Straight Bar Lacing

Lacing (pic)

Horizontal “bars” on the outside with inner, hidden verticals, which looks neat plus relieves pressure on the upper ridge of the foot.

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.

• 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 lacing is completed.


• Variation 1 is for shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs.

• Variation 2 is for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs (see details below).



Even no. of eyelets = neat

Odd no. of eyelets = messy

“Lengthens” ends


• Also referred to as “Lydiard Lacing”, named after the influential running coach Arthur Lydiard.

• Although this method is visibly symmetrical, it isn't functionally symmetrical. This is most noticeable when tightening or loosening. Lacing the left and right shoes in reverse (flipped horizontally) results in a pair with functional symmetry.

Odd Eyelet Pairs Limitation

Straight Bar Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs (eg. 8 pairs = 16 eyelets). This is because the shoelace must cross the shoe an even number of times so that the ends meet in the middle and can be tied together.

On shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs (eg. 7 pairs = 14 eyelets), a workaround is needed so that the ends still meet. The “across and back” workaround (shown above) is probably the best compromise in terms of retaining the overall look plus allowing a regular knot.

See below for several other odd workarounds.

Sports / Military Advice

Like other straight lacing methods, Straight Bar 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!

Straight Bar Lacing Video

Shoelace Lengths for Straight Bar Lacing

Pairs of
length needed
ends by
8 pairs112 cm44 in+10.5 cm+4.1 in
7 pairs109 cm43 in+6.9 cm+2.7 in
6 pairs96 cm38 in+8.2 cm+3.2 in
5 pairs93 cm37 in+4.6 cm+1.8 in
4 pairs80 cm31 in+5.9 cm+2.3 in
3 pairs76 cm30 in+2.3 cm+0.9 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

• 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.

Odd Workarounds

As mentioned above, Straight Bar Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs. Here's several common workarounds for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs, using sample diagrams with seven pairs of eyelets.

Ends Tucked In

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 1

This first diagram shows how the ends don't meet naturally across the top of the shoe. For a quick fix, simply tuck the ends into the shoe diagonally across from each other at the top and second-from-top eyelets.

For a tighter fit, you could also permanently anchor the ends inside the eyelets, either with simple stopper knots or using “Lace Anchors”.

Across and Back

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 2

As shown in more detail in the main lacing diagram above, the second-from-top straight section runs straight across from left-to-right (on the outside), then right-to-left (on the inside), tucking under the vertical section on the left side. The inner straight section is fairly well hidden by the outer straight section, especially with flat shoelaces. Contributed by Jeremy J.

Twice Through One Eyelet

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 3

Lace the shoe normally, then at the top of the shoe, both ends emerge through the same top eyelet (in this case, the top-right). Feed one end across and out through the opposite eyelet (in this case, the top-left). When the ends are tied, there will be a double-pass across the top, but this will be fairly well hidden by the shoelace knot. Contributed by Dan S.

One Diagonal

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 4

Use a single diagonal somewhere in the lacing. At the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. At the bottom, it can even be run around the inside of the tongue to hide the diagonal, though at the expense of some slight discomfort. Near the middle, a diagonal may be positioned to line up with and run through a tongue centering loop (if the shoe has one).

One Crossover

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 5

Instead of trying to hide a single diagonal, this alternative makes a feature out of a single crossover, similar to the look of Roman Lacing. This crossover can be placed at either the top or bottom of the lacing, but unlike the above “One Diagonal” variation, it cannot be placed in the middle of the lacing.

Double Overlap

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 6

Like a squashed version of the above “One Crossover” variation, both ends run straight across one pair of eyelets and feed a second time through the opposite eyelets. Near the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. Near the bottom, any difficulty with tightening or loosening this section is not so noticeable as the shoe doesn't need to open wide at that point.

Combine with Lock Lacing

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 7

Lace normally up to the second pair of eyelets from the top, then finish with a High Lace Lock through the top two pairs of eyelets. Although this doesn't look as neat, it does pull the lacing extra tight.

See the Lock Lacing page for more information.

Skip One Eyelet Pair

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 8

All of the above odd workarounds are laced normally through an even number of eyelet pairs, then something is added that may be either visually or functionally awkward. An alternative is to not add anything – instead leaving either the top or the bottom pair of eyelets empty, or even to skip one pair of eyelets somewhere in the middle of the lacing.

Cut and Tie Off

Straight Bar Lacing Odd Workaround 9

Finally, if you're prepared to cut your shoelaces, the two portions can be anchored diagonally opposite each other at the bottom of the shoe, either with simple stopper knots or using “Lace Anchors”.

Note that the two “half” shoelaces should be different lengths. Use the calculations for Half & Half Straight Bar Lacing in the Shoelace Length Calculator.

Visitor Feedback

I watched your YouTube video multiple times but couldn't figure it out. It was only when I came to your site and saw that photo/video tutorial was I able to learn to bar lace.

- Saara S., Nov-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 just wanted to thank you for your content. My daughter had her first appearance with a marching band on the weekend and she told me the night before that she need to use bar lacing for her shoes, so we searched youtube and one of your videos came up. Then we checked out your web site to get more helpful info. My daughter was so entertained that she then bought your iOS app and spent some time looking through all of the different lacing patterns.

At any rate, the way you have everything explained with the various resources made it easy for us to get the lacing right and it made a late night before an early morning trip to a parade that much easier to get through.

– Olaf A., May-2022

It increases flex at my instep on all pairs of my footwear that I use Straight Bar lacing on. It's the most comfortable method I have ever tried. The art of the straight bar went away after the 1970s and now roughly 90% of people do not know about it, ergo its benefits, thus never learning different methods besides the over at the first row of eyelets then under towards the rest of the rows - usually tucking in the laces inside of the shoe (tied/untied), how awful is that for the health of your feet? We need the education to come back. Most people I've seen and heard of have barely any lace to make a knot that's nice and moderate in size and sits neatly on the tongue. I always suggest to straight bar because of the extra lace length for a knot, also increasing flex and overall comfort. It's perfect; best aesthetic, more room for tightening up (while still comfort at maximum tension) unlike other common lacing methods, increases the length of the laces for the knot (allowing current/old pairs of laces to be used, more cost effective/more environmentally friendly), is the classic and historical way of lacing up dress shoes and runners - the list goes on!

The only downsides to straight bar lacing is having to relearn how to loosen & tighten, and utilising a workaround the user is comfortable with for all pairs with odd numbered eyelet rows.

– Sam, Australia, Jun-2021

I bought too short laces by mistake for my skate shoes, didn't know what to do so I found your lacing guide and went for the straight bar method, it lengthened the laces perfectly and actually more comfortable and better looking.

– David W., UK, Jul-2013

Hey Ian, here is a way I used to lace some odd numbered eyelet shoes in the straight method, without having a crossover or anything else that stands out. Apologies if this has already been added or there are any errors in my picture.

– Dan S., USA, Jul-2008

Ian's Comment: Dan contributed the “Twice Through One Eyelet” workaround.

– Ian Fieggen, Jul-2008

I always had pain in my feet because of the pressure which the Straight European Lacing applied on them. Since I've changed to Straight Bar Lacing, the pain's all gone and my shoes look overall more tidy.

– Alex M., Kall, Germany, May-2008

I also noticed that with this method of lacing you end up with alot more lace at the end, allowing you to tie bigger bows/knots, thus making it less likely your shoe will come undone.

– Rob S., UK, Nov-2006

I have come up with a type of lacing that I don't see on your site that solves a specific problem – straight lacing on a 3-eyelet boot or shoe. It may be adaptable to a shoe with other odd numbers of eyelets as well. I thought you might be interested to add it to your list and make one of the easy-to-understand diagrams of it.

– Jeremy J., admin, USA, Dec-2005

Ian's Comment: Jeremy contributed the “Across and Back” workaround.

– Ian Fieggen, Dec-2005

I have just been distracted from my work, by the arrival of a new pair of canvas low-top converse sneakers from the states. Very pleased with them, I started to lace them up, using a method I now know as “Straight (Fashion) Lacing” - and I tried... and I tried... and it just wouldn't work... So (not keen to get on with my work) I thought I'd try to find out why it wouldn't work... I hit google – and there you are explaining that this method only works on EVEN numbers of eyelets – OH!! I see now! (I have seven)...

– Nick, London, UK, Jun-2005

New Balance has had this method on it's website for awhile now as a way of taking pressure off the top of the foot, especially for those with high arches.

It may not work for those who like their shoes to feel as though they fit like a glove. The sensation is of a looser fit, though there is no movement. I think it may just be the fact it feels different, not that it's really any looser.

– Jim G., Canada, Jan-2005

Just to tell you, the Straight (Fashion) lacing is the method of lacing [Canadian] Air Cadets use! And I'm an Air Cadet, and I finally found the way of the Straight (Fashion) for the Parade Boots we use.

– Delon R., Canada, Jan-2005

I'm aware that not all military is American, and not all American military is the Army, but you may want to note that in the US Army, straight lacing is against regulations for at least the most common type of boot worn, the standard black leather combat boot. I swear, there's a silly regulation for everything. You can read here ( if you like, but I'll save you the trouble of loading it up....

c. How worn.
(1) The boots are laced diagonally with black laces, with the excess lace tucked into the top of the boot under the bloused trousers or slacks, or wrapped around the top of the boot. [....]

I had to look it up because I really wanted to try the straight lace, but it looks like I can't, and I don't want other people to get into trouble over it--I'm not sure just how popular your site is, really.

– Shannon S., USA, Jan-2005

Btw, you of all people probably already know this, but the Straight (Fashion) lacing is the same as the technique recommended/popularized by Arthur Lydiard, a pioneer in training for runners.

– David M., USA, Sep-2004

With an odd number of eyelets, or even with an even number, the straight lacing lends itself well to not tying the laces at all or not having to tie them often. One can simply tie them behind the tounge of the shoe where they remain tied (odd number of eyelets) or they can just tuck them in untied (odd or even), though I prefer the former. With some practice and luck, one can get the shoe to be tight enough on the foot yet loose enough to just slip on and slip off.

– Oren H., USA, Jun-2004

I settled on the straight (fashion) lacing because of how “clean” it looks and because they are on my daily “casual” work shoes, and was surprised at how easy it was (your instructions on the whole site are wonderful).

– Russell H., Dallas, TX, USA, Feb-2004

I have a different method for straight lacing, which I find to be both practical and fashionable (it eliminates the so called background mess associated with the “European” style if a wide gap is present).

– Tyrell P., Dec-2003

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 shoelaces from Loop King Laces (USA)
Click to buy shoelaces from Loop Queen (USA)
Click to buy shoelaces from Laced Up Laces (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)

This page last updated: 24-Jun-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

Gallery photo

❌ Close