Shoes come in a wide variety of styles and shapes. However, you probably have seen a small separate loop-shaped lace at the back of your shoe known as a heel loop. Have you ever wondered what this loop is for? Why do your shoes have heel loops? And in how many ways can you use it?
The primary goal of heel loops is to help you put on your shoes easily. You can pull the loop with your finger while slipping your foot inside.
Furthermore, heel loops allow you to get a better fit with tight or loose shoes. Heel loops can also be used to hang your shoes to dry without getting misshaped. The heel loops for some shoes are reflective, so they can increase safety and visibility during night runs or sports.
Heel loops can be found on different types of boots, sneakers, and shoes. In addition, the heel loops have several other unusual and interesting uses and benefits. However, first, let’s briefly discuss what heel loops are.
What Are Heel Loops?
You probably have seen a separate loop-shaped lace at the back of your shoe. But have you ever wondered what this loop is for? Or in how many ways can you use it?
The loop on the back of the shoe is called a heel-loop, pool loop, or bootstrap. In some brands, this loop is also called a pull tab. It usually appears as a handle or tab near the heel of the shoe at the back.
A bootstrap or heel loop helps you slide your foot into the shoe. Although the name refers to bootstraps, it can be found on the back of many sneakers and shoes, not just boots.
Bootstraps or heel loops have been in use since the early 19th century. It was said to have originated in the 19th century in America and has now become a fashion trend. Today, the bootstraps on shoes and boots are used for more than just pulling on your shoes. Also, some brands use it as a design element.
Why Do Shoes Have Heel Loops?
Perhaps you noticed a loop on the back of your shoe called a heel loop. Have you ever wondered why it exists? And how can you use it? These heel loops aren’t just for fashion; they actually offer real benefits and uses.
The heel loops on the back of your shoes make it easier for you to put on your shoes. Additionally, they are used to hang shoes without deforming them. There are some other interesting uses, so let’s explore them in more detail.
1. Heel Loops Help You Put on Your Shoes Easily
The heel loops or bootstraps are mainly used on boots, but they can also be found on several other types of shoes and sneakers. The primary goal of heel loops is to help you wear your shoe quickly. In addition, you can easily adjust your foot and shoe with the heel loop.
In sneakers, heel loops allow you to pull the loop with your finger while slipping your foot inside. If you don’t have heel loops on your sneakers, you will probably damage your sneakers’ heel counter as you try to wear them.
If you have ever owned a pair of Vans sneakers, you would probably know how difficult it is to put them on. Do you know why? The reason is that there are no heel loops or bootstraps at the back, making them harder to wear.
Heel loops on boots allow you to easily slip your foot into them, especially if they don’t have laces. These shoes have elastic sides that keep your foot in place instead of laces, so the heel loop makes it easier to get your foot in.
If you want to try it, you can check it out yourself. Try wearing your shoes without pulling or holding the heel loop. You will have a difficult time getting your foot into the shoe.
The heel loop on your shoes protects the heel counter from getting damaged, prolongs the life of your footwear, and keeps your footwear fitting snugly for longer periods.
2. Heel Loops Help You to Fit Your Shoes Better
The second important use of these heel loops is to help your shoes fit better. Sometimes, your shoes may shrink after washing them or due to the material, making it difficult to put your foot in them. Here’s where the heel loop comes in handy.
You can either put your index finger in the heel loop or grab it with your other fingers and pull it while sliding your foot in. This should make it easier to perform your job. In addition, heel loops help you avoid putting your finger inside the back of your shoe while wearing them, even if they are shrunk.
Shoes can get looser over time, and heel loops are useful for keeping them in place. Everyone uses heel loops according to their needs and requirements. If your shoes become loose, heel loops can help you fit them better.
You can tie your shoes tight using the heel loop or bootstrap available on the back of your shoe. You just have to bring your shoelaces behind, pass them through the heel loop, and tie them forward. This style of lacing is usually used for trekking.
3. Heel Loops Help to Mark Your Shoes in Public Laundries
Heel loops can be used to mark and identify your shoes in large public laundries. This one is quite an interesting use of the heel loops.
It is typically used in countries where larger laundries are common, like the United States. Using these heel loops, you can sew your shoes to keep them together and prevent them from mixing with those of other customers.
In addition, you can attach bright-colored laces, strings, or pieces of clothing through these heel loops to identify your shoes. These heel loops can also help you quickly identify your sports shoes from others.
4. Heel Loops Help to Hang Your Shoes Without Deforming Them
Another benefit of the heel loops on the back of your shoes is that they can be used as hooks to hang your shoes.
If your shoes are wet, whether you have washed them or been soaked by rain, hanging them is the easiest way to dry them. Now, with these heel loops, you can hang your shoes even more easily.
All you need are a few clothespins. Attach these clothespins to the heel loops and hang your shoes on a rope. You can also use a carabiner, attach it to the heel loop and hang your shoes to dry. It will speed up the drying process and won’t damage your shoes’ uppers.
It is a great way to dry your shoes without deforming their shape or the last of your shoes. However, this use wasn’t primarily a part of heel loops design. If you got heel loops on your shoes, make sure you use them for hanging your shoes because if you hook them from any other area, you may deform them.
If your shoes do not have heel loops, you can hang them through the shoelaces. However, a strong wind can pull them off and squish them again in soil and dirt.
Apart from drying your shoes with heel loops, you can also use the loops to hang your shoes on your bag. It is handy while climbing mountains. This trick secures your shoes to your backpack or climbing harness through the heel loops. You may find it helpful if there is not enough room in your bag.
5. Heel Loops Help to Tie Longer Laces
Some shoes come with longer lace, so if your shoelaces are longer than normal, don’t worry! Since you can use these heel loops to tie your longer laces around your ankle. To do this, you need to leave the upper two eyelets open, encircle your laces around your shoe, pass them through the heel loop, and tie them in front. Personally, I’m not too fond of this look, but it is a great way to keep your longer laces in place.
It might surprise you that you can tie your shoelaces using these heel loops, but it is not new to professional athletes. You can pass your shoelaces to tie them around your ankle through these heel loops.
Lacing your shoes this way improves the grip of your shoe. By doing so, your leg will not rub against the hard topline of the shoe, and your laces won’t loosen up either. Additionally, if you play football, this lacing method prevents your laces from getting stuck in your instep while hitting the ball.
6. Heel Loops Act as Reflective Panels
Another important purpose of heel loops on the back of your shoes is to hold a reflective panel. It is more common in running and sports shoes for night use.
You probably have noticed that the heel loops in most shoes are made of reflective material. It helps to increase reflectivity and improve the safety of people performing sports at night.
The purpose of reflective panels on heel loops is to improve visibility during the day and at night. Basically, the heel loop reflects light from a distance.
If you like to run or do some sports at night, I would recommend getting yourself shoes that have heel loops with reflective materials. They will provide your road safety, especially in urban areas.
Besides reflective heel loops, I would also suggest wearing reflective clothing if you’re going for nighttime running. Reflectivity from your heel loop can help motorists stay alert from a few feet away.
7. Other Unorthodox Uses for Heel Loops
The heel loops on the back of your shoe can be made of different materials like plastic or rubber. But you might wonder why do they even exist? Here are some unusual uses of these heel loops.
- Well, one unusual use of the heel loops is that you can remove your shoes without using your hands. Using your other leg, you can remove your shoe by the heel loop without damaging the sole or back of the shoe.
- Another interesting use of heel loops is inserting a timing chip in the heel loop. In some running races, you are required to wear a portable, lightweight identification chip. Sometimes these chips are attached to your shoelaces, but you can also attach them to your shoe’s heel loops for more convenience.
|Put on Your Shoes Effortlessly||– Heel loops help you wear your shoe easily. They help you adjust both your foot and shoe.|
– Heel loops allow you to slip your foot into shoes without laces easily.
– Heel loops protect the heel counter of your sneakers from getting damaged.
– They prolong the life of your footwear and keep them fitting snugly for longer.
|Fit Your Shoes Better||– Heel loops help your shoes fit better, whether they are tight or loose.|
– If your shoes are shrunk, heel loops help you slide your foot in.
– If your shoes get loose with time, heel loops help you tie your shoes tight around the ankle.
|Mark Your Shoe in Public Laundries||– You can attach bright-colored laces, strings, or pieces of clothing through these heel loops to identify your shoes.|
– You can sew your shoes to keep them together and prevent them from mixing with those of other customers.
|Hang Your Shoes Without Deforming Them||– You can hang your shoes through the heel loops without deforming the shape of your shoes.|
– Hanging your shoes through heel loops will speed up the drying process and won’t damage your shoes’ uppers.
|Tie Longer Laces||– You can use heel loops to tie your longer laces around your ankle.|
– You can use this lacing style for trekking or other sports like football.
– Lacing your shoes this way improves the grip of your shoe.
|Act as Reflective Panels||Reflective panels on heel loops improve nighttime visibility and daytime clarity.|
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