Over Under Lacing

Lacing (pic)

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

Eight pairs of eyelets

To activate controls, please enable JavaScript

Lacing Technique

• For even numbers of eyelet pairs, begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.

• For odd numbers of eyelet pairs, begin straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the bottom eyelets.

• At each eyelet pair, alternate between crossing over (on the outside) and in through the next higher set of eyelets or crossing under (on the inside) and out through the next higher set of eyelets. Repeat until lacing is completed.


Ian's favourite!

Decorative look

Faster & easier

Less wear & tear


By alternating crossovers on the outside and on the inside, there are a couple of benefits:

• The laces don't rub across the edges of the shoes, which reduces wear and tear on both the shoes and the shoelaces.

• Because of the reduced friction, you don't really need to pull every single crossover when tightening. Instead, you only need to pull the outer crossovers, which is both faster (there's half as many) and easier (they're fully exposed and slightly elevated, making it easier to get your fingers underneath).

Shoe lacing photo

Close window

Over Under Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Over Under Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
8 pairs133 cm53 in
7 pairs123 cm48 in
6 pairs112 cm44 in
5 pairs102 cm40 in
4 pairs91 cm36 in
3 pairs81 cm32 in
2 pairs70 cm28 in

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

Same length shoelaces as those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

Your site's great; I've used your Mega Ian Shoelace Knot many times. I also use your site as a reference for other things, such as Over Under Lacing, whenever I'm too lazy to remember what the amount of eyelets on a given shoe means in terms of starting the lacing.

– Larry C., Jul-2023

Over Under Lacing is one of the best lacing technics because it not only looks great, it also cuts the tightening time by half. I've been using it for years and I highly recommend it.

Fotis L., Athens, Greece, Dec-2022

I'm not sure if this is a “new” method of tying shoes, but it's the one I use, and it's slightly different from your “Over Under” lacing method. The over under method involves dropping the right-hand lace end and picking up the left-hand lace every couple of holes. Instead, I lace the right-hand lace up all the way, then lace the left-hand lace all the way, then tighten. This means you only have to pick up each lace end once – less fiddling about means it's quicker. In your diagrams, if you lace the blue lace first, it means the yellow lace is always on top of the blue lace.

Anyway, I thought I'd pass this one along. Maybe it doesn't count as a new lacing method, but if it does, I call it the “Under Over” lacing method, because you do the “under” lace all the way up the shoe, then the “over” lace, all the way up the shoe.

Ian C., Oct-2022

I recently acquired a pair of Corcoran 1500s, timeless to style, but time-consuming to lace with 12 eyelet pairs! Using an under-over from the bottom to the 5th eyelet for keeping my foot secure, adding the gap/army lacing “jump” to skip over the 6th eyelet that cut into my leg when moving and put undue tension on the leather, finishing with 4 rows of bar lacing to provide even and comfortable support, then using the 11th and 12th eyelets to form a lace lock, I made my already perfect jump boots even better!

- James D., Aug-2022

I was looking at the Over Under Lacing method and it is the exact method that I was taught in Basic Military Training in the US Air Force.

Maybe this could fit in the military category.

– Ryan M., USA, Oct-2019

I have been working as a Firefighter/Paramedic for 8 years now, and I have always used tactical boots with zippers on the sides, and never had much issue or need to deviate from standard lacing.

I tried a few different methods, which helped some, but still left me tying and untying both the starting knot and the finishing knot (which is no easy feat in a dark room in the middle of the night), and then I found it, the “Ukrainian method” and immediately my problem was solved! With a few modifications, it has become absolutely perfect for my needs (not to mention it looks 1000% better than the ugly zippers). I have the aglet's both tied in separate overhand knots inside the eyelets of the top of the boot. The next loop down I have the Ukrainian captive starting knot (which makes ALL the difference for the rapid donning.) Going downward I have an “Over Under lacing pattern” which aids significantly in the rapid tightening and loosening, (The X marks the spot to pull!). And then if all those aren't amazing enough, then comes the “Ian Knot”, which is the cherry on top, the icing on the cake, and the grand finale all rolled into one amazing lightning fast move! Now all my needs (more like strong wants) are met. I no longer worry about the laces coming out of the eyes or dragging on the ground when loose. I no longer worry about quickly tightening. I no longer worry about rapid tying or untying. All of it is solved.

– David D., Michigan, USA, Sep-2017

I thought of a simple mnemonic to help remember your rule about starting the bottom lacing UNDER if the number of eyelets is odd when tying the Over-Under Lacing. It is simply:

“eVen oVer, oDd unDer”

I got the idea from the standard caver/geologist's mnemonic “stalaCtite Ceiling, stalaGmite Ground”.

– Larry A., Aug-2006

All my life I used the “Shoe Shop Lacing” and always thought that was the only way to lace shoes.

I decided to go for the “Over Under” lacing now and the result is much better. I think this is because of the more symetric way of lacing.

– Jacob v.F., The Hague, The Netherlands, Sep-2004

funnily enough i have also come to the conclusion that the over and under lacing method is best - quickest to tension and loosen, and also provides an even tension accross the shoe, but that is the extent of my pursuit

– Ian P., New Zealand, Mar-2004

If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.

Rate This Lacing Method

• Select rating, then click button to submit.

• Or, view results without rating this method.

Please only vote once – multiple votes are removed daily

Support Ian


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

This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2003-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

Ian's Other Websites:
Software Site (icon)SoftwareGraphics Site (icon)GraphicsIan's Site (icon)IanChris' site (icon)ChrisFamily tree (icon)Tree