Round Table (India) Article

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Nov-2008: Round Table (India), an organization focused on education for underprivileged children, requested an article about lacing techniques for their “Table Talk” magazine.

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Article Transcript


Where would the world be without the humble shoelace? These simple bits of colored string have been holding shoes onto feet for thousands of years. Despite many advances in technology, shoelaces are so simple that they have had little need for change.

In recent years, shoelaces have become a real fashion accessory. Many people are no longer content to leave their shoes laced they way they came out of the box, especially if the laces are too long, too short, too slippery or just not interesting. Swapping shoelaces for a different color, shape or material, and lacing them with a different lacing method, is one of the simplest and cheapest ways that you can “personalise” your footwear.

You'll be surprised how many people notice when you lace your shoes differently, especially with some of the more decorative lacing methods!

Did you know that there are almost TWO TRILLION ways to run the shoelaces through an average shoe with six pairs of eyelets? Of course, many of these are hopelessly tangled messes, but many others are quite useful, either because they have a particular benefit or because they are more decorative. I've collected dozens of different lacing methods, and present a small selection of them here. I hope that you will find them interesting.

Over Under Lacing

Over Under Lacing diagram

This is my own preferred lacing method, which is a blend of functionality plus slightly different appearance. By alternating crossovers on top and underneath, the result is reduced friction, which allows faster and easier tightening and loosening.

Straight Bar Lacing

Straight Bar Lacing diagram

A very popular method, both because of the neat looking horizontal “bars” across the shoe and because there is less pressure across the sensitive top ridge of the foot. Note that this method only works properly for even numbers of eyelet pairs (eg. six pairs of eyelets).

Zipper Lacing

Zipper Lacing diagram

Though awkward to tighten, this lacing holds very firmly, making it great for lacing skates tightly. It also looks interesting, a bit like a giant zipper.

Army Lacing

Army Lacing diagram

Often used on heavy combat and hiking boots, this method has all of the crossovers on the inside. Because the lacing doesn't run over the edges of the boot, it allows the heavy sides of the boots to flex more easily.

Lattice Lacing

Lattice Lacing diagram

This very popular method forms a neat woven lattice that looks really decorative, at the expense of being harder to tighten and loosen. This is one lacing method that will get you noticed.

Checkerboard Lacing

Checkerboard Lacing diagram

This is probably the most popular decorative lacing method. Using two different colored laces, run one lace left and right and weave the other lace up and down, forming a two-colored checkerboard. Most people just tuck in the lace ends, turning their shoe into a decorative slip-on.


That's just a brief introduction into some of the many possibilities offered by the humble shoelace. I hope it will inspire you to get hold of some colorful shoelaces and re-lace your shoes to suit either your needs or your personality.

– Ian Fieggen
(a.k.a. “Professor Shoelace”)

Published Article

Although slated for the Nov-2008 issue of “Table Talk”, I was never sent a copy of the finished article or magazine, and have no details of when or where the article was published.

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This page last updated: 09-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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