Shoe Shop Lacing

Lacing (pic)

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.

Eight pairs of eyelets, variation 1

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Lacing Technique – Variation 1 – Long diagonal segment

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

• The left (blue) end runs diagonally all the way up the inside and out through the top right eyelet.

• The right (yellow) end runs diagonally up and left on the inside, then straight across on the outside. Repeat until lacing is completed.


• Variation 1 has the long segment running diagonally from bottom-left to top-right.

• Variation 2 has the long segment running vertically from bottom-left to top-left. This looks neater but distorts the shoe slightly.


Easy to lace

Mis-aligns sides

End lengths shift

“Shortens” ends


• This method is non-symmetrical. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) results in a symmetrical looking pair.

• I've been told that Shoe Shop Lacing is – or was – used by the British military.

• Sometimes referred to as “Factory Lacing” or “Single Helix Lacing”.

Sports / Military Advice

Like other straight lacing methods, Shoe Shop 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!

Shoe Shop Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Shoe Shop Lacing

Variation 1 – Long diagonal segment
Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs139 cm55 in–2.8 cm–1.1 in
7 pairs127 cm50 in–2.2 cm–0.9 in
6 pairs116 cm46 in–1.6 cm–0.6 in
5 pairs104 cm41 in–1.1 cm–0.4 in
4 pairs93 cm37 in–0.6 cm–0.2 in
3 pairs81 cm32 in–0.2 cm–0.1 in
2 pairs70 cm28 in
Variation 2 – Long vertical segment
Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs134 cm53 in–0.4 cm–0.2 in
ends by
7 pairs122 cm48 in+0.3 cm+0.1 in
6 pairs111 cm44 in+0.9 cm+0.4 in
5 pairs99 cm39 in+1.6 cm+0.6 in
4 pairs87 cm34 in+2.3 cm+0.9 in
3 pairs75 cm30 in+3.0 cm+1.2 in
2 pairs63 cm25 in+3.6 cm+1.4 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

• Longer shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

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

More details about length comparisons.

Visitor Feedback

I see it often by default on shoes from Hugo Boss ...

– Jack C., Jan-2019

I was led to believe by my dad ... that his dad obviously my grandad learned how to lace your shoe shop method when in the British Army. I am the biggest pacifist the world has ever known so it's not for any military reasons that I choose the shoe shop method, I just want to keep what I honestly believe is my family's method going.

– Mike L., Sep-2018

In most shoe stores, the shoes come pre-laced from the manufacturer, either with “Shoe Shop” lacing or “Display Shoe” lacing, depending on the type of shoe.

The shop assistant rarely laces new shoes at all, except in the cases where the store has a policy of relacing shoes to make them easier for customers to try on (usually with Straight (European) Lacing or Criss-Cross Lacing).

– Lars R., shoe store assistant, Jul-2008

I had been using a version of the Shoe Shop technique which came with the skates, but you are right about the end lengths shifting.

– Trevor H., Jun-2004

We go bushwalking a lot and I find that the shop method of lacing the boot is best because it means that the lace system can be slackened off at the top and the bottom simultaneously and conversely tightened from both ends.

Also the lace should last longer because the same part of the lace does not bear against the eyelets as the top eyelets have to be relaced every time the boots are worn. The end length shift can be corrected with practise and helps to reduce the wear on the laces.

– Tom P., New Zealand, Apr-2004

I have heard Brit Army types occasionally refer to the shoe shop lacing style as “parade lacing”.

– Ron B., UK, Jan-2004

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

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