Sawtooth Lacing

Lacing (pic)

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.

Eight pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique

• 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.

• The right (yellow) end runs diagonally up and left on the inside, then straight across on the outside. Repeat with alternate ends until one end reaches the top left eyelet.

• The remaining end runs straight up on the inside and out through the top right eyelet.


Easier to tighten

Modifies fit

Mis-aligns sides

“Lengthens” ends


Lace the shoe so that the angled sections point towards whichever corner of the shoe feels loose. When the laces are tightened, the angled sections will pull that corner inwards, altering the fit. Naturally, the left and right shoes should be laced in reverse (flipped horizontally) in order to balance both the look and the effect on both feet.

Sports / Military Advice

Like other straight lacing methods, Sawtooth Lacing has an additional benefit for sporting or military use: The upper horizontal sections of shoelace can be quickly cut through with a knife or scissors in order to more easily remove a boot 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!

Sawtooth Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Sawtooth Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs129 cm51 in+2.3 cm+0.9 in
7 pairs118 cm46 in+2.6 cm+1.0 in
6 pairs107 cm42 in+2.8 cm+1.1 in
5 pairs96 cm38 in+3.0 cm+1.2 in
4 pairs85 cm34 in+3.2 cm+1.3 in
3 pairs74 cm29 in+3.4 cm+1.3 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

I work as a desktop IT analyst in a hospital, so the amount of walking I do in a day is always impressive to my desk job partner when I come home and proudly announce my step counter results every day, so I needed an IT shoe (and lace pattern) with a sneaker sole (and lace pattern) and I felt the Sawtooth was the perfect answer for my new Cole Haan wingtips.

– Ren O'D., Jun-2023

Made my shoes fit more comfortably, they kept sliding off the back of my heels before😉.

– Ashley M., Sep-2022

i tried it yesterday and found it looked a bit messy on the boots I used. also allowed some mis-alignment.

– Jonathan W., Aug-2015

I come in contact with you site as I was looking for a way to get my slight ill-fitting working shoes more comfortable. Turned out that a sawtooth lacing did the trick. And as a bonus I even learned how to tie my shoes! (not doing granny-knots) Thanks!

– Daniel D., Sweden, Jul-2012

I am a very competitve soccer player ... I tried the sawtooth pattern, and it seemed to pull the side of my boot tighter when angled towards the inside of my foot, which seems to improve my touch on that side.

– Tyler L., Sep-2007

You might like to put that the Sawtooth lacing works really well on Converse High-Tops. They're often naturally unaligned and this helps a lot.

– Bridget P., Jun-2006

i chose this method because it actually did help them become more comfortable.

– Aaron M., Mar-2006

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

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This page last updated: 24-Jun-2024. Copyright © 2004-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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