Some shoes uses laces and so you lace them. But some shoes use these long strips (see picture below for an example).

image of a pair of tawny-yellow athletic shoes that have both laces to bring them together and strips to bind them but no LEDs to in the darkness find them

How do you call these strips and what is the proper alternative for the verb to lace in this case?

  • 3
    Do you want the term that manfacturers use or what people in the street call them because they might be different? Dec 20, 2021 at 10:22
  • 2
    When you lace shoes or boots, by default you insert laces into the eyelets. Then you put on the shoes and lace them up. The parallel to 'lace up' is just the hypernym 'fasten'. Dec 20, 2021 at 11:57
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    Rather than "fasten", you could commonly "tie your shoes" if they had laces, or "do up your shoes" for any fastening method.
    – Chris H
    Dec 20, 2021 at 23:05
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    @ChrisH Perhaps if you're British. Not sure if I have an American phrase for putting on shoes without tying them ... hmm. Dec 21, 2021 at 2:19
  • 1
    @AzorAhai-him- it's funny how such simple and useful phrases don't travel
    – Chris H
    Dec 21, 2021 at 8:52

4 Answers 4


It is called Velcro strips:

the brand name of a type of fastening tape consisting of opposing pieces of fabric, one piece with a dense arrangement of tiny nylon hooks and the other with a dense nylon pile, that interlock when pressed together, used as a closure on garments, luggage, etc., in place of buttons, zippers, and the like.


Usage examples from Lexico.com

I can't manage things like zips, so they took the zips out and put Velcro in instead.

You may find yourself going out and buying shoes that have Velcro fastenings instead of laces as the child cannot grasp how to tie their own laces.

  • 7
    The generic term ("hook-and-loop" fastening) isn't a single word, unfortunately. Dec 20, 2021 at 13:29
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    As Wikipedia says, it's often referred to generically as velcro, and in my opinion most people wouldn't understand "hook-and-loop fastening" (which sounds close to hook-and-eye fastening). Dictionaries tend to be a bit conservative with generic names; in formal writing you'd probably have to use hook-and-loop but anywhere else, velcro is what's understood.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 20, 2021 at 14:43
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    @TannerSwett - the OP is referring to the two Velcro strips on the upper part of the shoes.
    – user 66974
    Dec 20, 2021 at 19:07
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    One might also call them velcro "straps" or "fasteners."
    – user8356
    Dec 20, 2021 at 19:52
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    The Velcro company knows that everyone calls it Velcro, even though they might prefer people to call it hook and loop.
    – bdsl
    Dec 21, 2021 at 16:49

To answer the second part of your question, I would use do up informally instead of lace, as

Go ahead; I just need to do up my shoes.

Or, more formally, fasten, as

The girl fastened her shoes before joining the game.

  • 5
    Another similar simple colloquialism is "put on" as in "I'll just put on my shoes" or "go put your shoes on" and the fastening system is really irrelevant.
    – Criggie
    Dec 20, 2021 at 21:59

I would call them Straps because that word would cover all fasteners

Straps would be Hook-and-loop fasteners in modern times, but historically straps would have buckles, hooks, snap domes, or ratchets.

Cycling shoes and ski boots and roller blades have straps used with a tightening system based around a ratchet, so they can be secured and tightened gradually, but released quickly.

Modern Straps would be made of cloth or the fabric of the boot/shoe, but historically would have likely been leather.

And the word "strap" leads us to the concept of "boot-strapping" or

pulling oneself up by your own boot-straps.

  • 2
    For the second part of the question asking about what verb to use, you could use the verb form of the word as well (i.e. I strapped on my shoes). Or just fasten. Dec 20, 2021 at 20:59
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    Be careful of confusion between straps used for fastening boots and bootstraps used for pulling boots on (or pulling oneself up by) - They aren't the same thing!
    – Charemer
    Dec 21, 2021 at 16:13

The strips themselves are called straps (I guess those two words are related, come to think of it.) The fastening material is what you are supposed to call "hook and loop fasteners", but everybody calls it Velcro after the most famous brand. And it is the fastening material that people focus on. So you wouldn't say "Instead of laces, those shoes had straps," instead, you'd say "...those shoes had velcro."

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