Commando Lacing

Lacing (pic)

Used by various military to lace tall combat boots. One end is anchored at the bottom and the other end is used for tying off at the top.

Eight pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Take a shoelace that's shorter than usual and begin by tying a stopper-knot in one end.

• Feed the un-knotted end of the lace from inside the bottom left eyelet and pull it through until stopped with the knot snug against the eyelet.

• Run the loose end straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelet.

• Repeatedly run the loose end straight up on the inside and straight across on the outside, similar to Straight Easy Lacing.

• After the final straight section across the top of the shoe, the loose end feeds under the side and out through the final top eyelet, where it is tied off as detailed below.


Simplified tightening

Unfamiliar knotting

“Lengthens” one end


• Also known as “Nachlawi Lacing” or “King's Tie (or Lace)”, this method is – or was – used by various military, including the Israeli, British, Australian and South African armies.

• This method is asymmetrical. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) creates a functionally symmetrical pair – plus positions the knots conveniently for each hand.

Tying Off

With one end permanently anchored at the bottom, only one end remains at the top with which to tie off or otherwise secure the lacing. Various tying techniques are in use by the different military forces, including:

  • Wrap end several times around the calf, then tuck in the loose end;
  • Wrap end several times around the calf, then weave the loose end through those wraps;
  • Wrap end around the calf, then feed the loose end back in for the second time through one of the top eyelets;
  • A long loose end is commonly tied with a series of slip-knots to form a “Chain Sinnet” (a long, thick braid), which is then tucked into the top of the boot or tucked under a section of the lacing, and which can be untied with one long pull of the loose end;
  • A medium length loose end can be tied with a One Handed Shoelace Knot;
  • A short loose end can be tied off with a single slip knot against the top eyelet.

Several of these tying techniques can be seen in the photo gallery below.

Sports / Military Advice

Like other straight lacing methods, Commando 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!

Shoe lacing photo

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Shoelace Lengths for Commando Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
one end by
8 pairs84 cm33 in+49.8 cm+19.6 in
7 pairs77 cm30 in+45.9 cm+18.1 in
6 pairs71 cm28 in+42.0 cm+16.5 in
5 pairs64 cm25 in+38.1 cm+15.0 in
4 pairs57 cm23 in+34.2 cm+13.5 in
3 pairs51 cm20 in+30.3 cm+11.9 in
2 pairs44 cm17 in+26.4 cm+10.4 in

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

MUCH shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

• If the original shoelaces are re-used, this method effectively lengthens one end substantially.

The significant length difference is partly due to the simpified “snaked” lacing and partly due to each end being tied off separately, thus all of the length that would otherwise have been used to tie a bow has been shifted to the one loose end.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I've tried the commando and Ukrainian lacing methods, but those made tying the shoe cumbersome.

– Adrian D., Romania, Apr-2022

When I was in the OTC (UK Army's Officer Training Corps) at university back in the late 70's, one of the tying methods was using the old fashioned single leather bootlace. This was in conjunction with a puttee style gaiter, which helped restrain the tied end.

(...description of lacing, then...)

The trick was then to loop the end of the lace with a single wrap around the ankle and tie a slip knot on its return. I had notched the top edge of the boot so that the loop stayed over the boot. I certainly found the lacing method effective as it was easy to tie and safe. It would still work without the puttee.

– Philip O., Glasgow, UK, Jul-2012

Australian Vietnam Infantry Boot Lacing (Never Loosens)

(...diagram of lacing, then...)

Wrap lace around boot top toward outside of leg. leave sufficient end at Aglet to twist through wraps 2 or 3 times. This never comes loose “ever”

– Steven B, Apr-2012

... used on the first generation of high leg combat boots 9 eyelet issued to us in the early 1980's when swapping from 6 hole ankle boots and putteees.

(...description of lacing, then...)

... you are left with one end at top, wrap around boot then use last hole to put lace through and daisy chain to secure, easy to undo when cold wet and covered in mud, very quick to do up in a hurry, you just pull the horizontal in sequence quickly,

So you snake up the boot vertical on inside horizontal on outside, keeps boot sturdy for rough ground but gives enough to flex avoiding pressure points.

– Mark B., formerly of The Royal Anglian Regiment (British Army), UK, Mar-2012

Israeli Defense Force’s paratrooper boot-lacing technique:

(...description of lacing, then...)

At the top, run the cord through both eyelets twice, and stuff excess cord into the boot top. The lace will be secure and will not come undone during strenuous movement.

– Norvin A., USA, Aug-2008

The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) prefer to use a somewhat different method of lacing. I’m not sure that it can be called “proper” lacing, since only one end of the lace is strung through the holes. Nevertheless, it’s a durable lace, and the preferred tying method is very easy to loosen, while being durable.

(...description of lacing + securing with a “Chain Sinnet”.)

– Alex, Oct-2007

I have a comment about the Straight Lacing method, as a variant of it is also the standard military method in the Israely Defense forces (not just in Canada it turns out). For the same reasons you mention in your comments, being easy to cut fast and etc ... its used everywhere where army boots are used, both combat and non-combat.

(...description of lacing + securing with a “Chain Sinnet”, then...)

Since usually basic training is a time when seconds matter, both creating and undoing the braid is very quick.

1. veteran soldiers usually have the braid done very quickly, with one hand pulling on the edge of the lace and the other forming the loops.

2. the “braid” opens easily, or to be more precise, just pulling on its edge will untie it all the way to the boot and untie the one-handed knot (if it was tied properly).

– Evgeny Z., Israel, Jun-2007

I thought you'd like this, this tying is called “Nachlawi”, which is very common in the Israeli Defense Forces. The name originates from the Brigade called “Nachal”, who are elite infantry troops and are probably the pioneers of this method.

(...description of lacing, then the following description of securing with a “Chain Sinnet”...)

You take the loose end, fold it so that it makes (sort of) a cycle, and pass it through the first hole. When you pull up and enlarge the first cycle, this will tighten up the hole, and eventually close it over the second cycle. Now, again, you have a loose end and a cycle, so repeat, until you “run out” of loose ends. That's ought to be 6-7 repetitions.

– Israel S., Israel, Jun-2007

oddly you didn't include british paratrooper lacing.

for tall military boots.

[tie] a knot at one end of the lace and feed in a spiral from the bottom holes around and around [until] you get to the top.

then pass the lace around the calf, through the last hole and tie it off on itself.

As a life long Doc Marten's wearer I heartily recommend it.

– Pol S., UK, Jun-2007

One method of lacing that you didn't mention, I think, is that used by the British Army - I quote,

The King's Tie or Lace

(...description of lacing, then...)

Tighten and wrap the loose end around the top of the boot, tucking the loose end under itself to secure.

When I was issued with my old ankle, or DMS boots, the above was the method taught.There were a number of benefits-

1. If the boot had to be removed quickly, a simple knife cut would cut the lace so it could be removed.

2. The lacing pattern was unique to the British & Commonwealth Armies. Therefore, it was possible to identify the nationality of the wearer. The story does that in Italy and elsewhere in World War 2, the Gurkha soldiers of the Indian army, renowned for their night patrolling, would crawl up to sentries and if their boots weren't laced up the British way, dispose of them!

– Alun T., Staffordshire, UK, Jan-2006

Israeli troops (and I believe troops in other countries too) usually use a *single lace* in a way similar to the Straight [Easy] Lacing pattern you listed (only without the blue lace looping around in the back). The extraneous length of the lace is then rolled up, knotted in a very simple fashion and stuffed inside the boots.

– Shachar T, Israel, Feb-2005

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2017-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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