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Remember : The story of laces

We can already imagine you, head bowed, your hands tying the laces of your super Nike Air Max 270 (or others!) And then suddenly, you ask yourself the question: "Who could have invented these straps?" ". This article will tell you more about the origins of the famous thongs, which can be found on shoes as well as on clothes and other accessories.


From an early age, we are taught to tie the laces of our sneakers properly. Everyone has surely had their share of misadventure, very little. Luckily, mom, dad or big brother was there to help you out. Today, children's books and tutorials are helping to make learning more fun. Anyway, big as you are, you now know how to tie them, right?

From this obligation, we therefore know that the straps are there to keep the sneakers or shoes on the feet. We appreciate their practicality, since loosened, they make it easier to put on shoes. They are also aesthetic and oh, how much we love the yellow and white sneakers with wide purple straps, like the iconic colors of the Lakers. No matter the shape of the laces, flat and wide, round and thin or round and thick, they all have the same roles. But who had the idea?


March 27, 1970, a milestone in the history of shoe thongs, since that was the date when the patent for shoe leather laces was filed by Harvey Kennedy. The gentleman took the lead in an invention ($ 2.5 million) which was nevertheless created many centuries ago.

Aiguillette, cordon or lac, all referred to the same thing, but the word "lace" appeared in the 14th century when common people had access to the first products with leather aiguillettes. It is indeed the shoemakers of yesteryear who fashioned shoe cords with scraps of leather. The pieces of leather have been worked with water and oil to be softened and rounded. But to go further in history, discoveries made it possible to go back in time and to know who or which people also used cords to maintain their shoes.


In 1991, more exactly on September 19, a couple of German hikers alerted the Austrian gendarmerie after discovering a body, probably the victim of an accident according to their estimate. The body, over 3,200 meters above sea level, in the Hauslabjoch glacier in the Ötztal Alps, was actually a mummy. Having therefore studied it in depth, scientists believed that it had died around the year 3255 BC. J.-C.

Okay, what's the connection with the laces? Well what interests us are the shoes of the mysterious character, called Ötzi! They were made of deerskin and bear leather served as soles. Braided grass held up a layer of hay, which served as a lining, no doubt to protect the feet from the cold. To top it off, there were bark string laces. Yes, laces! The men of the Bronze Age were therefore already clever kids. But unfortunately, at that time, no importance was attached to discoveries.


With the same aspects as the shoes of the mummy Ötzi, a shoe dating from the Neolithic era was found buried underground during roadworks carried out in the canton of Zug, Switzerland in 2000. Although no thong was found , an imprint of it was drawn on the shoe.

Also in Switzerland, this time in the town of Saint-Blaise, another shoe surfaced. It was actually a sandal made from oak bast strips. A few fragments of fine cords were still visible and they were certainly used for support.

This is all proof that shoe thongs already existed long before Harvey Kennedy. The latter simply improved them.


Under Louis IX, there were already thread and silk lacers among the craftsmen of the time. Of course, the shoe cords were made by hand. The use of the braiding machine dates back to the 18th century when Englishman Thomas Waldford invented it. The machine was then perfected by a German named Bockmüll. The loom was made of iron and produced around a hundred laces every day (little info, one yardstick = 1.18 m). In 1783, Perrault designed a wooden loom.

Today, the main lanyard manufacturing plants are concentrated in the United States. Their method consists in making braids of laces using machines to bo