Knotted Segment Lacing

Lacing (pic)

Tie a Reef Knot near the middle of the lacing to permanently set the tightness of the lower section independent of the upper section.

Eight pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Begin with a shoelace that's slightly longer than the original lace.

• Use standard Criss Cross Lacing to about the middle of the shoe.

• Tighten this “lower” segment as tightly or loosely as you prefer. For example, tighten more if you have a narrow forefoot, less if you have a wide forefoot.

• To permanently set the tightness, tie a Reef Knot at this point, ie:

  1. Left end over Right end & through;
  2. Right end over Left end & through.

• Continue the Criss Cross lacing to the top of the shoe. This “upper” segment is then the only part that is tightened and loosened, with the tension set independently of the “lower” segment.



Many uses

Harder to get off

“Shortens” ends


• This page shows Criss Cross Lacing, knotted near the middle. You may instead use a different lacing method and/or a different knot position.

• The Reef Knots that separate the upper and lower segments can be replaced with different knots as preferred. See the 5th and 6th photos in the gallery below, both of which use different knots that are easier to adjust plus look more interesting.

• Also referred to as “Permanent Zoned Lacing”.

Shoe lacing photo

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Shoelace Lengths for Knotted Segment Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs136 cm54 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
7 pairs126 cm50 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
6 pairs115 cm45 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
5 pairs105 cm41 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
4 pairs94 cm37 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
3 pairs84 cm33 in–1.3 cm–0.5 in
2 pairs73 cm29 in–1.3 cm–0.5 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

Longer shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

Shorter ends if the existing shoelaces are re-used (−5% on average).

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I've been experimenting with lacing my hockey skates the past two months. I've tried several different things, and this is the setup that is working best for me. Feel free to post the pictures on your site if you think anyone might benefit from them. Thanks so much for the help! This is working great! I used a combination of techniques:

Knotted Segment Lacing off the second eyelet. It keeps the lower section the same tension. Knotted Lacing on the sixth eyelet. Allows extra tightness at the bend in the ankle to keep my heel securely down in the boot. I tried more eyelets with knotted lacing but it took longer to tie, and much longer to untie when the laces were wet. I use Knotted Lacing again on the ninth eyelet (the eyelet I use for the top). It holds tight in place while I tie the finishing knot. This is a BIG deal. Also, I don't use the tenth (top) eyelet so I can have better forward ankle flexibility.

Your special Ian's Secure Shoelace knot to finish it off. Holds tight, and easily pulls to untie.

– Scott M., Ohio, USA, Aug-2012

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

Website created by Ian Fieggen (aka. “Professor Shoelace”), inventor of the Ian Knot.

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