Inserting laces and straps into shoes and sandals on Shabbos

Inserting straps into clothing:[1]

Inserting the straps of a shoe and sandal into its hole:[2] If the straps of shoes and sandals have come out [of the hole that they were fastened into] it is permitted to return them to their place as long as one does not make a knot at the end of the strap, so it does not escape from the hole, being that [such a knot] is a permanent knot. However, [even this] only [is allowed] in places that it is not common to tie such a knot [at the end of the strap]. However, those places that are accustomed to make this knot then it is forbidden [for them] to even reinsert [the straps] due to a decree that they may come to tie it.[3]

To do this for the first time on Shabbos:[4] Furthermore, even in those places that are not accustomed [to make such knots] it was only permitted to reinsert [the straps after having come out of their hole], However, a new shoe [which never yet had its straps fastened] is forbidden for one to insert the strap on Shabbos being that doing so is fixing a vessel.

To reinsert into a narrow hole:[5] Furthermore, even reinserting the strap was only permitted by a wide hole which it can be inserted into without effort, However, if the hole is narrow to the point that one needs effort to enter the strap into it then it is not considered like he is reinserting it but rather like he is doing so for the first time and is [thus] forbidden due to that it is fixing a vessel.



Inserting laces and the like into sandals and pants:[6]

It is forbidden to insert laces in the following cases:

1)      It is the first time that the laces are being inserted into the shoe or clothing and one intends to permanently leave the lace there.

2)      It is not the first time, but the holes are small, and it is thus difficult to enter the lace into the hole.

3)      It is not the first time and the holes are wide, but the custom is to make a permanent knot at the end of the lace that is inserted so it does not come out of the hole.

Thus, it is only permitted to insert a lace if it is placed there temporarily, or is placed permanently but it is not being placed there for the first time and is not difficult to insert and it is not common to make a knot by its end.


May one insert shoelaces into his shoes on Shabbos?[7]

Inserting shoelaces into a used shoe: It is forbidden to insert shoelaces if the holes are small and it is thus difficult to insert the shoelace. This applies even if one already inserted shoelaces into these shoes in the past. Nevertheless, if one does so in a way that will force him to have to remove the laces after Shabbos, such as he places laces that are bright unusual colors for such shoes, then it is allowed even if the holes are small. Similarly, if he places the laces only on the front two holes [the holes closer to one’s ankle] then it is allowed.[8]

Inserting shoelaces into a new shoe: It is forbidden to insert shoelaces into a new pair of shoes for the first time on Shabbos. However, some Poskim[9] rule that by shoes today this is permitted to be done provided that the holes of the shoes are wide and hence it is easily attainable to insert the laces.[10] However, seemingly according to the ruling of Admur this allowance does not apply even by today shoes.[11] Nevertheless, if one does so in a way that will force him to have to remove the laces after Shabbos, such as he places laces that are a bright unusual color for such shoes, it is allowed. Similarly, if he places the laces only on the front two holes [the holes closer to one’s ankle] it is allowed.[12]

If the shoelaces were already partially inserted before Shabbos: If the shoelaces were already inserted in some of the holes from before Shabbos, one may insert them in the remaining holes.

Army Shoes: Seemingly it is forbidden to insert a lace into army shoes, as a knot is commonly made at the end of the string by the first hole.

May one place new shoelaces into old shoes?

Some Poskim[13] rule one may not do so.[14] Other Poskim[15] rule one may do so, and so is implied from Admur.



[1] Admur 317:5; Michaber 317:2

[2] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid

[3] Admur 317:5; M”A 317:9; Tosafus Shabbos 48a; See Michaber and Rama 317:2; SSH”K 16:7 

[4] Admur ibid; M”A 317:7; M”B 317:16

[5] Admur ibid; Rama ibid

[6] Halacha 5

[7] Piskeiy Teshuvos 117

[8] Based on Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 146:3 which rules there since one will definitely remove the laces after Shabbos there is no prohibition of Tikkun Keli, as rules Admur above regarding the strap of pants. Now although the allowance in Ketzos Hashulchan is only in reference to new shoes, this likewise applies to small holes, as the entire prohibition of inserting into small holes is likewise due to Tikkun Keli as writes Admur above. This is unlike the ruling of other Poskim [See Beir Moshe 6:60] which understand the prohibition against inserting into small holes due to it being a Tircha. According to them there would be no allowance to enter the shoelaces in the above way into small holes.

[9] Beir Moshe 6:60

[10] As the concept of Tikkun Keli by shoes only applied in shoes of the old days in which case without the laces they were unusable. However, today that shoes are useable even without laces no concept of Tikkun Keli applies with their insertion. [ibid]

[11] As Admur [308:45] already brings and recognizes the difference between the old and new sandal which do not need laces to make them useable, and hence in the Laws of Muktzah he novelizes a change in a previously accepted Halacha, due to the change of shoe. However, in 317 where the prohibition of entering laces for the first time are mentioned he makes no mention of any change in Halacha due to the change of shoe style. This shows that the change of shoe style has no repercussion on the Tikkun Keli prohibition of entering new laces.

Perhaps the explanation to this is because nevertheless, even if a shoe is useable without laces the final touch for all normal shoes are to insert laces. Hence it is considered that one has done Tikkun Keli.

[12] Ketzos Hashulchan chapter 146:3

[13] Elya Raba 317:7; M”B 317:19; See also Kaf Hachaim 340:70 in name of Ritva

[14] The reason: As from the perspective of this new shoelace it’s as if you are now finishing its Gemar Melacha.

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 3

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