Lock Lacing

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. Also referred to as "Lace Locks", "Heel Locks" or "Runner's Tie".

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets, variation 1

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Lacing Technique 1 - High Lock

• Lace the shoe up to the second-from-top eyelets using any lacing method (eg. Criss Cross Lacing is shown here).

• The ends run straight up on the outside and in through the top eyelets.

• The ends are crossed, then each end is fed under the vertical section on the opposite side.

• The ends are returned to the middle for tying, pulling the vertical sections inwards.


Tightens firmly

Reduces slippage

Harder to loosen

12% shorter ends (approx.)


• Lock Lacing is also used by rock climbers to prevent any movement or twisting of the shoe under the stresses of climbing as well as by speed skaters to give maximum ankle support.

• Although Criss Cross Lacing is shown in these examples, and is probably the most common method used, the shoe can be laced with almost any lacing method. In fact, as pointed out by Kyle B., Ladder Lacing naturally ends with a High Lace Lock.

• Lock Lacing also creates more friction, which should help prevent the knot coming loose, especially with slippery synthetic shoelaces or if you are unknowingly using a Granny Knot. Replacing slippery shoelaces or changing your Shoelace Knot are better alternatives.

Lock Lacing Theory

Many shoe stores recommend Lock Lacing techniques to help prevent heel slippage, particularly when running downhill, and many people swear by them. In fact, many sports shoes have twin eyelets at the top to suit Lock Lacing. So what's behind the "magic"?

The answer is simple leverage. While pulling the lacing tight, the upper straight sections get pulled into a triangular shape, acting like "pulleys" to provide even greater tightening.

When shopping for shoes, don't be too impressed by a savvy shoe salesperson using Lock Lacing to get a slightly better fit from an unsuitable pair of shoes! If you've found some shoes that meet all of your other needs with the exception of a bit of heel slippage, then Lock Lacing could be the ideal solution. However, if you suffer from a fair bit of heel slippage, Lock Lacing will only help so much, and it could be wiser to seek some better fitting shoes.

Shoelace Lengths for Lock Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 73 cm
29 inch
84 cm
33 inch
94 cm
37 inch
105 cm
41 inch
115 cm
45 inch
126 cm
50 inch
136 cm
55 inch
Lengths available: 27" 36" 36" 40" 45" 54" 54"

NOTE: These are approximate shoelace lengths for using this lacing on an average sized sneaker. For more accurate lengths, use the Shoelace Length Calculator.

Comparative Length

Longer shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

Shorter ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (−12% on average).

More details.

Lock Lacing Feedback

"I have recently retrained as an EMT, which involves wearing boots and standing for long periods of time. Initially, I found my uniform boots were very uncomfortable.

I was then directed to your site by an online EMT resource. As a result of this I tried a different method of lacing, the gap lacing method, with the lace lock to finish. I cant believe they're the same boots! This has made them so much more comfortable and my 12 hour shifts don't cause any foot pain."

- Lisa D., London, U.K.

If you'd like to send feedback about Lock Lacing, please Contact Ian.

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