Customisation is a rite of passage for the modern man; being able to choose and buy something that is uniquely him.
Such self-indulgence has seen the modern suit, denim jean, and leather shoes succumb to his likings. And now, even shoe laces – those common tie-things that hold together Oxfords or Derbies – can be personalised with a custom colourway and texture. As the saying goes: “style is in the details”. And, we aren’t complaining.
Breaking It Down
The easiest and outgoing way personalise your look involves your current footwear; swapping brown or black laces for a pair of coloured or contrast laces. But the type of shoe matters, and the tone and texture is just as important. Let’s take a look at what constitutes a stylish, custom lace, and then find out where to get them.
Formal Vs. Casual
The contrast lace-look seems to work best on casual shoe styles – think desert boots, trainers or boat shoes. But – if the fancy occasion permits – more formal shapes such as Derbies or brogues are perfect lace-changers for a weekend soiree or creative office environment.
As a standard rule, avoid super polished leather shoes that may look too ‘novelty’ with coloured laces. A black tie event may not be appropriate for coloured laces, when wearing a three-piece suit and windsor knot tie. So be thy judge, based on the rules of the engagement. Coloured laces should enhance your outfit, not steal the show.
Neutral Vs Neon
Another factor to consider is the tone and shade of the lace. Bolder neons and pastels offer a rather spring or summer time aesthetic desert boats; while the sneaker gets a sporty makeover when vibrant colours change up a plain, white sneaker.
For night time, and a more formal and understated contrast, stick to laces in muted hues – think olive, marsala, burned orange, mustard and navy – and then pair with shoes or dress boots in neutral, earthy colours (brown, black and tan) with a wool trouser and grey top coat.
Again, as you would a pocket square or quirky pair of socks, check yourself before walking out the door, assessing the whole outfit and how each piece – including your coloured laces – play their part in the composition.
Texture and Thickness
The lace composition varies too. From cotton wax laces to durable nylons, the weight and feel of the lace is also a style choice to make. Try switching to a thicker, more textured pair during winter, perfect for a Derby boot or rubber-soled hiker boot. And look to thinner laces in tight-knit cotton or polyester to add a bit of sleek-chic to a summer brogue.
Some laces come in striped or spot variations and even sport metallic tips in copper and silver hues. Play around with shapes and knits, as you would a woven or flat weave tie.
Meet The Makers
Bondi Laces – Sydney
The Sydney-based Bondi Laces is inspired by the Australian way of life, offering lace colours from Uluru Red to Bondi Blue. Each pair – for both dress shoes and boots – has been reinforced with copper tips in silver, gold or rose gold, and are so durable that the Bondi Laces crew offer a 10 year guarantee, covering any mishaps.
The best part? Sales from each lace go toward providing education to children in Ghana, Guatemala or Laos. Stylish and kind.
Mavericks – Melbourne
Adding some pops of colour and individuality to their kicks, Mavericks‘ laces are made from 100% waxed cotton and are designed in Melbourne. Mavericks come in two lengths – 75cm and 120cm – and are 3mm in diameter. The classics range features a 2.5mm width to suit dress shoes, perfect for shoes with smaller eyelets.
The 75cm suits most shoes with 2-5 eyelets and this season the team have introduced a 120cm length to cater for some extra length, ideal for hiking boots. Mavericks ship both locally and globally.
Ropes Laces – London
Founded in the UK, Ropes has established itself as a leading source of premium lace swaps for sneaker-freakers wanting to style up their street bounce.
Born out of an appreciation for individuality, high quality and attention to detail, Ropes offers 125cm long, 5.5mm thick laces for trainers like the Nike Air Max or 8mm thick carbon black varieties for more low-cut sneaker varieties like the Adidas Stan Smiths. Adding more colour to your kicks is easy.