Aglets are the little tips at the end of shoelaces. They’re designed to prevent fraying and to make threading the laces through the eyelets on a pair of shoes easier. Fittingly, their name comes from the French word for needle. Most sources credit an English inventor named Harvey Kennedy with creating and popularizing the modern shoelace in the 1790s, an accomplishment which reportedly earned him large sums of money. He is generally also credited with creating the aglet, which was reportedly first made using wax. Later, plastic and/or metal were used instead. It’s not clear whether Kennedy was the true inventor of the aglet, since humans have used various versions of the shoelace for centuries. But regardless of how it came to be, it is now a vital part of shoes as well as items that have a drawstring, such as hoodies and track pants. Sometimes colored or contrasting aglets are even part of the design of a shoe or clothing item.