Shoe Lacing Methods
An extensive selection of 62 × shoe lacing tutorials, including traditional, decorative, functional and military methods.
62 × Different Ways to Lace Shoes
Probably the most common method of lacing normal shoes and boots, the laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe.
Alternates between outer and inner crossovers, which reduces friction, making it easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear.
Skip a crossover to create a gap in the middle of the lacing, either to bypass a sensitive area of the foot or to increase ankle flexibility.
Vertical segments with the opposite ends passing underneath form “pulleys” for extra tightening, locking the heels for less slippage in running or climbing shoes.
Traditional straight lacing, which appeared to be more common in Europe, has straight sections on the outside and diagonals on the inside.
Horizontal “bars” on the outside with inner, hidden verticals, which looks neat plus relieves pressure on the upper ridge of the foot.
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.
Simplified variation of Straight Bar Lacing where one end runs straight from bottom to top while the other end steps through the eyelets.
A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with a convoluted path on the inside that invisibly consumes more shoelace, effectively “shortening” the ends.
Used by various military to lace tall combat boots. One end is anchored at the bottom and the other end is used for tying off at the top.
Distributes pressure evenly, plus keeps knots and ends to the inside – away from scrub (hiking) or to the outside – away from chains (biking).
Straight lacing split into sections for quick and even tightening. One loose end tightens the top section, the other end tightens the bottom.
Permanently-anchored loose ends plus a “captive” starting knot, which saves having to re-tie that first knot each time. (From: Vitaliy Gnatenko)
Traditional lacing for corsets in which the laces can be gripped and pulled very tightly via the middle loops. Effective, but looks unusual.
All of the inner diagonals pull at a steep angle, which shifts the alignment of the sides and may fix an otherwise ill-fitting shoe.
Looks a bit like a lightning bolt, plus it's lightning fast to lace. The laces run diagonally on the outside, vertically on the inside.
Previously common in shoe shops because many shoes came pre-laced this way from the factory. One end runs from bottom to top while the other end zig-zags through the remaining eyelets.
Inside-out version of Criss Cross Lacing, often used by shoe stores and photographers to hide the loose ends inside their display shoes.
The official method prescribed by the Canadian Armed Forces for lacing combat boots, safety boots and lineman boots.
Distinctive lacing worn on military boots by paratroopers and others. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure ladder.
To speed up the removal of tall boots with many eyelets, this lacing only needs a couple of simple steps to release the top row, then the rest of the lacing loosens instantly.
A decorative method sometimes worn on military boots. The laces weave vertically and diagonally, forming an intricate “web”.
The lacing first runs down the shoe, then doubles back up the shoe. Looks interesting plus holds very firmly, but is awkward to tighten.
Vertical sections on the inside and crossovers on the outside form a “bow tie” outline. This consumes less shoelace and thus “lengthens” ends.
Used on combat boots by various armies. Inner crossovers and outer verticals allow the sides to flex more easily – perfect for stiff army boots.
Outer verticals and doubled-up inner horizontals look like train tracks and sleepers. Very tight lacing due to the doubled passes through eyelets.
Laces take the shortest path through all the eyelets and with hardly any segments visible – reminiscent of the sun's path in mid-winter.
One end always emerges through eyelets, the other always feeds in through eyelets, forming “V”s that point alternately left and right.
Laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. This double helix reduces friction for faster, easier tightening and loosening. (From: Monte Fisher)
A variation of Double Helix Lacing with inside-out crossovers, transforming it from a low-friction, fast lacing into a high-friction lacing that “locks” each row. (From: Matt Jensen)
The laces run three steps forward on the inside, one step back on the outside. The result is short, wide crosses overlapping tall crosses.
Lacing across the ankle area in “2–1–3” sequence reduces pinching and may help prevent painful “lace bite” in tightly laced boots or skates.
The laces run three steps forward on the outside, one step backward on the inside, forming a diagonal series of hash “#” symbols.
This method runs two steps forward, one step back, with double-passes through eyelets. Resembles the grid pattern of a waffle.
The outer segments are crossed at a steep angle, allowing them to be woven through each other to form a decorative lattice in the middle.
At each eyelet, hook under the prior crossover to “lock” the laces, which helps when lacing tightly. Also looks interesting – a bit like a giant zipper.
Specifically meant for equestrian or motorbike riding boots that loosen at mid-boot. The laces zig-zag from both ends and tie at the middle.
Anchored at top and laced down to the bottom, with the friction of the eyelets sufficient to hold fairly tight without even tying off the loose end.
Using two shoelaces per shoe splits the lacing into two segments, each of which can be laced up as tightly or loosely as required for comfort.
Tie a Reef Knot near the middle of the lacing to permanently set the tightness of the lower section independent of the upper section.
Each side loops back on itself down the middle, rather like when two springs become intertwined. Those loop backs may shift off-centre.
Pairs of rows are looped around each other, the peaked rows forming “hills” and the dipped rows forming “valleys”. The name is also a tribute to the “Back to the Future” movies.
Adding a half knot at each crossover increases friction and holds the lacing much firmer, such as when firmly tightening skates.
Verticals hidden on the inside plus “X”s and “I”s on the outside, which looks like Roman numerals and suits both casual and dress shoes.
Taught to C.I.A. officers during the Cold War, one or more “signal” crossovers is placed between straight segments for covert signalling. (From: Robert Wallace)
Forms a decorative “hexagram”, or six-pointed star, which has been used by many cultures and religions, most notably as the “Star of David”.
Forms a decorative “pentagram”, or five-pointed star, which appears everywhere from Converse sneakers to the flags of various countries.
Lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover plus a straight section results in a decorative series of asterisk “*” symbols.
With inner, hidden vertical sections plus outer diagonal sections crossing at the middle of the shoe, the result looks like a starburst.
Overlapping diagonals both inside and outside, all crossing at the middle. Needs maximum shoelace length and thus “shortens” ends.
The laces alternate between inner verticals and outer diagonals that wrap around the opposite verticals, forming a twin-rail zig-zag path.
Crossovers running at progressively steeper angles towards the toes. Feels progressively tighter towards the ankles, plus it looks decorative.
Vertical segments on the inside plus diagonal segments of varying slopes overlapping on the outside form a sideways perspective grid.
Decorative lacing whose outline resembles fish swimming alternately left and right, like those from Dutch artist M.C. Escher.
A decorative lacing with each row looped under the previous row, forming a diagonal series of loops that appears to “cascade” down the shoe. (From: Tim Talley)
Alternately looping under the left and right of previous rows forms a decorative lacing that resembles a section of cyclone fencing (or “chain-link” fencing).
An “extreme lacing” for those who want what others wouldn't attempt. The laces weave up and down between rows, creating an intricate mesh.
Footbag players use this lacing to open up the front of their shoes, making it easier to catch or otherwise control the footbag (or “Hacky Sack”).
Used on astronaut's space boots during the early space program. A doubled-up shoelace snakes up the shoe, passing both ways through each eyelet to lock tightly.