Why Do Converse Laces Turn Black? (SOLVED)

After wearing your new Converse Chuck Taylor shoes for a week or two, you start to notice their white laces turn grey or black, even though they are basic Chucks with silver eyelets.

So, why do Converse laces turn black?

Converse laces turn black due to the grease on the metal eyelets. If you have just bought new Converse Chuck Taylor shoes, the best way to prevent the laces from turning black is to remove the laces and clean the metal eyelets of grease before wearing them.

Luckily, a stain-fighting solution like OxiClean can take most of the grease off of the metal eyelets and clean stains from the laces to make them look new again.

You can also apply clear nail polish on the eyelets to protect the laces from future stains. In this post, let’s explore why Converse laces turn black, including easy tricks to prevent it.

Why Do Converse Laces Turn Black?

For some hard-to-explain reasons, Converse Chuck Taylor laces tend to develop black spots or stains at the points where they pass through the eyelets.

This is not a problem if the laces stay perfectly in place, but if the laces shift just a bit, especially when you tighten them, the black marks are suddenly visible on the white laces.

Several examples of Converse laces turning black:

It’s definitely confusing because Chuck Taylor have silver metal eyelets, not black. The Converse sneakers still look good except for the laces. 

It’s easy to conclude that the black stains originate from the black dye on the fabric of the shoes, but black stains also happen on white Converse sneakers. 

So, why do Converse laces turn black?

Black stains on Converse shoelaces are caused by grease from the metal eyelets. The grease is there to prevent rusting and abrasion of the metal eyelets.

An eyelet is a small piece of metal, shaped like a ring, that is used to reinforce a hole in a piece of fabric. It is usually made of metal or brass.

Some people also refer to an eyelet as a grommet. While grommets are similar to eyelets, they are typically used for more heavy-duty material than eyelets.

Unfortunately, the problem with metal eyelets is their tendency to rust.

This surface rust usually does not affect the strength of the eyelets, but it is definitely unattractive and can stain the material of the sneakers.

So, in order to prevent this, Converse added grease to the metal eyelets to prevent rust, which in turn, may cause black stains on the white laces of the shoes.

What’s interesting is that these black stains only happen to Converse shoes, but not to other similar-looking sneakers from other brands.

Many footwear enthusiasts have also agreed with this fact, so we can only wonder why this “black lace” phenomenon only happens to Converse Chuck Taylors.

Luckily, we’ve done our research and figured out some easy hacks to share with you on how to prevent black stains from happening to Converse white laces.

How to Prevent Converse Shoe Laces From Turning Black

Sure, you can rock the black stains and leave them be. After all, Converse shoes look good when they are faded and worn out. Also, you can always buy new laces.

But, if you want to prevent Converse shoelaces from turning black, you can remove the grease from the metal eyelets before wearing the shoes, or apply clear nail polish.

Here are the two methods explained in greater detail:

1. Remove the grease from the metal eyelets

The best thing you can do after buying a new pair of Converse sneakers is to first remove the laces and thoroughly clean the metal eyelets of grease.

If you don’t, not only can the grease stain the laces, but it can also stain the tongues.

Not cleaning the eyelet grease can stain the tongue and the inside of the shoes.

To do this, you can use an old towel that you will not use anymore. Save that towel to clean all of your sneakers. Once the laces are removed, wipe each eyelet thoroughly.

If you want to get an even better clean, we recommend using a stain-fighting solution, like OxiClean, which is designed to remove grease stains effortlessly.

For easier application, use the spray bottle version and lightly spritz the solution on the metal eyelets. Then, take the old towel and wipe it clean.

OxiClean can remove grease stains miraculously (buy on Amazon):

If you are trying to remove existing grease stains, spray the OxiClean on the laces and let them sit for 5 minutes. Then, wash the laces normally with soap and water.

Once the laces are clean and dry, you can wear your new pair of Chucks without the worry of future black stains on the laces. Just don’t forget to break them in so they are comfortable.

2. Apply clear nail polish on the metal eyelets

If you want to add another level of protection for the laces, you can apply clear nail polish on the metal eyelets. However, we recommend doing this after you have cleaned the grease.

A bottle of clear nail polish made of strong formulae, like the Sally Hansen Mega Strength, should be able to create a long-lasting invisible layer over the metal eyelets.

This, in turn, will prevent any residual stain from the metal eyelets from leeching over to the laces.

To apply clear nail polish on the metal eyelets, simply remove the laces from the shoes and carefully brush the metal eyelets one at a time.

According to Sally Hansen, their Mega Strength nail polish should dry in under 3 minutes.

You can apply a second layer, but that’s too much. Once you have applied clear nail polish to the metal eyelets, you should not worry about future black stains on the laces anymore.


And there you have it, the answer to the question: why do Converse laces turn black?

By understanding the reason why and learning how to prevent them from happening, you can protect your white laces and wear your Converse without any worry.

All you have to do now is to protect your feet from Converse blisters, not black stains!

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