Shoe Lacing Methods

Shoe Lacing Methods

Mathematics tells us that there are more than 2 Trillion ways of feeding a lace through the six pairs of eyelets on an average shoe. This section presents a fairly extensive selection of 53 shoe lacing tutorials. They include traditional and alternative lacing methods that are either widely used, have a particular feature or benefit, or that I just like the look of.

53 Different Ways To Lace Shoes

Criss Cross Lacing diagramCriss Cross Lacing photo Criss Cross Lacing

This is probably the most common method of lacing normal shoes & boots. The laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe.

Over Under Lacing diagramOver Under Lacing photo Over Under Lacing

This method reduces friction, making the lacing easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear. The laces alternate between crossing Over and Under.

Gap Lacing diagramGap Lacing photo Gap Lacing

This simple variation of Criss Cross Lacing skips a crossover to create a gap in the middle of the lacing, either to bypass a sensitive area on the instep or to increase ankle flexibility.

Straight European Lacing diagramStraight European Lacing photo Straight European Lacing

This traditional method of Straight Lacing appears to be more common in Europe. The laces run straight across on the outside and diagonally on the inside.

Straight Bar Lacing diagramStraight Bar Lacing photo Straight Bar Lacing

Also referred to as "Lydiard Lacing" or "Fashion Lacing", this variation of Straight Lacing eliminates the underlying diagonals, which looks neater plus relieves pressure on the top ridge of the foot.

Straight Easy Lacing diagramStraight Easy Lacing photo Straight Easy Lacing

This is a simplified variation of Straight Bar Lacing where one end runs straight from bottom to top while the other end steps through the eyelets.

Commando Lacing diagramCommando Lacing photo Commando Lacing - New!

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

End Shortening Lacing diagramEnd Shortening Lacing photo End Shortening Lacing

A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with a convoluted path on the inside that invisibly consumes more shoelace, effectively "shortening" the ends.

Hiking / Biking Lacing diagramHiking / Biking Lacing photo Hiking / Biking Lacing

An inside-out version of Straight Bar Lacing, which distributes pressure evenly plus keeps the knots & ends to the side, away from either snagging undergrowth or from bicycle chains & cranks.

Quick Tight Lacing diagramQuick Tight Lacing photo Quick Tight Lacing

A straight lacing method that is split into two sections for quick and even tightening. Pulling one loose end tightens the top section, the other loose end tightens the bottom section.

Gippo Lacing diagramGippo Lacing photo Gippo Lacing

A blend of Quick Tight Lacing and Corset Lacing, this complex method combines split sections plus closed loops at top for quick tightening of tall boots.

Ukrainian Lacing diagramUkrainian Lacing photo Ukrainian Lacing

Named by its Ukrainian inventor, this method has permanently-anchored loose ends plus a "captive" Starting Knot, which saves having to re-tie that first knot each time.

Corset Lacing diagramCorset Lacing photo Corset Lacing

Traditional lacing for corsets, in which the laces can be gripped and pulled very tightly via the middle loops. Useful for lacing boots extra tight or just for a different look.

Sawtooth Lacing diagramSawtooth Lacing photo Sawtooth Lacing

This method has all of the underlying sections pulling at a steep angle, which shifts the alignment of the sides and may correct an otherwise ill-fitting shoe.

Lightning Lacing diagramLightning Lacing photo Lightning Lacing

So named because the angled sections look a bit like a lightning bolt, plus it is lightning fast to lace. The laces run diagonally on the outside and vertically on the inside.

Shoe Shop Lacing diagramShoe Shop Lacing photo Shoe Shop Lacing

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.

Display Shoe Lacing diagramDisplay Shoe Lacing photo Display Shoe Lacing

Shoe stores and photographers often use this inside-out version of Criss Cross Lacing on their display shoes in order to finish with the ends neatly hidden inside the shoe.

Chevron Lacing diagramChevron Lacing photo Chevron Lacing

Separate sections of Criss Cross Lacing and Display Shoe Lacing, forming upright and inverted chevrons (∧, ∨) similar to those on military or police uniforms.

Ladder Lacing diagramLadder Lacing photo Ladder Lacing

This distinctive lacing is worn on military boots by paratroopers and ceremonial guard units. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure "ladder".

Spider Web Lacing diagramSpider Web Lacing photo Spider Web Lacing

Like an angled version of Ladder Lacing, this decorative method is also worn on military boots. The laces weave vertically and diagonally, forming an intricate "web".

Double Back Lacing diagramDouble Back Lacing photo Double Back Lacing

This method looks interesting plus holds very firmly, but is terribly awkward to tighten. The lacing first runs down the shoe, then doubles back up the shoe.

Bow Tie Lacing diagramBow Tie Lacing photo Bow Tie Lacing

This method "lengthens" ends because it consumes the least amount of shoelace. The laces cross over on the outside and run vertically on the inside, forming a "bow-tie" outline.

Army Lacing diagramArmy Lacing photo Army Lacing

This inside-out version of Bow Tie Lacing is used on combat boots by various armies. With the crossovers on the insides, the sides of the boots can flex more easily.

Train Track Lacing diagramTrain Track Lacing photo Train Track Lacing

Like Army Lacing with the inside segments running straight across, the result looks like train tracks, and holds very tight because of the doubled laces through eyelets.

Left Right Lacing diagramLeft Right Lacing photo Left Right Lacing

Having one end always emerging through eyelets while the other end always feeds in through eyelets creates a series of "V" symbols that point alternately left and right.

Double Helix Lacing diagramDouble Helix Lacing photo Double Helix Lacing

This patented method has the laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. The resulting double helix reduces friction and allows faster, easier lacing.

Double Cross Lacing diagramDouble Cross Lacing photo Double Cross Lacing

This lacing is created by running three steps forward (on the inside), one step back (on the outside). The result is short, wide crosses overlapping tall, narrow crosses.

2-1-3 Lacing diagram2-1-3 Lacing photo 2-1-3 Lacing

Lacing across the ankle area in "2-1-3" sequence creates a firm Double Cross that reduces pinching and may help prevent painful "lace bite" in tightly laced boots or skates.

Hash Lacing diagramHash Lacing photo Hash Lacing

Like Double Cross Lacing, this method is also created by running three steps forward, one step back. The result resembles a diagonal series of hash "#" symbols.

Lattice Lacing diagramLattice Lacing photo Lattice Lacing

This very popular method forms a decorative lattice in the middle of the lacing. The laces are crossed at a steep angle, allowing them to be woven through each other.

Zipper Lacing diagramZipper Lacing photo Zipper Lacing

This method "locks" the laces at each eyelet pair. Great for lacing skates tightly because the lower sections hold while tightening. It also looks interesting, a bit like a giant zipper.

Riding Boot Lacing diagramRiding Boot Lacing photo Riding Boot Lacing

Also referred to as "Bal-Lacing", this method is for riding boots (motorbike or equestrian) whose sides are joined at the top and loosen near the ankle. The laces zig-zag from both ends and are tied in the middle.

One Handed Lacing diagramOne Handed Lacing photo One Handed Lacing

As an alternative to the One Handed Shoelace Knot, this way of lacing eliminates the need to even tie a knot by leaving one end loose.

Segmented Lacing diagramSegmented Lacing photo Segmented Lacing

Also referred to as "Zoned Lacing", this method divides the lacing into two or more segments, each of which can be laced up as tightly or loosely as necessary to achieve a comfortable yet secure fit for difficult shoes or feet.

Knotted Segment Lacing diagramKnotted Segment Lacing photo Knotted Segment Lacing

A more attractive though less flexible variation of Segmented Lacing in which a knot makes the lower segment of shoelace permanently tighter or looser.

Hidden Knot Lacing diagramHidden Knot Lacing photo 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.

Loop Back Lacing diagramLoop Back Lacing photo Loop Back Lacing

Each side loops back on itself down the middle, rather like when two springs become intertwined. However, those loop-backs tend to shift off-centre.

Knotted Lacing diagramKnotted Lacing photo Knotted Lacing

Adding an overhand knot at each crossover increases friction and keeps the lacing much firmer. Ideal for tightening ice skates, rollerblades, etc.

Twistie Lacing diagramTwistie Lacing photo Twistie Lacing

Like a combination of Loop Back and Knotted Lacing, the laces are twisted together with a vertical overhand knot at each crossover before continuing to the other side.

Roman Lacing diagramRoman Lacing photo Roman Lacing

Alternating X-I-X-I on top of the shoe, which looks a little like Roman numerals. It's most effective on dress shoes where the sides of the shoe meet in the middle.

C.I.A. Lacing diagramC.I.A. Lacing photo C.I.A. Lacing

This set of methods was taught to C.I.A. officers during the Cold War as a form of covert signalling, using straight segments interpersed with one or more visible crossovers at different positions.

Hexagram Lacing diagramHexagram Lacing photo Hexagram Lacing

This purely decorative lacing forms a hexagram, or six pointed star. This geometric symbol has been used for centuries in various cultures and religions, most notably as the Jewish "Star of David".

Pentagram Lacing diagramPentagram Lacing photo Pentagram Lacing

This purely decorative lacing forms a pentagram, or five pointed star. Besides the "magical" associations, solid five pointed stars are found on many flags, most notably the fifty stars on the U.S. flag.

Asterisk Lacing diagramAsterisk Lacing photo Asterisk Lacing

Lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover plus a straight section results in a series of asterisk [*] symbols. Best on shoes with multiples of three eyelet pairs (3, 6, 9, etc).

Starburst Lacing diagramStarburst Lacing photo Starburst Lacing

With all vertical segments hidden on the inside and all diagonal segments on the outside crossing at the middle of the shoe, the result looks like a Starburst.

Supernova Lacing diagramSupernova Lacing photo Supernova Lacing

Like two Starbursts on top of each other, one on the outside, the other on the inside. Needs the maximum length of shoelace and is useful for "shortening" long laces.

Zig Zag Lacing diagramZig Zag Lacing photo Zig Zag Lacing

This twin-rail zig-zag is a bit like a winding road or marble race. The laces alternately run vertically on the inside or wrap around the vertical sections on the opposite side.

Progressive Lacing diagramProgressive Lacing photo Progressive Lacing

With crossovers running at progressively steeper angles towards the toes, this lacing should feel progressively tighter towards the ankles, plus it looks decorative.

Perspective Lacing diagramPerspective Lacing photo Perspective Lacing

This decorative lacing has overlapping segments running at varying slopes similar to Progressive Lacing, forming a sideways perspective grid.

Escher Lacing diagramEscher Lacing photo Escher Lacing

Decorative lacing whose outline resembles fish swimming alternately left and right, reminiscent of the tesselated prints from Dutch artist M.C. Escher.

Woven Lacing diagramWoven Lacing photo Woven Lacing

An "extreme lacing" for those who want a decorative method that others would never attempt. The laces are woven up and down between adjacent rows, creating an intricate mesh.

Footbag Lacing diagramFootbag Lacing photo Footbag Lacing

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").

Lock Lacing diagramLock Lacing photo Lock Lacing

Not a lacing method as much as a technique for creating a super-tight finish. It's often recommended to help reduce heel slippage in running or climbing shoes. Also referred to as "Lace Lock", "Loop Lacing Lock", "Heel Lock" or "Runner's Tie".

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