Lacing across the ankle area in “2-1-3” sequence reduces pinching and may help prevent painful “lace bite” in tightly laced boots or skates.
• Below the ankle area, the boot is laced with basic Criss Cross Lacing, with the final crossover on the outside so that the lace ends feed in through the eyelets.
• Only at the ankle area, the lacing runs in a “2-1-3” sequence as follows:
• Cross the ends on the inside and emerge through the set of eyelets two rows higher up (skip past one row). This is row 2 of the “2-1-3” sequence.
• Cross the ends on the outside and feed in through the next lower set of eyelets. This is row 1 of the “2-1-3” sequence.
• Cross the ends on the inside and emerge through the set of eyelets two rows higher up (skip past one row). This is row 3 of the “2-1-3” sequence.
• Above the ankle area, resume basic “Criss Cross Lacing” to the top of the boot.
Firm across ankle
Tricky to tighten
Heavy boots such as work boots, logging boots and army boots as well as active footwear like ice skates and roller skates are often tightly laced for stability. This tight lacing can cause the leather to pinch and press into the tendons on the ankle upper, which in turn can lead to a painful condition known as “lace bite”.
The theory behind Two-One-Three Lacing is that the three overlapping crossovers form a very firm section that makes the boot less likely to pinch and instead conform more evenly to the bend in the ankle – especially during the “breaking-in” period.
Note that Two-One-Three Lacing is probably not a good solution for someone already suffering “lace bite” and seeking relief. Instead, a more open method such as Gap Lacing is preferable because it actually removes pressure from the affected area.
Shoelace Lengths for Two-One-Three Lacing
|10 pairs||157 cm||62 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|9 pairs||147 cm||58 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|8 pairs||136 cm||54 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|7 pairs||126 cm||50 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|6 pairs||115 cm||45 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|5 pairs||105 cm||41 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|4 pairs||94 cm||37 in||–1.4 cm||–0.6 in|
|3, 2 pairs = (N/A)|
• 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.
i have tried out some other styles just to see what they look like up close on my blazers...i really like the two-one-three style it's very comfortable.
– Tony, Indiana, USA, Jul-2023
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SITE I HAVE BEN SKATING WIH SUCH HORRIBLE FOOT ACHES AND TOOK NE A WHILE BUT FOUND A PATTERN TO WHERE I NO LONGER HAVE ANY FOOT ACHES AT ALL
– A. M., Mar-2020
The lacing did an amazing job,keeping the shoes very tight while hiking.
– Manuel B., Jul-2019
I've just recovered from a sprained ankle and remembered the 2-1-3 lacing method from figure skating.
It feels great! Right foot has the injury/is actually how I wear the boot currently. Tightening is difficult!! (but worth it).
– Maura H., USA, Nov-2017
I got my first pair of White's boots about 20 years ago. I was living in Colorado in the western United States, where these boots have been relied upon by generations of ranchers, firefighters, and outdoorsman for over 100 years.
At the time, a seasoned wildland firefighter “in-the-know” schooled me in the proper care and wearing of these unique boots, which are handmade in Oregon (USA) and are completely rebuildable.
That edubication included gems like filling new boots with boiling water to soften the leather, pouring it out and lacing them tightly to customize the fit (the shank is leather vs steel), and lacing them this way. The leather in the upper and shaft is 7-8 oz leather, and quite a bit heavier than the leather in most other shoes. Factor in the fully gusseted tongue (which is folded over double when lacing), AND lacing in a full length leather brush guard/kiltie, you're looking at 4-7 layers of leather right at the fold at the ankle. The resulting stiffness, which can be made worse by traditional Crisscross lacing, is referred to as boot bite in these new and stiff boots, due to the resulting pinching on the top of the foot.
This method serves two functions:
1. It relieves having a criss-cross lace over the top of the foot and relieves the pinching, and
2. It “trains” the boot to flex properly while breaking it in by allowing the laces to shift.
The “boot bite” I mentioned (which, ironically, my friend calls “White's bite”) is a common problem for this type of leather boot when its new and stiff and still breaking in to your foot. While I have adopted (and adapted) this lace style for my everyday use, my friend prefers it for new boots only.
– Mike S., USA, Oct-2013
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