Laces Out: Cheap Leather Laces Rejuvenate Canvas Shoes

Bet you never thought a $3 purchase could completely change the look of your shoes for the better. Bring those canvas shoes back to life with this simple, stylish upgrade.

Most guys have never given their shoelaces a second thought, other than when they’re untied. The idea of spending any money on replacing perfectly good laces may seem downright crazy–but hear me out.

Replacing the athletic laces that came with your shoes with a pair of leather laces is a small and cheap renovation, but it completely redefines the look of the shoes.

While not a new idea, I first ran across it here where a new pair of laces pulled some old Vans Authentics out from retirement. Immediately they transform from a plain pair of canvas athletic shoes to a pair on par with casual loafers or boat shoes.

I opted for a pair of Keds that I picked up at Gap and swapped out the boring white laces with a pair of leather laces I found at Target for $3.  One 72” lace was enough to fit both shoes. The Vans are also a classic choice, and Payless currently has a white canvas shoe that could be a great, cheap alternative.

I decided to go for the “chino” color because they’re perfect for Fall, but can also easily be a replacement for white kicks come next Spring or Summer. Getting a pair in blue or white could look great too.

Wear them sockless like a boat shoe and you’ve got a comfortable, classy and unique style suitable pretty much all year. (Keep them stink-free with these tips from Art of Manliness.)

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • HM

    Agreed, i saw this idea on the affordable gentlemen’s blog, and was interested in the idea, so i put the leather hide on a pair of tan chucks. It was cool. i liked the change and it made me feel more “cool” casual rather than the “athlethic” casual when we wear sneakers. considering Chucks or the Clarks DB are my go to downtime wheels.

  • Tim Lewallen

    This is a great idea, but I would advise against going sockless. It is better on both your feet and the shoe to wear socks. If you like the sockless look you can wear a low profile white or black footie style sock and it is almost imperceptible.

  • Andrew

    Hey HM, good idea putting them on chucks, I bet they look great.

    Tim, Can you elaborate more on why it’s bad for your shoes and feet to go sockless? I don’t disagree with you, I’m just curious. This is my first year for venturing deep into sockless territory.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..From Kitchen to Mantuary- 8 Tools to Master =-.

  • Matt

    I have a pair of canvas sneaks that look more or less identical to those, and I think this is a great – albeit perhaps a season too late – suggestion.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..mhoughton- @nationalpost- Tomorrow- we live tweet Rob Fords meeting with the Post http-natpost-dfjloM – Finally- the NatPost is doing comedy! =-.

  • Andrew

    Hey Matt, Definitely give it a try! A good pair of kicks are never a season too late 😉 These will look great with jeans and chinos in Fall as well.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Laces Out- Cheap Leather Laces Rejuvenate Canvas Shoes =-.

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  • ZM

    Arggh. These Anchors are hard to find these days. Love this color too.


    Hi, I’m having a little bit of trouble finding where to buy the leather laces. Do you guys have any suggestions on where to buy them, preferably in store?

    • Andrew

      Hey Wesley, I bought mine at Target. They also have them at places like RiteAid, etc.

  • Kyle

    This also looks pretty awesome with blue low top chuck taylors.

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  • John

    IT’S ALIIIIVE!! I’m resurrecting this thread, just to pass along a variation on this theme. I tried the leather laces, but they don’t stay tied and I just didn’t care for the look on me. However, while awaiting my new pair of Pro-Keds Royal Lo’s (, I decided to get a pair of brown or burgundy and gold boot laces to try instead of the leather laces. What a winner that is!! It still elevates the look of the sneakers, but I think looks a lot more interesting. I should also add that I lace my sneakers to be slip-ons by tying a knot in the lace on the pinky toe side of the shoe and then zigzagging the lace all the way to the ankle eyelet on the big toe side, where I tie another knot after making sure that there is enough slack to slip them on without a huge bother. Then I cut the bindings off the laces and use a lighter to melt the ends. Have fun this Summer!