Shoe Lacing Methods

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

62 × Different Ways to Lace Shoes

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Criss Cross

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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

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

Lock

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

Gap

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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.

Straight European

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

Straight Bar

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

Hidden Knot

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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

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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

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

Commando

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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

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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

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

Gippo

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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

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

Corset

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Traditional lacing for corsets in which the laces can be gripped and pulled very tightly via the middle loops. Effective – but looks unusual.

Sawtooth

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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

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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

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Once common in shoe shops when shoes came pre-laced this way. One end runs from bottom to top, the other zig-zags through the eyelets.

Display Shoe

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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

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

Chevron

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

Ladder

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

Quick Release Ladder

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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

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

Double Back

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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

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Vertical sections on the inside and crossovers on the outside form a “bow tie” outline. Needs minimum shoelace length and thus “lengthens” ends.

Army

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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

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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

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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

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

Double Helix

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The laces are crossed steeply on the outside, then take one step back on the inside, forming overlapping crossovers that resemble hash “#” symbols.

Waffle

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

Lattice

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Pairs of rows are looped around each other, the peaked rows forming “hills” and the dipped rows forming “valleys”.

Knotted

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

Twistie

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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

Asterisk

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

Starburst

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All of the visible shoelace segments cross diagonally at the middle of the shoe, forming a massive “starburst”.

Supernova

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The laces cross diagonally over two focal points, forming a “black hole” in between. Needs maximum shoelace length and thus “shortens” ends.

Zig Zag

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

Progressive

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

Perspective

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

Escher

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

Cascade

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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