Gap Lacing

Lacing (pic)

Skip a crossover to create a gap in the middle of the lacing, either to bypass a sensitive area of the foot or to increase ankle flexibility.

Eight pairs of eyelets, variation 1

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Lacing Technique – Variation 1 – Single Verticals

• Begin straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the bottom eyelets.

• At each eyelet pair, cross the ends, feeding under the sides and out through the next higher set of eyelets. Repeat until the ends emerge below the sensitive area (or ankle area).

• The ends run straight up on the outside and into the next higher set of eyelets, creating a gap.

• Now that the gap has bypassed the sensitive area (or ankle area), resume crossing the ends and feeding under the sides and out through the next higher set of eyelets until the lacing is completed.


• Variation 1 skips one crossover with the verticals on the outside.

• Variation 2 skips one crossover with the verticals on the inside, resulting in a tighter fit.

• Variation 3 skips two crossovers, either for a larger sensitive area or for a looser fit.


Relieves pressure

Allows more flex

Messy look

“Lengthens” ends


The gap provides pressure relief in a couple of ways:

  • There are no shoelaces running across the gap and pressing into the foot.
  • There are no crossovers holding down the sides of the shoe on either side of the gap, allowing it to spread wider at that point, particularly with Variation 1.

Besides providing pressure relief, a gap can instead be used to increase ankle flexibility, particularly on tall, heavy leather boots (as seen in the gallery below).

Note also that the gap does not have to be in the middle of the lacing (as shown in the diagrams and photos on this page) but can instead be positioned wherever needed.

Shoe lacing photo

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Shoelace Lengths for Gap Lacing

Variation 1, 2 – Single Gap
Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs126 cm50 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
7 pairs116 cm46 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
6 pairs105 cm41 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
5 pairs95 cm37 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
4 pairs84 cm33 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
3 pairs74 cm29 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
2 pairs63 cm25 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in
Variation 3 – Double Gap
Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs119 cm47 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
7 pairs108 cm43 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
6 pairs98 cm39 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
5 pairs87 cm34 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
4 pairs77 cm30 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
3 pairs66 cm26 in+7.3 cm+2.9 in
2 pairs = (N/A)

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

• Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

• If the original shoelaces are re-used, this method effectively lengthens the ends.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I recently acquired a pair of Corcoran 1500s, timeless to style, but time-consuming to lace with 12 eyelet pairs! Using an under-over from the bottom to the 5th eyelet for keeping my foot secure, adding the gap/army lacing “jump” to skip over the 6th eyelet that cut into my leg when moving and put undue tension on the leather, finishing with 4 rows of bar lacing to provide even and comfortable support, then using the 11th and 12th eyelets to form a lace lock, I made my already perfect jump boots even better!

- James D., Aug-2022

Your shoelace site was a big help in making my boots fit more comfortably. I used a combination of criss-cross and gap lacing through the lugs to relieve the pressure they were causing at the top of my foot, and I felt a lot better walking through all of winter's favorite forms of precipitation today.

- Alexander K., Nebraska, USA, Jan-2020

I finally understood to modify my winter shoe lacing to have a gap. I used to wonder, why the laces are slightly too short.

- Arto K., Finland, Nov-2019

I have recently retrained as an EMT, which involves wearing boots and standing for long periods of time. Initially, I found my uniform boots were very uncomfortable.

I was then directed to your site by an online EMT resource. As a result of this I tried a different method of lacing, the gap lacing method, with the lace lock to finish. I cant believe they're the same boots! This has made them so much more comfortable and my 12 hour shifts don't cause any foot pain.

- Lisa D., London, UK, Apr-2016

I work as a security guard at pubs and nightclubs, which means a lot of just standing still, and the occasional wrestling match. I had some problems with pain in my ankles from just standing still and during the wrestling my laces always got untied.

So I tested your “Gap lacing” and your “Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot”.

Now, as you described, i got alot more ankle flexibility and my pain is gone! And my laces never gets untied!

- Daniel J., Sweden, Apr-2014

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2012-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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