Add color to your shoelaces and start collecting compliments.

These shoes got beat up by the recent snowfall. They'll dry. And the shoelaces will remain contrastic.

A few months ago we purchased a new pair of Chicago-grade winter boots. We needed boots that could be worn to work and at work; boots that went with everything from herringbone chinos to salvage jeans. But they also couldn’t wilt under adverse conditions, nor let water and cold penetrate it. We’ll be damned if we ever resort to using a space heater under our desks to keep our feet toasty.

Also, the shoe had to have a Gor-Tex membrane — because Gor-Tex is as reliable as a Derrick Rose on a fastbreak — and it had to be available at Nordstrom’s, because we had gift card for the store.

The Ecco Turn Gtx with original brown laces: Too much plain.

What we settled on was not sexy. It’s the Ecco Turn Gtx Boot. It’s not the type of shoe that gets featured in Esquire’s shoe porn section, and shit, it’s not even the best looking dress boot made out of Gor Tex. But they are highly functional, winterized-for-Chicago boots that don’t look they were made for hiking in Patagonia. Good enough for us. Almost.

The boots came with brown laces, the same color as the shoe. It made the whole ensemble as boring as a Subway sandwich. So we added some red laces, and suddenly, it was like a brand new shoe. Contrast is good. So good, we had several people tell us they loved our shoes. Liars. They didn’t love our shoes, they just loved our doggie style, they loved our $4 shoelaces from J Crew. One person asked where we got our shoes, and before we could answer they said, “Don’t tell me, they are from New York and you can’t buy them here.” We said they were from Nordstrom’s, and so common they could buy them on Amazon.

Now, we definitely aren’t the first to write about colorful laces — the WSJ did it around this time last year, and GQ did a blog entry, and many others probably had something to say as well — but we still thought it was worth mentioning right now, during the Chicago winter, when boots get plain and outfits get drab.

We don’t advise changing your shoelaces every time you go out, and we don’t advise using all shoes as a colorful-shoelace-delivery mechanism. Plenty of kicks are good-looking enough to stand out on their own (like wingtips, or suede bucks). And other shoes just don’t have laces (and really awesome ones just have Velcro).

But for those highly-functional-but-not-super-stylish winter shoes, game on. And if you get addicted to colorful shoelaces, yes, you can throw them on something a bit more dressy (see below). Just remember, everything in moderation. No need to use multi-colored laces on one shoe, or different color laces on each shoe. When you’re feet look like that were styled by the Oregon Ducks football team, it’s time to get back to basics.

Places to buy colorful shoelaces: J. Crew, Shoelace Express, Stolen Riches.

Blue Shoe Laces Fluevog

Try colorful shoelaces on dress shoes too. Black and blue isn't just for pro football divisions.