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.
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.
Allows more flex
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.
Gap Lacing Video
Shoelace Lengths for Gap Lacing
|8 pairs||126 cm||50 inch|
|7 pairs||116 cm||46 inch|
|6 pairs||105 cm||41 inch|
|5 pairs||95 cm||37 inch|
|4 pairs||84 cm||33 inch|
|3 pairs||74 cm||29 inch|
|2 pairs||63 cm||25 inch|
NOTE: These are approximate shoelace lengths for using this lacing on an average sized sneaker. For more accurate lengths, use the Shoelace Length Calculator.
Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.
Longer ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (+15% on average).
Created the PERFECT jump boot combination!
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!
-Made it easy to tighten around the foot by simply pulling the gap loops, easy to loosen by pulling apart
-Removed discomfort around the ankle
-Helped keep the laces at desired tightness with friction created by the bar pattern
-Made the leg of the boot feel more like a sock without typical cross-lacing pressure points
Plus, it looks really unique in a way that is still somewhat clean!
Thank you for the variety of methods and inspiration!
- 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
If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.
Rate This Lacing Method
Please only vote once – multiple votes are removed daily