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Shoe Lacing Methods
Shoe Lacing Methods

Mathematics tells us that there are more than 2 Trillion ways of feeding a lace through the six pairs of eyelets on an average shoe. This section presents a fairly extensive selection of 42 shoe lacing tutorials. They include traditional and alternative lacing methods that are either widely used, have a particular feature or benefit, or that I just like the look of.



42 Different Ways To Lace Shoes
Hover to cycle between diagram and photo. Click to cycle all icons.

These diagrams are all drawn as though looking from the front of the shoe, such that the lower part of the lacing (near the toes) is at the bottom of the diagram, and are color-coded to make it easier to follow where the lace runs.

Criss Cross Lacing Criss Cross Lacing

This is probably the most common method of lacing normal shoes & boots. The laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe.

FEATURES:
Traditional look
Simple to lace
Comfortable
Corrugates shoe
Over Under Lacing Over Under Lacing

This method reduces friction, making the lacing easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear. The laces alternate between crossing Over and Under.

FEATURES:
Ian's favourite!
Decorative look
Faster & easier
Less wear & tear
Gap Lacing Gap Lacing

This simple variation of Criss Cross Lacing skips a crossover to create a gap in the middle of the lacing, either to bypass a sensitive area on the instep or to increase ankle flexibility.

FEATURES:
Relieves pressure
Allows more flex
Messy look
15% longer ends
Straight European Lacing Straight European Lacing

This traditional method of Straight Lacing appears to be more common in Europe. The laces run straight across on the outside and diagonally on the inside.

FEATURES:
Suits dress shoes
Neat on top
Messy underneath
3% shorter ends
Straight Bar Lacing Straight Bar Lacing

Also referred to as "Lydiard Lacing" or "Fashion Lacing", this variation of Straight Lacing eliminates the underlying diagonals, which looks neater plus relieves pressure on the top ridge of the foot.

FEATURES:
Comfortable
Even = Neat look
Odd = Messy look
28% longer ends
Straight Easy Lacing Straight Easy Lacing

This is a simplified variation of Straight Bar Lacing where one end runs straight from bottom to top while the other end steps through the eyelets.

FEATURES:
Even = Neat look
Odd = Messy look
End lengths shift
28% longer ends
Hiking / Biking Lacing Hiking / Biking Lacing

An inside-out version of Straight Bar Lacing, which distributes pressure evenly plus keeps the knots & ends to the side, away from either snagging undergrowth or from bicycle chains & cranks.

FEATURES:
Evens out pressure
Reduces snagging
Messy look
28% longer ends
Sawtooth Lacing Sawtooth Lacing

This method has all of the underlying sections pulling at a steep angle, which shifts the alignment of the sides and may correct an otherwise ill-fitting shoe.

FEATURES:
Easier to tighten
Modifies fit
Mis-aligns sides
12% longer ends
Lightning Lacing Lightning Lacing

So named because the angled sections look a bit like a lightning bolt, plus it is lightning fast to lace. The laces run diagonally on the outside and vertically on the inside.

FEATURES:
Unusual look
Lightning fast
End lengths shift
19% longer ends
Shoe Shop Lacing Shoe Shop Lacing

Often seen in shoe shops because many shoes come pre-laced this way from the factory. One end runs from bottom to top while the other end zig-zags through the eyelets.

FEATURES:
Easy to lace
Mis-aligns sides
End lengths shift
5% shorter ends
Display Shoe Lacing Display Shoe Lacing

Shoe stores and photographers often use this inside-out version of Criss Cross Lacing on their display shoes in order to finish with the ends neatly hidden inside the shoe.

FEATURES:
Tidy look
Easier to loosen
Harder to tighten
Ladder Lacing Ladder Lacing

This distinctive lacing is worn on military boots by paratroopers and ceremonial guard units. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure "ladder".

FEATURES:
Distinctive look
Stays very tight
Harder to tighten
2% shorter ends
Spider Web Lacing Spider Web Lacing

Like an angled version of Ladder Lacing, this decorative method is also worn on military boots. The laces weave vertically and diagonally, forming an intricate "web".

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Firm & tight
Harder to tighten
11% shorter ends
Double Back Lacing Double Back Lacing

This method looks interesting plus holds very firmly, but is terribly awkward to tighten. The lacing first runs down the shoe, then doubles back up the shoe.

FEATURES:
Stays very tight
Terribly awkward
6% longer ends
Bow Tie Lacing Bow Tie Lacing

This method "lengthens" ends because it consumes the least amount of shoelace. The laces cross over on the outside and run vertically on the inside, forming a "bow-tie" outline.

FEATURES:
Minimal look
Comfort "zones"
Loose fit
33% longer ends
Army Lacing Army Lacing

This inside-out version of Bow Tie Lacing is used on combat boots by various armies. With the crossovers on the insides, the sides of the boots can flex more easily.

FEATURES:
Allows more flex
Loose fit
Harder to tighten
33% longer ends
Train Track Lacing Train Track Lacing

Like Army Lacing with the inside segments running straight across, the result looks like train tracks, and holds very tight because of the doubled laces through eyelets.

FEATURES:
Neat look
Holds very tight
Harder to tighten
2% shorter ends
Left Right Lacing Left Right Lacing

Having one end always emerging through eyelets while the other end always feeds in through eyelets creates a series of "V" symbols that point alternately left and right.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Standard function
Standard length
Double Helix Lacing Double Helix Lacing

Also referred to as "Spiralacing", this patented method has the laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. The resulting double helix reduces friction and allows faster, easier lacing.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Fast & easy
Less wear & tear
Double Cross Lacing Double Cross Lacing

This lacing is created by running three steps forward (on the inside), one step back (on the outside). The result is short, wide crosses overlapping tall, narrow crosses.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Harder to tighten
17% longer ends
Hash Lacing Hash Lacing

Like Double Cross Lacing, this method is also created by running three steps forward, one step back. The result resembles a diagonal series of hash "#" symbols.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Harder to tighten
39% longer ends
Lattice Lacing Lattice Lacing

This very popular method forms a decorative lattice in the middle of the lacing. The laces are crossed at a steep angle, allowing them to be woven through each other.

FEATURES:
Very popular!
Decorative look
Harder to tighten
24% longer ends
Zipper Lacing Zipper Lacing

This method "locks" the laces at each eyelet pair. Great for lacing skates tightly because the lower sections hold while tightening. It also looks interesting, a bit like a giant zipper.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Holds very firmly
Harder to tighten
3% shorter ends
Riding Boot Lacing Riding Boot Lacing

Also referred to as "Bal-Lacing", this method is for riding boots (motorbike or equestrian) whose sides are joined at the top and loosen near the ankle. The laces zig-zag from both ends and are tied in the middle.

FEATURES:
Neat look
Unusual layout
Special purpose
5% shorter ends
One Handed Lacing One Handed Lacing

As an alternative to the One Handed Shoelace Knot, this way of lacing eliminates the need to even tie a knot by leaving one end loose.

FEATURES:
Disabled use
Surprisingly easy
Loose fit
16% longer end
Segmented Lacing Segmented Lacing

Also referred to as "Zoned Lacing", this method divides the lacing into two or more segments, each of which can be laced up as tightly or loosely as necessary to achieve a comfortable yet secure fit for difficult shoes or feet.

FEATURES:
Customizable
Many uses
Messy look
52% longer ends
Knotted Segment Lacing Knotted Segment Lacing

A more attractive though less flexible variation of Segmented Lacing in which a knot makes the lower segment of shoelace permanently tighter or looser.

FEATURES:
Customizable
Many uses
Harder to get off
5% shorter ends
Hidden Knot Lacing Hidden Knot Lacing

By hiding the knot underneath, the result is an uninterrupted series of straight "bars" that looks particularly distinctive on dress shoes or sneakers alike.

FEATURES:
Distinctive look
Tricky to tie knot
Slight discomfort
28% longer ends
Loop Back Lacing Loop Back Lacing

Each side loops back on itself down the middle, rather like when two springs become intertwined. However, those loop-backs tend to shift off-centre.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Laces wear more
Centreline shifts
4% shorter ends
Knotted Lacing Knotted Lacing

Adding an overhand knot at each crossover increases friction and keeps the lacing much firmer. Ideal for tightening ice skates, rollerblades, etc.

FEATURES:
Keeps lacing tight
Assists tightening
Harder to loosen
3% shorter ends
Twistie Lacing Twistie Lacing

Like a combination of Loop Back and Knotted Lacing, the laces are twisted together with a vertical overhand knot at each crossover before continuing to the other side.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Keeps lacing tight
Harder to loosen
6% shorter ends
Roman Lacing Roman Lacing

Alternating X-I-X-I on top of the shoe, which looks a little like Roman numerals. It's most effective on dress shoes where the sides of the shoe meet in the middle.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Suits dress shoes
Harder to tighten
32% longer ends
Hexagram Lacing Hexagram Lacing

This purely decorative lacing forms a hexagram, or six pointed star. This geometric symbol has been used for centuries in various cultures and religions, most notably as the Jewish "Star of David".

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Loose fit
Harder to tighten
17% longer ends
Pentagram Lacing Pentagram Lacing

This purely decorative lacing forms a pentagram, or five pointed star. Besides the "magical" associations, solid five pointed stars are found on many flags, most notably the fifty stars on the U.S. flag.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Loose fit
Harder to tighten
1% longer ends
Asterisk Lacing Asterisk Lacing

Lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover plus a straight section results in a series of asterisk [*] symbols. Best on shoes with multiples of three eyelet pairs (3, 6, 9, etc).

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Harder to tighten
Harder to tie
26% longer ends
Starburst Lacing Starburst Lacing

With all vertical segments hidden on the inside and all diagonal segments on the outside crossing at the middle of the shoe, the result looks like a Starburst.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Top opens wide
Loose fit
18% longer ends
Supernova Lacing Supernova Lacing

Like two Starbursts on top of each other, one on the outside, the other on the inside. Needs the maximum length of shoelace and is useful for "shortening" long laces.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Top opens wide
Loose fit
31% shorter ends
Corset Lacing Corset Lacing

Traditional lacing for corsets, in which the laces can be gripped and pulled very tightly via the middle loops. Useful for lacing boots extra tight or just for a different look.

FEATURES:
Extra tightening
Unusual look
Messy knot
Ends too short
Zig Zag Lacing Zig Zag Lacing - NEW!

This twin-rail zig-zag is a bit like a winding road or marble race. The laces alternately run vertically on the inside or wrap around the vertical sections on the opposite side.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Laces wear more
Pattern can shift
10% shorter ends
Woven Lacing Woven Lacing - NEW!

An "extreme lacing" for those who want a decorative method that others would never attempt. The laces are woven up and down between adjacent rows, creating an intricate mesh.

FEATURES:
Decorative look
Very difficult
Must be kept tied
32% shorter ends
Footbag Lacing Footbag Lacing

Footbag players use this lacing to open up the front of their shoes, making it easier to catch or otherwise control the footbag (or "Hacky Sack").

FEATURES:
Suits Footbag
Less binding
Distorts shoes
27% longer ends
Lock Lacing Lock Lacing

Also referred to as "Lace Locks" or "Runner's Tie", this is not a lacing method as much as a technique for creating a super-tight finish. It's often recommended to help reduce heel slippage in running or climbing shoes.

FEATURES:
Tightens firmly
Reduces slippage
Harder to loosen
12% shorter ends


Related Links
Bi-Color Lacing Methods Bi-Color Lacing Methods

Various methods for lacing shoes using two or more colors.

Lug Lacing Methods Lug Lacing Methods

Various single-color lacing methods for shoes with lugs instead of eyelets.


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Click to buy shoelaces from Big Laces (UK)
Big Laces
U.K.-based store selling shoelaces mainly throughout the U.K. and Europe.
biglaces.com

Click to buy shoelaces from Shoe Laces Express (USA)
Shoe Laces Express
U.S.-based store selling shoelaces throughout the United States and shipping world-wide.
shoelacesexpress.com

Click to buy elastic shoelaces from Xtenex (USA)
Xtenex
U.S.-based store selling patented elastic shoelaces with collapsible knots.
xtenex.com

Click to buy shoelaces from Max Laces (AU)
Max Laces
Australian-based store selling shoelaces only throughout Australia.
maxlaces.com.au