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. Sometimes referred to as "Ladder Lacing".

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets. On shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs, adjust so that the left (blue) end is slightly longer than the right (yellow) end.

• The left (blue) end crosses diagonally on the inside, then straight across on the outside.

• The right (yellow) end crosses diagonally on the inside at a steeper angle, then straight across on the outside.

• Alternate with left and right ends until lacing is completed.


Suits dress shoes

Neat on top

Messy underneath

3% shorter ends (approx.)


• Although visually messy, the underlying zig-zag makes this lacing very tight & secure. The mess is mainly noticeable on shoes and sneakers with a wide spacing (as seen in the first photo below).

• Straight European Lacing is particularly suited to dress shoes such as Oxfords / Balmorals, as it allows the uppers of the shoe to come completely together in the middle without bunching or corrugation. On these shoes, the underlying zig-zag will be completely hidden (as in the second photo below).

Sports / Military Advice

Like other straight lacing methods, Straight European Lacing has an additional benefit for sporting or military use: The upper horizontal sections of shoelace can be quickly cut through with a knife or scissors in order to more easily remove a boot from a broken, sprained or otherwise injured ankle or foot.

Note that most military forces have regulations for just about everything, so I'd recommend that military personnel check before they adopt this, or any other, possible non-regulation lacing method!

Straight European Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Straight European Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 70 cm
28 inch
81 cm
32 inch
92 cm
36 inch
103 cm
41 inch
114 cm
45 inch
125 cm
49 inch
136 cm
54 inch
Lengths available: 27" 36" 36" 40" 45" 45" 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 (−3% on average).

More details.

Straight European Lacing Feedback

"My father lost his right hand in an accident at 18-years of age. Having been a right-handed man, he needed a way to hold laces in place while tying his shoes. He tried many lacing methods before happening on what you call European. This method of lacing holds the shoe together without slipping loose so he could tie one-handed with his left hand. Before his death at age 89, he thought [sic] his method to many others handicapped by accident or injury, including many disabled soldiers."

- Charles & Jan D.

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

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