Gap Lacing

Gap Lacing

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.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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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 are below the sensitive area (or ankle area).

• The ends are run straight up the sides to the next higher set of eyelets, creating the gap.

• Starting above the sensitive area (or ankle area), resume criss-crossing up the shoe until 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

15% longer ends (approx.)


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.

Shoelace Lengths for Gap Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 63 cm
25 inch
74 cm
29 inch
84 cm
33 inch
95 cm
37 inch
105 cm
41 inch
116 cm
46 inch
126 cm
50 inch
Lengths available: 27" 27" 36" 36" 40" 45" 54"

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.

Longer ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (+15% on average).

Visitor Feedback

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

If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.

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This page last updated: 05-Oct-2021. Copyright © 2012-2021 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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