Double Helix Lacing

Lacing (pic)

Laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. This double helix reduces friction for faster, easier tightening and loosening. (From: Monte Fisher)

Eight pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Begin straight across the bottom (grey section). Note the unusual path: Feed the left end OUT through the bottom-left eyelet. Feed the right end IN through the bottom-right eyelet.

• At each eyelet pair, the right end runs diagonally up on the inside and out through the next higher eyelet on the left, while the left end runs diagonally up on the outside and in through the next higher eyelet on the right. Repeat until lacing is completed.


Decorative look

Fast & easy

Less wear & tear


• This method is non-symmetrical. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) results in a symmetrical looking pair.

• Also referred to as “Spiralacing”.

Double Helix Lacing Theory

Double Helix Lacing being tightened

This method was invented and patented by Monte Fisher for faster and easier lacing of shoes and boots. The idea is that there is less friction between the laces and the edges of the shoe flaps, plus negligible contact between overlapping laces, reducing friction even further.

In addition, as illustrated in Monte's patent, groups of two adjacent laces can be pulled simultaneously (see animation).

All these factors combine to make tightening and loosening easier – especially on tall boots with many eyelets.

Sports / Military Advice

Like various straight lacing methods, Double Helix Lacing has an additional benefit for sporting or military use: The upper diagonal 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!

Double Helix Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Double Helix Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
8 pairs133 cm53 in
7 pairs123 cm48 in
6 pairs112 cm44 in
5 pairs102 cm40 in
4 pairs91 cm36 in
3 pairs81 cm32 in
2 pairs70 cm28 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

Same length shoelaces as those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I like to use the Double Helix lacing with bi-colour laces for a barber pole spiral effect. I flip the pattern for the opposite shoe.

– John R., New Brunswick, Canada, Jun-2024

...I think I came up with one not on your list. It should have lower friction since each crossing has one lace outside and one lace inside so no direct rubbing.

– Joe D., Washington, USA, Nov-2023

I want to thank you for your site, it is very entertaining and has helped me choose a lacing method for every pair of shoes for years now. Through your site I have discovered Double Helix lacing, which I now use for my everyday shoes.

– Dylan H., Texas USA, Mar-2021

As a medical student, it makes very much sense: it is like suturing a wound by using one thread from both ends (with two needles). On the right the needle goes into the skin, and on the left side it always peaks out.

Then just change hands and do the mirror image for the wound on the right side (right shoe) of the patient.

– Arto K., Jun-2020

One tip/observation that may be of interest: I tried the double helix method yesterday and found that it created more room over the instep. I was wearing a pair of balmorals the felt tight around the tongue and, bingo, must looser. You may want to add that as a benefit of the method for those with a high instep.

– Bob S., Dec-2014

I've been using double helix lacing on a pair of 8-eyelet-pair boots daily for a year or so now, and one thing I've noticed is that the laces keep getting twisted, to the point where they even get stuck tightening them. About once a week I find I have to untwist the laces by rotating them to keep them tightening smoothly. I've tried to pay attention, but there doesn't seem to be anything I'm doing to cause this. Have you heard of this problem before? It perhaps seems worth mentioning as a con for this lacing method.

– Dylan S., Jul-2011

In my lifetime, I've laced my shoes several different ways, but I'd always assumed one's preference was based on aesthetics and shoelace length. Now I know that the lacing method also affects the life span of my shoes, my laces, and probably my feet! From now on, I'm only going with Over Under and Double Helix.

– Lynette N., Massachusetts USA, Jan-2011

I was also very surprised to see that the “double helix” pattern is patented! It's a common pattern, and I was interested (fascinated?) to see the patent information; thanks for linking to his site, it was a good read.

– John B., California USA, Oct-2009

I chose the Double Helix Lacing method for lacing all my shoes (I used to use the “Shoe Shop” method because it was easy and looked good, I find Double Helix more stylish, easier to tighten & loosen and far more comfortable on the foot).

– Mark F., Israel, Aug-2007

If you'd like more info on how I came up with spiralacing, I'd of course be happy to provide (it involves caving...). I'm curious if there are other methods that focus on utility, overcoming problems with the usual methods – I figured out my method because I was annoyed with the difficulty of tightening and loosening laces on army boots that were wet and muddy (from ... caving).

– Monte Fisher, USA, Mar-2007

I've switched to double helix lacing, which lets me have a nice symmetry and I don't have to worry about criss-crossing, and using your “Ian's knot.” It's great not only because of how fast it is, but it lets me not worry about checking to ensure that the loops are equal.

– Denise J., Dec-2006

I also particularly like the double-helix lacing method. I'll use left and right helixes on my left and right feet. A purist would also use different-handed knots on the two shoes, but I'm not sure my motor memory would be able to handle that in the early morning.

– Richard J., Clifornia USA, Oct-2004

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This page last updated: 25-Jun-2024. Copyright © 2003-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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