Shoe Lacing Methods

Shoe Lacing Methods

An extensive selection of 62 × shoe lacing tutorials, including traditional, decorative, functional and military methods.

62 × Different Ways to Lace Shoes

Criss Cross Lacing diagramCriss Cross Lacing photo Criss Cross Lacing

Probably the most common method of lacing normal shoes and boots, the laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe.

Over Under Lacing diagramOver Under Lacing photo Over Under Lacing

Alternates between outer and inner crossovers, which reduces friction, making it easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear.

Gap Lacing diagramGap Lacing photo Gap Lacing

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.

Lock Lacing diagramLock Lacing photo Lock Lacing

Vertical segments with the opposite ends passing underneath form “pulleys” for extra tightening, locking the heels for less slippage in running or climbing shoes.

Straight European Lacing diagramStraight European Lacing photo Straight European Lacing

Traditional straight lacing, which appeared to be more common in Europe, has straight sections on the outside and diagonals on the inside.

Straight Bar Lacing diagramStraight Bar Lacing photo Straight Bar Lacing

Horizontal “bars” on the outside with inner, hidden verticals, which looks neat plus relieves pressure on the upper ridge of the foot.

Hidden Knot Lacing diagramHidden Knot Lacing photo Hidden Knot Lacing

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.

Straight Easy Lacing diagramStraight Easy Lacing photo Straight Easy Lacing

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

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.

Commando Lacing diagramCommando Lacing photo Commando Lacing

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.

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

Distributes pressure evenly, plus keeps knots and ends to the inside – away from scrub (hiking) or to the outside – away from chains (biking).

Quick Tight Lacing diagramQuick Tight Lacing photo Quick Tight Lacing

Straight lacing split into sections for quick and even tightening. One loose end tightens the top section, the other end tightens the bottom.

Gippo Lacing diagramGippo Lacing photo Gippo Lacing

A blend of Quick Tight Lacing and Corset Lacing, combining split sections plus closed loops at top for quick, firm tightening of tall boots. (From: Rene de Wet)

Ukrainian Lacing diagramUkrainian Lacing photo Ukrainian Lacing

Permanently-anchored loose ends plus a “captive” starting knot, which saves having to re-tie that first knot each time. (From: Vitaliy Gnatenko)

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. Effective, but looks unusual.

Sawtooth Lacing diagramSawtooth Lacing photo Sawtooth Lacing

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.

Lightning Lacing diagramLightning Lacing photo Lightning Lacing

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.

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

Inside-out version of Criss Cross Lacing, often used by shoe stores and photographers to hide the loose ends inside their display shoes.

CAF Combat Boot Lacing diagramCAF Combat Boot Lacing photo CAF Combat Boot Lacing

The official method prescribed by the Canadian Armed Forces for lacing combat boots, safety boots and lineman boots.

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

Distinctive lacing worn on military boots by paratroopers and others. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure ladder.

Quick Release Ladder Lacing diagramQuick Release Ladder Lacing photo Quick Release Ladder Lacing

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.

Spider Web Lacing diagramSpider Web Lacing photo Spider Web Lacing

A decorative method sometimes worn on military boots. The laces weave vertically and diagonally, forming an intricate “web”.

Double Back Lacing diagramDouble Back Lacing photo Double Back Lacing

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

Bow Tie Lacing diagramBow Tie Lacing photo Bow Tie Lacing

Vertical sections on the inside and crossovers on the outside form a “bow tie” outline. This consumes less shoelace and thus “lengthens” ends.

Army Lacing diagramArmy Lacing photo Army Lacing

Used on combat boots by various armies. Inner crossovers and outer verticals allow the sides to flex more easily – perfect for stiff army boots.

Train Track Lacing diagramTrain Track Lacing photo Train Track Lacing

Outer verticals and doubled-up inner horizontals look like train tracks and sleepers. Very tight lacing due to the doubled passes through eyelets.

Winter Solstice Lacing diagramWinter Solstice Lacing photo Winter Solstice Lacing

Laces take the shortest path through all the eyelets and with hardly any segments visible – reminiscent of the sun's path in mid-winter.

Left Right Lacing diagramLeft Right Lacing photo Left Right Lacing

One end always emerges through eyelets, the other always feeds in through eyelets, forming “V”s that point alternately left and right.

Double Helix Lacing diagramDouble Helix Lacing photo Double Helix Lacing

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)

Locked Double Helix Lacing diagramLocked Double Helix Lacing photo Locked Double Helix Lacing

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)

Double Cross Lacing diagramDouble Cross Lacing photo Double Cross Lacing

The laces run three steps forward on the inside, one step back on the outside. The result is short, wide crosses overlapping tall crosses.

Two-One-Three Lacing diagramTwo-One-Three Lacing photo Two-One-Three Lacing

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.

Hash Lacing diagramHash Lacing photo Hash Lacing

The laces run three steps forward on the outside, one step backward on the inside, forming a diagonal series of hash “#” symbols.

Waffle Lacing diagramWaffle Lacing photo Waffle Lacing

This method runs two steps forward, one step back, with double-passes through eyelets. Resembles the grid pattern of a waffle.

Lattice Lacing diagramLattice Lacing photo Lattice Lacing

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.

Zipper Lacing diagramZipper Lacing photo Zipper Lacing

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.

Riding Boot Lacing diagramRiding Boot Lacing photo Riding Boot Lacing

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.

One Handed Lacing diagramOne Handed Lacing photo One Handed Lacing

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.

Segmented Lacing diagramSegmented Lacing photo Segmented Lacing

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.

Knotted Segment Lacing diagramKnotted Segment Lacing photo Knotted Segment Lacing

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

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. Those loop backs may shift off-centre.

Hill Valley Lacing diagramHill Valley Lacing photo Hill Valley Lacing

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.

Knotted Lacing diagramKnotted Lacing photo Knotted Lacing

Adding a half knot at each crossover increases friction and holds the lacing much firmer, such as when firmly tightening skates.

Twistie Lacing diagramTwistie Lacing photo Twistie Lacing

Similar to Loop Back Lacing with full twists instead of half twists, forming vertical half knots similar to the horizontal ones in Knotted Lacing.

Roman Lacing diagramRoman Lacing photo Roman Lacing

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.

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

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)

Hexagram Lacing diagramHexagram Lacing photo Hexagram Lacing

Forms a decorative “hexagram”, or six-pointed star, which has been used by many cultures and religions, most notably as the “Star of David”.

Pentagram Lacing diagramPentagram Lacing photo Pentagram Lacing

Forms a decorative “pentagram”, or five-pointed star, which appears everywhere from Converse sneakers to the flags of various countries.

Asterisk Lacing diagramAsterisk Lacing photo Asterisk Lacing

Lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover plus a straight section results in a decorative series of asterisk “*” symbols.

Starburst Lacing diagramStarburst Lacing photo Starburst Lacing

With inner, hidden vertical sections plus outer diagonal sections crossing at the middle of the shoe, the result looks like a starburst.

Supernova Lacing diagramSupernova Lacing photo Supernova Lacing

Overlapping diagonals both inside and outside, all crossing at the middle. Needs maximum shoelace length and thus “shortens” ends.

Zig Zag Lacing diagramZig Zag Lacing photo Zig Zag Lacing

The laces alternate between inner verticals and outer diagonals that wrap around the opposite verticals, forming a twin-rail zig-zag path.

Progressive Lacing diagramProgressive Lacing photo Progressive Lacing

Crossovers running at progressively steeper angles towards the toes. Feels progressively tighter towards the ankles, plus it looks decorative.

Perspective Lacing diagramPerspective Lacing photo Perspective Lacing

Vertical segments on the inside plus diagonal segments of varying slopes overlapping on the outside form a sideways perspective grid.

Escher Lacing diagramEscher Lacing photo Escher Lacing

Decorative lacing whose outline resembles fish swimming alternately left and right, like those from Dutch artist M.C. Escher.

Cascade Lacing diagramCascade Lacing photo Cascade Lacing

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)

Cyclone Fence Lacing diagramCyclone Fence Lacing photo Cyclone Fence Lacing

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).

Woven Lacing diagramWoven Lacing photo Woven Lacing

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 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”).

NASA Space Boot Lacing diagramNASA Space Boot Lacing photo NASA Space Boot Lacing

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.

Support Ian


Click to buy U-Lace elastic shoelace segments (USA)
Click to buy shoelaces from Kicks Shoelaces (Australia)
Click to buy tough shoelaces from Ironlace (USA)
Click to buy shoelaces from Big Laces (UK)
Click to buy handmade shoelaces from Cute Laces (USA)

This page last updated: 04-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2004-2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

Ian's Other Websites:
Ian's Shoelace SiteShoelaceIan's Software SiteSoftwareIan's Graphics SiteGraphicsIan Fieggen's SiteIanFieggen Family TreeTree