Do you remember the last time you had to lace up some new tennis shoes? It can take a while to master the process of weaving those new laces through all those tiny holes in your shoes. But just think about how much harder it would be if your shoelaces didn’t have those special hard plastic tips on them.

Did you know there’s a name for those things? And we don’t mean “special plastic shoelace tip thingamabobs,” either! They’re called aglets!

Aglets are small plastic or metal tips placed on the ends of shoelaces, cords and drawstrings. They serve several purposes. In addition to preventing the fibers of shoelaces and cords from fraying or unraveling, aglets make it easier to thread laces through the tiny eyelets in shoes. Aglets also help you to hold and grip shoelaces to tie your shoes.

Today, most aglets on shoelaces are hard plastic. However, aglets are believed to have been around since the time of the ancient Romans. Since they didn’t have plastic back then, the first aglets were probably made of metal, glass or stone.

No one knows for sure who invented aglets, but we’re sure glad they did. The first aglets may have been used instead of buttons at the end of ribbons to help keep clothes fastened. Wealthy people in ancient Rome may have used expensive precious metals, such as brass or silver, to make their aglets.

Do you think aglet is a funny word? It kind of is, isn’t it? Aglet used to be spelled “aiglet,” which came from the old French word aiguillette.

Both of these words are forms of the French aiguille for “needle.” When you think of how aglets help you thread shoelaces through the eyelets in your shoes, this makes perfect sense!

Aglets appear on more than just shoelaces today. They can be found at the end of cords and drawstrings. Decorative aglets can also be found at the tips of bolo ties and fancy belts.

Today, most clear plastic aglets on the end of shoelaces are put there by special machines. The machines wrap plastic tape around the end of new shoelaces and use heat or chemicals to melt the plastic onto the shoelace and bond the plastic to itself.

Some shoelaces made out of special materials, like polyester, can be crimped and heated so that an aglet is formed at the end out of the same material as the shoelace. The advantage of such aglets is that they’re not a separate piece that can become damaged and fall off.

 

78 Join the Discussion

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    • Happy Wednesday, Joseph! Thanks for stopping by today’s Wonder of the Day®! We like your guess about tomorrow’s Wonder…we’ll all have to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if your guess was correct! :-)

    • We think it’s awesome that you like Phineas AND Ferb, Pinky, and that you watched the video for today’s Wonder! Thanks for letting us know…you’re a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  1. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I did not know for today’s wonder, it was going to be an aglet. But, I did know what an aglet was from Phineas and Ferb. This wonder was a great one. I wonder if Ella will know what an aglet is.
    Love
    Ava

    • Hi, Ava! We’re glad you had some background knowledge about aglets from Phineas and Ferb! We also hope you AND Ella enjoy today’s Wonder of the Day® about them! :-)

    • That’s right, Shundee! We thought it was fun to learn what that “tip of your shoelaces” was actually called, and we hope you did, too! :-)

  2. OK, SO AGLETS ARE WHAT YOU PUT ON SHOELACES. THAT IS SO COOL.. I ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THEY WERE LIKE… I CAN’T WAIT FOR TOMORROW.

    • WE are excited that YOU are excited about tomorrow’s Wonder, Sydney! Thanks for sharing what you learned from visiting today’s Wonder, too! :-)

  3. We LOVED the Phineas and Ferb video! We are going to ask other adults in our building where our aglet is at?! Think they will know?!?

    • We think you might get some WONDERfully interesting answers from the other folks in your building about where aglets are located, Miss Green’s Class! Maybe they have seen the Phineas and Ferb video before…we are finding out that LOTS of our Wonder Friends have! Thank you for sharing this GREAT comment with us today! :-)

    • We’re so happy that many of our Wonder Friends (like you!) have great background knowledge about aglets, Stefani! It’s AWESOME that you stopped by today’s Wonder and let us know! :-)

  4. Wow! That was a great video with Phineas and Ferb! We didn’t know that part of a shoelace even had a name!

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s wonder!

    • We’re so happy to hear that you both learned something new by visiting today’s Wonder about aglets, Lindsey and Victoria! Way to go! We can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about, either! We are excited, too! :-)

    • We’re SO GLAD to hear you guys had fun with Wonderopolis AND Phineas and Ferb today, Mr. P. and Ms. Gentile’s 4th Grade Class! Thanks for letting us know! We wish we could have seen you guys rocking out and singing about AGLETS…AWESOME! :-)

  5. I liked the VIDEO…IT WAS AWSOME!
    DID YOU KNOW THAT A TIP OF A SHOELACE WAS CALLED AN AGLET!!!! I LOVE PHINEAS AND FERB!

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you liked the video, Kym! We didn’t know what an aglet was before, but thanks to today’s Wonder of the Day®, we do now! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about aglets with everyone in Wonderopolis today, Trecy! We appreciate your comment! :-)

  6. Like everyone else…we LOVE Phineas and Ferb. We also did not know what an aglet was, but,
    A-G-L-E-T we won’t forget it.

    WE love you Wonderopolis!!!

    • Your comment makes us SUPER happy, KF Dragons! We’re glad you enjoyed exploring today’s Wonder together! We LOVED your yodeling video…it ROCKED! :-)

  7. When we first saw the wonder except for those who visited the library we did not know what an aglet was. Mrs. Caplin told her class that she guessed it was the metal ring on shoes but NO!! Our class found it interesting that we really don’t know who invented the aglet. There are many places to find aglets: shoelaces, sweatshirts, bolo ties, fancy belts, and chords. We are learning about Greek and Latin roots in word study, but we have not talked about the French influence. We think tomorrow’s wonder is about Rock & Roll and we just sang Proud Mary (at least Mrs. Caplin sang). Here is our link: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/creedence+clearwater+revival/proud+mary_20034308.html

    • WOW! That’s a LOT of places to find aglets, Mrs. Caplin’s Class! We think it is really cool how you guys are studying about root words…it’s fun to learn the meaning of words and the history behind them! We like your guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, too! It ROCKS! We can’t wait to see if you guys are right! :-)

    • We LOVE how your WONDERful kindergarten students measured “aglet to aglet,” Mr. Flinn! Thanks so much for sharing this video with everyone in Wonderopolis…it was AWESOME and your students did such a GREAT job measuring and learning about aglets! :-)

  8. Hi wonderopolis I didn’t know aglets were on other things besides shoelaces. Thanks for letting me know more about aglets.

    • It’s so AWESOME that you learned some other things about aglets, Abhinav! Thanks for sharing this SUPER comment with us today! :-)

  9. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Thank you for the response. I appreciated it a lot. I wonder how dinosaurs were born? How did you come up with wonderopolis? I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about rock and roll music or about some type of skates. How was everything invented? Well that’s all I have to say. Please respond soon.
    Love Ava

  10. I’m looking at an aglet right now!!!!!!!! I have no clue what tomorrow’s wonder will be. Loved the video!!!!!

    • Thanks for such an enthusiastic comment, Audrey! We appreciate it! We’re glad you liked the video for today’s Wonder! :-)

  11. I watched Phineas and Ferb the aglet one and I loved it. Now I know what AGLET is. I really liked the video on the top as well. Every day my class goes on wonderopolis to post a comment.

    I love Wonderopolis :)

    • We’re so happy to hear that you and your classmates visit Wonderopolis every day, Diya! That makes us SUPER happy! Thanks for letting us know you liked the video for today’s Wonder…Phineas and Ferb are really popular among our Wonder Friends! :-)

  12. Hi Wonderopolis. I think you guys are awesome. I thought this wonder today was amazing. Keep up the awesome WONDERS! Bye;)

    • We really like this AWESOME comment, Juliana…THANK YOU for sharing it with us! We hope you had fun learning about aglets in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  13. Great wonderopolis question. This is my 1st time on wonderopolis. My Language Arts teacher showed my class this and it looked very interesting. Cant wait to read more!

    • Hello, Teegan! We think it’s GREAT that you love visiting Wonderopolis! Thanks for sharing that you had some background knowledge about aglets before you explored this Wonder! :-)

  14. Dear Wonderopolis,
    WONDERful wonder! An aglet is the name of the tip of a shoelace. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about stars.
    XOXOXOXOXO,
    Paige ;)

    • You’re right about aglets, Paige! We hope you had a WONDERful Wednesday! Ours was AWESOME because we got so many GREAT comments from Wonder Friends like you! :-)

  15. I have seen that episode of Phineas and Ferb, and since I’ve seen that episode, I knew the end of a shoelace was called an A-G-L-E-T. :)

    • Way to go, Jordan! We were happy to hear that you are a Phineas and Ferb fan like so many of our other Wonder Friends are! Thanks for being a fan of Wonderopolis, too! :-)

  16. You should update your website so that you can find your comments better. It’s really hard to find which day I wrote you so that I can read what you responded. You should apply a search navigation bar so that you can type in your name that you used for the comment to make it easier to find!

    • Thanks so much for sharing a way you think we can improve Wonderopolis for all of our Wonder Friends, Devan! We appreciate your comment very much! :-)

  17. Hello Wonderopolis!!
    The video today ROCKED!!! I am a huge Phineas and Ferb fan. I know just about everything about them. I did know what an A-G-L-E-T was from that episode. I will not be able to comment for a while because I am going out of country. My boyfriend will be commenting also. Using the same email.

    • Hi, Food Allergy Girl! Thanks for letting us know you liked the video for this Wonder of the Day® and that you had some background knowledge about aglets! Have safe travels! :-)

  18. look, I have a HUGE problem! My friend Makayla is moving away and I don’t want her to. So, I want to do something extra nice for her before she leaves…any ides?

    P.S. It needs to be cheap.

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you want to do something nice for Makayla before she moves, Devan! That’s super nice of you! Why not make her a special friendship bracelet? It’s fun, easy, inexpensive, and it will mean a lot to her because every time she wears it, she will remember what a GREAT friend you are! You can learn about friendship bracelets by visiting past Wonder of the Day® #301 – How Do You Make a Friendship Bracelet? (http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-you-make-a-friendship-bracelet/). :-)

    • You’re RIGHT about that, Dylan! Way to go! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today and leaving us this AWESOME comment! :-)

    • Hello, luckypugsley! Thanks for sharing that you know what an aglet is! We appreciate your comment and are super glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  19. Hi Wonderopolis! Two new vocabulary words I learned in this article are drawstring and fiber. I learned the word aglet came from the French word aiguillette. Also that the first aglets were made of metal, glass, and stone! After learning about aglets, I still have one question. How do people make aglets? Thanks for making me wonder!!

    • We’re super glad you WONDERed about aglets today, Team Unger 8! We’d love to learn more about how aglets are made, too! Let’s both do some more WONDERing about that, OK? :-)

  20. My thinking…I think that they’re things that keep your shoes together, because the picture gave me a hint. My learning … you can make aglets. If you take the aglets out they can brake . My connections … One time I stepped on a aglet and it came off . But thankfuly, they were glued .
    Allison :-):-):-):-):-):-)

    • We LOVE how you thought about, learned from, and made personal connections to this Wonder, Allison! Way to go! Thanks for sharing your great comment about aglets with us today! :-)

    • That’s a great question, Wonder Friend Gertrude! We have lots of Wonder Friends here at Wonderopolis who help decide on the next Wonder of the Day®! We also LOVE when we receive Wonder nominations from awesome friends like you: http://wonderopolis.org/nominate-wonder/! Thanks for sharing your prediction for tomorrow! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is an aglet?
  • Who invented the aglet?
  • Are aglets used on anything other than shoelaces?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready for some fun crafty activities that are shoe to please? Then look no further!

Have you ever lost the aglet on the end of a shoelace? There’s no need to replace perfectly-good shoelaces just because an aglet is missing. Instead, follow these instructions for How to Make a Shoelace Aglet with simple nail polish.

If you want to make your shoelaces snazzier or just use them to make something new and interesting, check out these fun shoelace crafts you can do with your friends or family members:

 

Still Wondering

Use ReadWriteThink’s Shoe Comparison Chart to encourage children to compare one of their shoes to the shoe Gary Soto describes in his poem “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes.”

 

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