What is the history of shoelaces?

Practical, simple and economical, the lace is one of the constituent elements of most of the shoes sold on the market. Without this accessory, boots, sneakers, boat shoes and other footwear would lack a satisfactory fastening, which is the sole purpose of this product, although they are aesthetically necessary in certain shoe designs, which would look strange without eyelets, tongues or laces.


It is estimated that the first shoes in history date back more than 5,000 years in time. They were found in caves bordering the countries of Iran and Turkey and were made with the oldest known leather, of course very simple and primitive. Although the exact date that laces were incorporated into footwear is unknown, there is some consensus that the leather straps of Roman sandals were one of its earliest antecedents.


In addition, long before Nike and other brands developed ‘intelligent’ footwear that adapts to the foot, the Roman contemporaries of the Macedonian Alexander the Great knew of the aforementioned sandals, considered the first shoe capable of adapting to the shape of the foot. They were made around 450 B.C. with cork soles and leather straps as laces, being used by men and women, indistinctly.


It is fair to recognize, however, that the inhabitants of Ancient Mesopotamia used a kind of cord to keep fragments of animal leather attached to their feet. This primitive shoe, it is believed, was one of the prototypes of shoemaking as we know it.


Despite its uncertain origin, historians keep records of the person who first patented shoe laces: the American Harvey Kennedy, who at the end of the 18th century registered a design of laces and aglets, with which he amassed 2.5 million dollars, a more than respectable fortune for the time.