boots - advantages of laces?

Watching an old movie the other day, the German soldiers boots made me wonder- why they didn’t have lace up boots? cheaper to make? better for some things? laces better for other.?

What did they have instead?

It seems to me that lace up boots allow for the wearer to adjust the fit all the way up the boot but that comes at the expense of having to deal with laces. But then straps would be just as time consuming as laces. Zips would be convenient but wouldn’t allow for any adjustment in the fit.

For long hikes or marches, the adjustability of laces is a huge plus. I’d hate to have to go far carrying a heavy pack with any other design.

It was a movie, so maybe it was just what was available in the costume department. Maybe they were originally used as cowboy boots.

If the German boots had buckles, well, buckles actually came before laces.

As for any advantage they might have, the only thing I can figure is, if you broke a buckle, the rest of the buckles would still keep the boot on. If you broke a shoe lace, the entire boot would come loose.

Just a matter of style?

They might also be impossible to zip or unzip after being coated in mud.


I was never in the military, but friends who were in Viet Nam tell me that they had the local folks fit their boots with zippers. They still had the laces for adjustment, but in general it was easy on and off with the zippers. These folks were chopper pilots and crew, so maybe the mud issues weren’t a factor?

Buckles are more flame retardant than laces.

Zippers jam and rust. Laces are easily replaceable with something as simple as a gore or two from 550 cord, and boots don’t easily fall off under any circumstances. Plus, should the need arise (an injury or such) laces are easily cut off. And, of course, if something happens you jam your foot in the boot, pull the laces and get busy in no time at all.

Laced boots with zippers up the side are fairly popular in the Air Force nowadays, pretty much beacuse of ease of use. I don’t have any myself, but I hear they are very convenient if you don’t want to mess with laces.

As for myself, I like that laces are easy to replace, as others have mentioned. Also, in the case of an injury such as a broken bone, boot laces can be used in the making of a splint (although belts are better for that, they’re less likely to cut off blood circulation than narrow laces are).

In any case, in these times of mobile phones that check email and networked computers and computer chips that make my car work and music players that can surf the internet, I find it comforting that my boots are held onto my feet with a couple of lengths of string.

Lots of military and police still wear jackboots today with no laces, buckles or zippers. They were originally made for cavalry, extending all the way above the knee and were reinforced with chain mail to protect the lower leg from sword blows (or at least maybe the occasional machete swing while trampling over a feisty peasant). In such a design any laces or buckles would probably just create a weak point that could get punctured. Motorcycle and horseback police still wear boots today that are fundamentally very similar to the German military boots which were probably represented in the OP’s movie.