Easy, Illustrated Instructions on How to Remove Shoes from Telephone Lines


It is fun to tie together the laces of old shoes and toss them up onto telephone wires. There is a bit of skill involved to get them up there, but once they stay, chances are they will stay for years.

A few months ago, two pairs of hanging shoes materialized on a wire near our house. They looked trashy, so I resolved to take them down.


Warning: Screwing around with telephone lines might be illegal. Overhead wires might be power lines. Poking high voltage power lines could be dangerous or fatal.

My method of removing the shoes was to use a long pole. Using a metal pole for this procedure is not recommended because you could create a path for the power in the lines to get to the ground... through your body. You could be electrocuted.

This article assumes that you do not have access to a cherry picker or scissor lift equipment.

Removing the shoes requires some kind of instrument at the end of a long pole. Illustrated here are three ideas:

  1. Using the blunt pole end to poke one shoe over the line, causing the pair to fall.
  2. Attaching a knife or blade to slice through the shoelace, and
  3. Attaching a wire coat hanger to lift the shoestring up and off of the wire.

I recommend the third method, lifting the lace. I do not recommend using the knife.


A long pole is easily obtained by taping two 10-foot PVC pipes together in the manner shown. These pipes are about $1.50 each.


At the end of the pole, fashion a life-like human hand out of flexible wire and an old glove.

Just kidding.


Attach an old coat hanger, crossbar up. I recommend using a plastic or wooden hanger, because they won't conduct electricity.

At the end of a 18 foot long, flexible plastic pole, the instrument will be difficult to manipulate. This large T-bar will give you a shot at catching the shoelaces quickly.


The second dangerous element to removing shoes is that you will likely be standing in the street, ignoring traffic, staring up into the sky.

Protect yourself against traffic death by having someone help you by keeping a lookout for oncoming cars. Your body and long pole should be obvious to drivers, but don't count on it.

Don't get into a position where your pole might fall in front of a car or onto a car.

Traffic is often lightest at 7am on Sunday morning.



Direct the coathanger between the shoes to where the shoelaces rest on the telephone line. The PVC pole is flexible, so it is easier to work with once it is in contact with the telephone line. Once the coathanger is under the lace, lift it up until one shoe clears the top of the wire.

Even if the laces are twisted, this method should coax them to unwrap and enable you to lift the shoes off of the wire.


Getting the shoes down takes approximately the same amount of skill and effort that throwing them up there required, and it is similarly rewarding.

Bonus if the shoes are your size.


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September 15th, 2011
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