Gippo Lacing

Lacing (pic)

A blend of Quick Tight Lacing and Corset Lacing, combining split sections plus closed loops at top for quick, firm tightening of tall boots. (From: Rene de Wet)

Eight pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the pair of eyelets just below the middle.

• The left (blue) end runs diagonally up on the inside and out through the next higher right eyelet, then continues straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent left eyelet.

• Continue zig-zagging upwards, running diagonally on the inside and straight across on the outside, up to the third pair of eyelets from the top of the shoe.

• The end continues diagonally up on the inside (at a steeper angle) and out through the top right eyelet.

• The end continues straight down on the outside and in through the next lower eyelet, leaving a long loop of slack shoelace. This is one of the loops that will be used to pull the lacing tight and tie the knot, so leave about 250mm (10").

• The end finally runs diagonally down on the inside and out through the bottom left eyelet.

• The right (yellow) end runs diagonally up on the inside and out through the top left eyelet.

• The end continues straight down on the outside and in through the next lower eyelet, again leaving a long loop of slack shoelace.

• The end continues diagonally down on the inside and out through the first vacant right eyelet below the middle of the shoe.

• The end then zig-zags downwards, running straight across on the outside and diagonally on the inside, until it emerges through the bottom right eyelet.

• Tie the ends together using a Reef Knot or other permanent knot.


Quick tightening


Messy knot

“Shortens” ends


• The lacing forms one long, continuous circuit of shoelace with two hanging loops. The extra grip of the fingers of each hand inside those closed loops allows very firm tightening.

• When tying the laces, each loop is held closed as though it is a double-thickness end of a single shoelace. The completed bow will have two single-loops and two double-loops. The single-loops perform the same function as the loose ends of a regular shoelace knot, and it is those single-loops that are pulled to untie the knot.

• An alternative to a bow knot is to tie the loops with a simple Reef Knot, then tuck in the trailing loops.

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

• The joining knot is normally tied at the bottom but may optionally be tied at the end of one of the loops (as seen in the second photo below).

• This lacing usually requires longer replacement shoelaces because the doubled loops require more length than would be available using the original shoelaces.

• I've been told that Gippo Lacing is used by some personnel in the South African army for fast tightening of combat boots.

Shoe lacing photo

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Shoelace Lengths for Gippo Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs187 cm74 in–26.9 cm–10.6 in
7 pairs176 cm69 in–26.3 cm–10.4 in
6 pairs162 cm64 in–24.6 cm–9.7 in
5 pairs150 cm59 in–24.1 cm–9.5 in
4 pairs137 cm54 in–22.7 cm–8.9 in
3, 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

MUCH longer shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

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

The significant difference is due to the two long tightening loops, which result in a bow made of doubled segments. This typically means that the original shoelaces won't be long enough.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I would like to inform you that unfortunately one lacing pattern is named using a racial slur: the “Gippo Lacing”. This term is well known in the UK as a slur for Roma or Traveller people, and the use of that word to mean lazy (as described by a commenter from 2008) is derived from the slur.

– Jenni H., Dec-2022

Ian's Comment: Jenni referred to “a commenter from 2008”; this was actually the person who originally contributed this method, Rene W.

– Ian Fieggen, Dec-2022

I was in the SA Army for 39 years and used your Gippo method whenever I wore boots. It is the quickest and easiest method for putting on or taking off combat boots that I have come across. I showed it to many people who were always grateful for the advice. It was not however widely used.

– David B., Nov-2021

The Gippo lacing is my favourite one as it keeps my shoe laces away from my bicycle's pedals, distributes evenly the pressure of the laces on my feet, it makes super easy to lace the shoes and shortens the edges of the usually way too long laces that otherwise would need replacement.

– G., Oct-2019

One last, yet unforseen, benefit was just how comfortable my Chucks are now! Straight lacing did the trick by moving the pressure to the outside of the shoe, but Gippo lacing evenly distributes the pressure across the entire foot. My balance when doing deadlifts has never been better!

- Marcus, New Orleans, USA, May-2016

We used this method to tie our military boots. We called it “Gippo laces”. Gippo is slang for cheat/lazy.

It is a long continuous threaded loop. By simultaneously wiggling and pulling all four top “leads”, the boot is tightened. The top loops are then tied by any standard method. Pros: fast. Cons: not very neat, fairly complicated.

- Rene W., UK, Jul-2008

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2016-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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