End Shortening Lacing
A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with a convoluted path on the inside that invisibly consumes more shoelace, effectively “shortening” the ends.
Lacing Technique – Variation 1 – Spiral path – for even numbers of eyelet pairs
• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.
• The left (blue) end runs all the way up the inside and out through the top left eyelet. Adjust so that the end is a comfortable length for tying.
• The right (yellow) end runs straight up the inside and out through the second-from-top right eyelet, then continues straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelet.
• The left (yellow) end runs straight down the inside and out through the second-from-bottom left eyelet, then continues straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelet.
• Continue spiralling up, left, down and right, each time running straight across the next lower eyelets from the top and the next higher eyelets from the bottom, until the final straight section completes the centre of the spiral.
• The right (yellow) end runs straight up the inside and out through the top right eyelet.
• Variation 1 runs in a long spiral path.
• Variation 2 has several shorter overlapping loops, which distribute tension more evenly.
• Variation 3 includes a workaround for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs.
Even no. of eyelet pairs = neat
Odd no. of eyelet pairs = messy
Confusing to tighten
(compared to “Straight Bar Lacing”)
(compared to “Criss Cross Lacing”)
• Although outwardly symmetrical, this method is functionally asymmetrical. This is most noticeable when tightening or loosening. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) creates a functionally symmetrical pair.
Shortening / Lengthening ends
This method only shortens the loose ends compared to other similar looking straight lacing methods like Straight Bar Lacing. Compared to basic Criss Cross Lacing, this method will actually lengthen the loose ends (though not as much as “Straight Bar Lacing” lengthens the ends).
In other words, if we compare the three lacing methods:
- Criss Cross Lacing = shortest ends;
- End Shortening Lacing = medium ends;
- Straight Bar Lacing = longest ends.
See the Lengths section below.
Odd Eyelet Pairs Limitation
Just like Straight Bar Lacing, End Shortening Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs (eg. 8 pairs = 16 eyelets). This is because the shoelace must cross the shoe an even number of times so that the ends meet in the middle and can be tied together.
On shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs (eg. 7 pairs = 14 eyelets), a workaround is needed so that the ends still meet. The “across and back” workaround (shown above) is probably the best compromise in terms of retaining the overall look plus allowing a regular knot.
See below for several other odd workarounds.
Sports / Military Advice
Like other straight lacing methods, End Shortening 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!
Shoelace Lengths for End Shortening Lacing
Table 1 – Comparing similar looks
This table shows the shoelace lengths for End Shortening Lacing, plus shows how much shorter the ends would be compared to the same shoe laced with the similar looking Straight Bar Lacing:
|8 pairs||141 cm||56 in||–14.4 cm||–5.7 in|
|7 pairs||122 cm||48 in||–6.4 cm||–2.5 in|
|6 pairs||109 cm||43 in||–6.4 cm||–2.5 in|
|5 pairs||96 cm||38 in||–1.6 cm||–0.6 in|
|4 pairs||83 cm||33 in||–1.6 cm||–0.6 in|
|3 pairs||76 cm||30 in||–||–|
|2 pairs||63 cm||25 in||–||–|
Table 2 – Comparing against “Standard” length
This table again shows the shoelace lengths for End Shortening Lacing, except this time it shows how much longer (or sometimes shorter) the ends would be compared to the same shoe laced with basic Criss Cross Lacing:
|8 pairs||141 cm||56 in||–3.9 cm||–1.5 in|
|7 pairs||122 cm||48 in||+0.5 cm||+0.2 in|
|6 pairs||109 cm||43 in||+1.8 cm||+0.7 in|
|5 pairs||96 cm||38 in||+3.0 cm||+1.2 in|
|4 pairs||83 cm||33 in||+4.3 cm||+1.7 in|
|3 pairs||76 cm||30 in||+2.3 cm||+0.9 in|
|2 pairs||63 cm||25 in||+3.6 cm||+1.4 in|
More details about length comparisons.
As mentioned above, End Shortening Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs. Here's several common workarounds for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs, using sample diagrams with seven pairs of eyelets.
Ends Tucked In
This first diagram shows the simplest solution for being unable to tie naturally – don't tie the ends at all, instead tucking them into the shoe at the bottom-left and middle-right eyelets.
For a tighter fit, you could also permanently anchor the ends inside the eyelets, either with simple stopper knots or using “Lace Anchors”.
Across and Back
As shown in more detail in the main lacing diagram above, the second-from-top straight section runs straight across from right-to-left (on the outside), then left-to-right (on the inside), tucking under the vertical section on the right side. The inner straight section is fairly well hidden by the outer straight section, especially with flat shoelaces. Contributed by Jeremy J.
Twice Through One Eyelet
Lace the shoe normally, then at the top of the shoe, both ends emerge through the same top eyelet (in this case, the top-left). Feed one end across and out through the opposite eyelet (in this case, the top-right). When the ends are tied, there will be a double-pass across the top, but this will be fairly well hidden by the shoelace knot. Contributed by Dan S.
Use a single diagonal somewhere in the lacing. At the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. At the bottom, it can even be run around the inside of the tongue to hide the diagonal, though at the expense of some slight discomfort. Near the middle, a diagonal may be positioned to line up with and run through a tongue centering loop (if the shoe has one).
Instead of trying to hide a single diagonal, this alternative makes a feature out of a single crossover, similar to the look of Roman Lacing. This crossover can be placed at either the top or bottom of the lacing, but unlike the above “One Diagonal” variation, it cannot be placed in the middle of the lacing.
Like a squashed version of the above “One Crossover” variation, both ends run straight across one pair of eyelets and feed a second time through the opposite eyelets. Near the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. Near the bottom, any difficulty with tightening or loosening this section is not so noticeable as the shoe doesn't need to open wide at that point.
Combine with Lock Lacing
Lace normally up to the second pair of eyelets from the top, then finish with a High Lace Lock through the top two pairs of eyelets. Although this doesn't look as neat, it does pull the lacing extra tight.
See the Lock Lacing page for more information.
Skip One Eyelet Pair
All of the above odd workarounds are laced normally through an even number of eyelet pairs, then something is added that may be either visually or functionally awkward. An alternative is to not add anything – instead leaving either the top or the bottom pair of eyelets empty, or even to skip one pair of eyelets somewhere in the middle of the lacing.
Don't want the “straight-laced” look? Try another method!
Each of these uses the same concept of a long spiral path instead of the usual short, direct path. The longer verticals are hidden on the inside, so the lacing appears outwardly identical – yet the methods now invisibly consume excess length.
Almost any lacing method that has vertical sections running up the inside can be converted in this way into an end-shortening variation.
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