Quick Release Ladder Lacing

Lacing (pic)

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.

NOTE: The following instructions are split into two stages – which look quite different.

Stage 1: “Lacing” shows how to actually run the laces through the eyelets.

Stage 2: “Tightening” shows how the slack lacing transforms into a tight ladder.

Eight pairs of eyelets, stage 1

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Lacing Technique – 8 Pairs – Stage 1: Lacing

(See also Stage 2: Tightening)

• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.

• The left (blue) end runs straight up on the inside, then straight across on the outside.

• Both ends run straight up on the inside, each skipping one eyelet and emerging two eyelets higher up.

• Both ends continue straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelets.

• Alternate running up on the inside and across on the outside until all but the top two rows have been laced. Those rows will only be used during the Stage 2: Tightening instructions.



Very fast to loosen

Slower to tighten

“Lengthens” ends


This method was named “Quick Release Ladder Lacing” for two reasons: Firstly because of the resemblance to regular Ladder Lacing and secondly because of the similarity between the “quick release” action and the way a “ladder” forms in a damaged stocking.

Sports / Military Advice

Quick Release Ladder Lacing has an additional benefit for sporting or military use: The quick-release feature allows a boot to be more easily removed from a broken, sprained or otherwise injured ankle or foot.

Note that most military forces have regulations for just about everything, so I'd recommend that military personnel check before they adopt this – or any other – possible non-regulation lacing method!

Shoe lacing photo

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Quick Release Ladder Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Quick Release Ladder Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs118 cm47 in+7.5 cm+3.0 in
7 pairs115 cm45 in+3.9 cm+1.5 in
6 pairs96 cm38 in+8.4 cm+3.3 in
5 pairs92 cm36 in+4.8 cm+1.9 in
4 pairs73 cm29 in+9.3 cm+3.7 in
3 pairs70 cm27 in+5.7 cm+2.2 in
2 pairs = (N/A)

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.

• If the original shoelaces are re-used, this method effectively lengthens the ends.

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

Your Quick Release Ladder lacing is wonderful.

I tried it for the first time today and it just works so easily. When undone I get the maximum gap of my boots and my feet exit and enter painlessly, and it really is quick to tie and undo.

– Jeff L., Apr-2021

I'm pretty sure i've tried half the lacings on the site. Eventually---after getting lace burn on the outside of index fingers---i settled on quick release ladder lacing. Until my girlfriend couldn't stand the time it took to lace my boots. Now i'm on military, but i'm about to try quick tight.

– Jacob, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Oct-2020

I love this for my Red Wing boots, They have speed hooks on the top two holes, so I can set up the ladder on the lower 6, “knit” the rungs together and use the speed hooks at the top. I don't have to untie the knot, just cinch and hook. I am considering a variation where the top is bare cord and the knot is on the bottom rung, but it would be harder to set up initially.

(Then, in a subsequent follow-up e-mail...)

The knotting at the bottom for “Quick Release Ladder Lacing” works very well. The ladder brings the knot to a normal instep height and I can easily use the speed hooks to tighten the boot. It is tricky to lace and get the initial knot at the right tension, but once done, it's done.

– Glenn B., Sep-2020

Your method proved very helpful and as a result the UK military had adopted this as part of our procedures. It was very helpful and I can’t thank you enough.

Many thanks from all at the RAF Fire Service.

– Shaun K., Royal Air Force Fire & Rescue Service, UK

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2020-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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