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For the Java-based mobile agent platform, see Aglets.
Three different types of aglets: double punched copper, plastic sheath, and inward fold brass

An aglet is a small sheath, often made of plastic or metal, to secure a garment, used on each end of a shoelace, cord, or a drawstring.[1] An aglet keeps the fibers of the lace or cord from unraveling; its firmness and narrow profile make it easier to hold and easier to feed through the eyelets, lugs, or other lacing guides.


The word aglet or aiglet comes from the Old French word, aguillette, which is the diminutive of aguille, which means "needle". The word for needle in Latin is acus, which is where the word aguille comes from.[2]


According to Huffington Post editor James Cave, “The history of the aglet’s evolution is a little knotty — many sources credit it as being popularized by an English inventor named Harvey Kennedy who is said to have earned $2.5 million off the modern shoelace in the 1790s". Many rich people during the Roman Era would have their aglets made out of precious metals like brass or silver. 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. [3]


There is a subtle distinction between aglets, which are generally functional, and aiguillettes, which are generally decorative. The closing usually appear at the end of decorative cords, such as bolo ties, and the similarly named aiguillettes on a military dress uniforms.

Shoe companies produce their own shoe strings which they will manufacture their own aglets. Many companies prefer to have metal aglets over plastic, due to the long lasting durability. Some may add logos or pictures to provide evidence that it is their shoelace. [4]

Since the Roman Era, aglets have evolved in many ways. They are not just found on shoe laces and military uniforms. They can be seen on purses, backpacks, jackets, baseball gloves, and even curtains.

Aglets today are most often made of plastic; in earlier times they have also have been made of metal, glass, and stone due to lack of plastic and machinery.[4] Many were highly ornamental and made of precious metals such as silver. Before the invention of buttons, they were used on the ends of ribbons to fasten clothing together. Sometimes they were formed into small figures. Shakespeare calls this type of figure an "aglet baby" in The Taming of the Shrew.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aglet.", n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  2. ^ Picken, Mary Brooks: The Fashion Dictionary, Funk and Wagnalls, 1957. (1973 edition ISBN 0-308-10052-2)
  3. ^ Cave, James. "So THAT's What The Thing On The End Of Your Shoelace Is Called." The Huffington Post., 22 June 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
  4. ^ a b "What Is an Aglet?" Wonderopolis. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.