Hidden Knot Lacing

Lacing (pic)

A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with the knot hidden on the inside, resulting in a distinctive look for trendy shoes or dress shoes alike.

Eight 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.


• Variation 1 is for shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs.

• Variation 2 is for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs (see details below).


Distinctive look

Tricky to tie knot

Slight discomfort

“Lengthens” ends


• Although outwardly symmetrical, this method is functionally asymmetrical. This is most noticeable when tightening or loosening. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) restores functional symmetry.

• 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!

Shoe lacing photo

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Shoelace Lengths for Hidden Knot Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs112 cm44 in+10.5 cm+4.1 in
7 pairs109 cm43 in+6.9 cm+2.7 in
6 pairs96 cm38 in+8.2 cm+3.2 in
5 pairs93 cm37 in+4.6 cm+1.8 in
4 pairs80 cm31 in+5.9 cm+2.3 in
3 pairs76 cm30 in+2.3 cm+0.9 in
2 pairs63 cm25 in+3.6 cm+1.4 in

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 the existing shoelaces are re-used (+28% on average).

More details about length comparisons.

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.

Ends Don't Meet

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 1

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.

Across and Back

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 2

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.

Twice Through One Eyelet

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 3

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.

One Diagonal

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 4

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).

One Crossover

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 5

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.

Double Overlap

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 6

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.

Skip One Eyelet Pair

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 7

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.

Cut and Tie Off

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Workaround 8

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.

Visitor Feedback

The first shoe came out perfectly, and I did make one modification doing the second shoe: I started from the toe, rather than the bottom of the shoe. It looks so great.

I swear, I’m the only 78-year old who knows how to do a hidden knot lace.

– Judy G., Florida, USA, Jun-2019

I ended up just tying the knot and cutting off the remaining laces because they were so long that if I tucked them in anywhere it would be uncomfortable, so now they just look badass and are comfy. Anyways, I'm starting high school next week and I'm pretty sure people will be like “wow, that kid is so hardcore” just because of my shoe laces haha.

– Brennen M, Aug-2010

I like the Hidden Knot Lacing style but the ends of the shoelaces where bugging me. The trick i found for this was tucking the shoe laces under the soul of the shoe. Just thought I'd stick my findings out there lol.

– Isaac H., Nov-2008

i tried your Hidden Knot method to tie my Adidas shoes and i must say i just LOVE it. it's realy great. i've been wearing Vans shoes for years now and i always wondered how people manage to do this.

– Alon S., Oct-2008

Your website made the hidden knot a breeze. I was almost able to do the second shoe without looking. My 9 yr old son has received many compliments on his laces, as that is the popular way for skateboarders to wear them.

– Wayne K., Oregon, USA, Oct-2008

Hidden Knot lacing is awesome. It is absolutely perfect for double tongue converse all stars. And I mean perfect.

– Kyle A, Feb-2007

I like the way that the knots are completely hidden from view and I still find the shoes to be comfortable with no discomfort at all.

– Manny T., California, USA, Dec-2006

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2004-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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