Hiking / Biking Lacing

An inside-out version of Straight Bar Lacing, which distributes pressure evenly plus keeps the knots & ends to the side. For hiking / bushwalking, position the knots on the inside, away from snagging undergrowth. For biking / cycling, position them on the outside, away from chains & cranks.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique –

– for even numbers of eyelet pairs

• Begin straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the bottom eyelets.

• The left (blue) end runs straight up on the outside, then straight across on the inside.

• Both ends run straight up on the outside, each skipping one eyelet and feeding in two eyelets higher up.

• Both ends continue straight across on the inside and out through the adjacent eyelets.

• Alternate running up on the outside and across on the inside until the ends emerge through the top and second-from-top eyelets on the same side.


Evens out pressure

Reduces snagging

Messy look

28% longer ends (approx.)


The "inside-out" layout may look weird – but it gives this lacing several important benefits:

  • The horizontal sections on the inside distribute pressure evenly across the whole foot upper;
  • On heavy leather boots, the horizontals no longer hold down the sides of the boot, allowing the leather to crease more freely;
  • No gaps under the horizontals makes them less likely to get caught when crawling through scrub.

In addition, tying the knot at either top-left or top-right then gives this lacing two different and distinct applications (see below).

Odd Eyelet Pairs Limitation

Hiking / Biking 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.

Using This Lacing for Hiking / Bushwalking

Lacing for Hiking / Bushwalking Lacing for Hiking / Bushwalking

Lace one shoe as above and the other shoe in reverse, with both knots positioned towards the inside (between the ankles). This places the loops and loose ends further away from the outer sides of the shoes, making them less likely to become snagged in undergrowth while hiking / bushwalking.

Using This Lacing for Biking / Cycling:

Lacing for Biking / Cycling Lacing for Biking / Cycling

Lace one shoe as above and the other shoe in reverse, with both knots positioned towards the outside. This places the loops and loose ends further away from the bicycle chain, cranks and other moving parts.

Hiking / Biking Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Hiking / Biking 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, Hiking / Biking Lacing only works neatly 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.

Hiking / Biking 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.

Hiking / Biking 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 inside), then right-to-left (on the outside), tucking under the vertical section on the left side. Contributed by Jeremy J.

Hiking / Biking Lacing Odd Workaround 3

Twice Through One Eyelet

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

Hiking / Biking 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).

Hiking / Biking 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.

Hiking / Biking 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.

Hiking / Biking 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.

Hiking / Biking 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.

Inside-Out Variation

Hiking / Biking Lacing picture 3

For a neater (though slightly less comfortable) variation, the lacing can be done inside-out, with only the top two horizontal sections fed under the sides of the shoes to emerge through the top and 2nd from top eyelets (where the knots will be tied). This is effectively a side-knotted version of Straight Bar Lacing.

The result is much neater, particularly when the sneakers have contrasting shoelaces, which would otherwise look messy with the vertical sections visible on the outside. However, it no longer has the benefit of even pressure distribution because the straight horizontal sections are now on the outside.

This picture, sent to me by Stephen P., shows some shoes laced with inside-out Hiking / Biking Lacing, with the knots and loose ends positioned towards the outside for biking / cycling.

Hiking / Biking Lacing Feedback

"Please find enclosed photo of my favorite method.


Extremely Comfortable – the eyelet tabs are held away from the foot, and the ladder lacing is next to the tongue giving even pressure.

Quick and easy to loosen with one hand – one tug and the entire assembly opens wide – great for 8 hole plus boots


Looks a little weird to the un-initiated

Taught to me by a friend who was in the British military – said they use it on especially long hikes to protect against blisters.

– David O, MI, USA, Feb-2005

If you'd like to send feedback about Hiking / Biking Lacing, please Contact Ian.

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