boot laces on a 45 degree angle. I then melted the paracord ends with a butane lighter.
While the ends were still hot and pliable, I rolled and pulled the ends of the paracord strands to shape them before the ends cooled and hardened. Be careful, these ends are VERY hot while pliable. If the melted ends flair, the flared ends will not thread through the boot/shoe lace eyelets. When melting the ends of the paracord, be sure to melt all of the seven (7) inner strands and the outer colored cover together.
Take both cut ends of the paracord and hold them together. Tie a figute 8 knot at the bottom of the “U” or half way point. This way when you put them in your boots/shoes, the knot will stop the paracord from shifting so the ends will not become longer on one side and short on the other side of your boot/shoe.
There are several reasons to use Paracord as boot/shoe laces:
- Paracord is MUCH stronger than standard boot/shoe laces.
- In a disaster or survival situation, you can take the Paracord from your boot/shoes; strip the seven (7) white strands of cord from inside the colored cover. You then use the colored cover as boot/shoe laces and have seven (7) strands of cord to use for whatever purpose you may need cord for. My boot laces measured 72 inches long, times 7 inner strands that would give me a total of 42 feet of cordage per shoe lace or a total of 84 feet of cordage using the inner strands of both boot laces for whatever I may need. Unlike a survival kit or bug out bag, this cordage is with you whenever you wear your boots or shoes that you have replaced the standard shoe or boot laces with paracord.
- Paracord comes in MANY more colors and patterns than standard shoe laces come in.
I had a problem keeping the Paracord boot/shoe laces tied. So I just added an additional knot after tying the bow and the problem was solved. I have also been told that a little hair sprayed on the paracord boot laces will help them from becoming untied. However, I have not tried the hair spray idea yet.
I have also replaced the shoe laces in my tennis shoes with paracord. This works well also.
I took my two grandsons camping a couple of weeks ago. While camping, I showed them my paracord boot laces. Both of them wanted to know if I would change out their shoe laces in their cross trainer shoes that they wear and replace them with pacracord. When we returned home from camping, I took them to our local Army surplus store and let them pick out the color and pattern that they wanted. They picked a more colorful patterned paracord than I had picked. I replaced their shoe strings with the paracord that they had picked. They both love their new paracord shoe strings.
There are many ways you can use paracord. Some of the things you can use paracord for are: fishing line (the inner strands), make bow-drill for fire-starting, make a splint, make fishing line (the inner strands), sewing thread (the inner strands), trip wires alarms, make a shelter and many, many more. The ways of using paracord are only limited to your imagination and resourcefulness.
When buying paracord, be careful not to buy the white colored one. It stains easily and the stain does not come out.
WARNING: DO NOT use paracord for rappeling or to suspend your weight for ANY reason. People have tried and have gotten badly injured doing so.
Good, concise write-up on paracord, Coach; well done! Thanks for reminders of how important this one simple item will be post-IHTF. We bought a bulk roll of camo paracord, and I must confess – I’m tempted to use it when I should not just because I like it!
Wifey here…I see Mr. WE2 digging through his paracord supply to find a color suitable! LOL
You can never have too much 550 cord :)
I definitely agree on cutting the cord at an angle and melting it. You can make a “needle” tip with thinner stuff like bankline or mason twine, by melting the cut-point, and pulling both free ends to stretch it out. This almost NEVER works with paracord (Lord knows, I have tried…), so save yourself annoyance and just do what The Coach says :)
I also get no compensation, but in my experience (I have a small side business-doing nautical-style ropework, mostly for fun) the best online paracord price/selection is consistently from SCP/MSO-sponsor campingsurvival.com .