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Do It Yourself

DIY: Give your tired boat shoes a new lace on life

August 01, 2013|By Adam Tschorn
  • At left, a Sperry Top-Sider with its original factory-issue lace. At right, the same shoe (and its mate) sporting replacement laces in a shade called "wildcat blue."
At left, a Sperry Top-Sider with its original factory-issue lace. At right,… (Adam Tschorn )

Customizing your kicks with colored laces is hardly a new concept -- the sneaker crowd has been upping the flair factor that way for decades now -- but there's something about the way the boat shoe's design that's always made a catch-and-relace project seem downright daunting. 

At least that's what I thought until I sat down a few nights ago to tackle the task of replacing the laces in my beloved Sperry Top-Siders.

I've had one of the brand's relacing kits playing hide-and-seek on my desk since I'd purchased it back in October and finally decided I wasn't going to let my procrastinating of the project hit the one-year mark.

Each kit contains two 46-inch leather laces (enough for a one pair of shoes) and a dangerous-looking five-inch-long lacing needle. It's that needle, threaded at one end, that made the whole process a cinch. The key is to screw the tip of the lace into the needle nice and tight before threading it through the sides and back of the shoe. After a couple of botched starts (and finally checking out the step-by-step video at Sperry's customization page) I was able to relace both shoes in less than 15 minutes. (Helpful hint: Use a pair of scissors to taper the lace to approximate the tip of a No. 2 pencil.) 

Sure, I suppose I could've gone with a less eye-popping shade than wildcat blue (Sperry offers some two dozen hues ranging from dusky shades like burnt olive and forest green to brighter colors like raspberry sorbet and clover blossom) but for some reason this color really seemed to speak to me.

The relacing kits are sold at Sperry Top-Sider stores nationwide (including the Westfield Century City boutique locally) and online for $12 - which is a small price to pay to put some serious spring in your step.


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