I've been playing with shoe laces lately, starting with paracord of different sizes and types. Then I thought about bungee cord and shock cord. By the way, bungee and shock cord are the same thing.
3/16" bungee cord is what I started with. I cut five lengths about eight inches long. Each length is a different color. I thought that would be easier to see for my trial run. The 3/16" bungee just barely made it thru the shoe lace holes. Putting them thru more than twice would be very difficult. They start to fray because it's such a tight fit. I tied a knot in one end of each of the cords, pushed them thru there two holes and put my shoe on. With a piece of bungee cord thru each of the five sets of shoe lace holes I then guessed at about where to put the knot on the other end. Initially I tied them all too loose. My heavy duty kind of sneaker style hiking shoe became a very loose slip on shoe. So, I retied the knots a little closer to the lace holes. This was better. The shoe was not so loose. When I tie my shoes with laces they are adjusted so I can slip them off and put them back on (with the aid of my finger as a shoehorn) without untying them. I like them that way. The 3/16" bungee cord was to stiff or strong to achieve the happy medium I was looking for. I really didn't like the look of the knots on each side of the lace holes. Lacing them like regular shoelaces would not have helped. They were just to strong and big for what I was trying to do.
Next I used the 1/8" bungee cord. I picked a color that would match the shoes and proceeded to lace them like regular shoe laces. The 1/8" cord went thru the lace holes with ease. After a couple of tries I had them adjusted to meet my slip on and off criteria. They worked very well and I liked them.
I had heard of bungee cord for shoelaces but never took the idea seriously. The reason I gave them a try was to see how they held the bow knot at the top. On regular laces I use a double bow. My shoes aren't laced tight and even with a double bow they tend to come untied more that I like. The 3/16" bungee cord would hold a knot but was just too bulky for this size project. 1/8" bungee cord worked very well and the knot held fantastic. Take a rubber band and tie a knot in it. You can pull the knot to where the rubber is thinning some. When you let got the elastic next to the knot goes back to its original shape acting as a barrier to letting the knot come undone. The 1/8" bungee cord did the same thing.
I have not used bungee cord for laces before. I don't know what the longevity will be. The outer sheath is very durable and should do well. I can only see one problem so far. If I want to hike or play a sport my laces should be tightened so my shoes stay on better. I don't have to worry about my laces coming undone. That is one thing I was looking for. I pulled the knot so tight that it is very difficult to get it undone. That's great for my daily routine, but it's going to take a minute to loosen the knot and snug the shoe on tighter.
For the purpose of a shoelace knot staying tied I give the winner to the 1/8" bungee cord. The 3/16" bungee cord got knocked out of the running because it simply was too big for shoe laces. The 1/8" bungee also beat out the three paracords I tried. The best paracord was 650 Coreless. (It's the hollow sheath of the 550 paracord), next was the 425 cord and last was the 550 cord. Remember, I'm talking about the ability to stay tied as a shoelace not the benefits or durability of the cord for other purposes. I think any of the four cords mentioned do a good job as shoelaces.
M. Shane Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Paracordgalaxy.com
(Top right photo left shoe 3/16 Bungee right shoe 1/8 bungee)
(Bottom right photo left shoe 425 cord right shoe 1/8 bungee)
(Top left photo are color samples of bungee cord)