One Handed Lacing

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.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• Take a lace that's slightly shorter than usual and begin by tying a stopper-knot in one end.

• Feed the un-knotted end of the lace from inside the top right eyelet and pull it through until stopped with the knot snug against the eyelet.

• Zig-zag the lace through the eyelets down to the bottom of the shoe similar to Shoe Shop Lacing.

• The loose (blue) end can simply be tucked into the lacing to keep it from being stepped on.


Disabled use

Surprisingly easy

Loose fit

94% longer end (approx.)


• The concept is that shoes have the most tension at the top of the lacing and very little at the bottom. With the stopper-knot holding the bulk of the tension at the top end, the friction of the shoelace passing through every eyelet is sufficient to stop the bottom end from slipping out even though it is “loose”. This concept works best with either small eyelets or fat shoelaces.

• To tighten, start at the top of the lacing and work towards the bottom. To loosen, start from the bottom of the lacing and work towards the top.

• If having the stopper-knot inside the shoe is uncomfortable, position it on the outside by feeding the knotted shoelace into the top right eyelet. Alternatively, you can feed the shoelace through the eyelet and then tie the lace back onto itself. In other words, knot the shoelace onto the eyelet (as seen in the second photo below).

• For a tighter, more secure fit, substitute either thicker shoelaces or cotton shoelaces with a rougher surface.

• For greater security, the loose end may be passed a second time through the bottom right eyelet (or any convenient eyelet). Because this eyelet ends up with two passes of shoelace, it will be quite a tight fit, which will stay pretty secure.

• For maximum security, pass the loose end back out through the top left eyelet, then tie it off with a simple loop knot as shown in the One Handed Shoelace Knot.

• A decorative way to use up the excess length of the loose end is to weave the shoelace up and down through the horizontal sections, forming a woven mat (as seen in the third photo below).

• The left and right shoes can be laced in reverse (mirror image) so as to end up with a symmetrical look.

Scouts' Lacing illustration

• This illustration, taken from a 1929 book “Scouting for Boys” and sent to me by Alex, shows a very similar method: “Shoe Laced in the Scout's Way”. Although it's not meant specifically for one hand, it can be used exactly the same way, and could be considered a variation of One Handed Lacing. The main difference is that it starts at the bottom, then runs diagonally to the top before continuing as above.

Shoelace Lengths for One Handed Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 48 cm
19 inch
58 cm
23 inch
68 cm
27 inch
79 cm
31 inch
89 cm
35 inch
99 cm
39 inch
109 cm
43 inch
Lengths available: 27" 27" 27" 27" 36" 40" 45"

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

Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

Longer end if existing shoelaces are re-used (+94% on average).

More details.

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This page last updated: 04-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2003-2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

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