Hidden Knot Lacing

By hiding the knot underneath, the result is an uninterrupted series of straight "bars" that looks particularly distinctive on dress shoes or sneakers alike.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique –

– 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 straight up on the inside, then straight across on the outside.

• Both ends run straight up on the inside, each skipping one eyelet and emerging two eyelets higher up.

• Both ends continue straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelets.

• Alternate running up on the inside and across on the outside until the ends meet between the top eyelet and second eyelet from the top.

• Carefully tie the knot inside the shoe at that point. This can either be tied with a Standard Shoelace Knot or with a simpler knot like a Reef Knot (as shown in the diagram above).

• Finally, tuck the ends into the shoe.


Distinctive look

Tricky to tie knot

Slight discomfort

28% longer ends (approx.)


• Any discomfort that may be caused by the knot and loose ends being tucked into the shoe can be reduced by positioning the knot towards the outer side of the foot.

• If you will be slipping the shoes on and off rather than tying and untying each time, Lace Anchors can be used to permanently secure the ends instead of tying a knot.

Odd Eyelet Pairs Limitation

Hidden Knot 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 will meet 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, Hidden Knot 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 Hidden Knot Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 63 cm
25 inch
76 cm
30 inch
80 cm
31 inch
93 cm
37 inch
96 cm
38 inch
109 cm
43 inch
112 cm
44 inch
Lengths available: 27" 27" 27" 36" 36" 45" 45"

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 (+28% on average).

More details.

Odd Workarounds

As mentioned above, Hidden Knot Lacing only works correctly 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.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 1

Ends Don't Meet

This first diagram shows how the ends don't meet naturally, instead ending up diagonally opposite each other. This defeats the whole concept of this lacing, in which the ends are intended to be tied at the side of the shoe where the knot can't be seen.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 2

Across and Back

As shown in more detail in the main lacing diagram above, the second-from-bottom straight section runs straight across from left-to-right (on the outside), then right-to-left (on the inside), tucking under the vertical section on the left side. Contributed by Jeremy J.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 3

Twice Through One Eyelet

Start straight across the bottom with the ends feeding in through both bottom eyelets, then run one end back across the bottom and in through the same eyelet as the other end. Both ends are now feeding in through the same bottom eyelet (in this example, the bottom-right). Contributed by Dan S.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 4

One Diagonal

Use a single diagonal somewhere in the lacing, such as shown here at the very bottom. Near the middle, a diagonal may be positioned to line up with and run through a tongue centering loop (if the shoe has one).

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 5

One Crossover

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.

Unlike the above "One Diagonal" variation, the crossover cannot be placed in the middle of the lacing.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 6

Double Overlap

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. Being 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.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 7

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.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 8

Cut and Tie Off

Finally, if you're prepared to cut your shoelaces, the two portions can be anchored diagonally opposite each other at the bottom of the shoe, either with simple stopper knots or using Lace Anchors.

Note that the two "half" shoelaces should be different lengths. Use the calculations for Half & Half Straight Bar Lacing in the Shoelace Length Calculator.

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