Shoe Lacing Methods

A variety of 62 guides on how to tie shoes, covering everything from the basic to the elaborate, the practical to the military.

There Are Various Methods for Tying Shoelaces (No. 62)

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The Lacing is Crossed

The laces simply crisscross themselves as they ascend the shoe, making this the most typical method of lacing shoes and boots.

Cross-Over Shoelaces

Reduces wear and friction by switching between outer and inner crossovers, making it easier to tighten and loosen.

Gap Lacing diagramGap Lacing photo Gap Lacing

Bypass a sore spot on your foot or give your ankles more wiggle room by lacing your shoes without a crossover.

Fastening Laces

Extra tightening is provided by vertical segments with the ends passing underneath to form "pulleys," which lock the heels and prevent them from slipping out of running or climbing shoes.

Standard European-style straight lacing

The traditional straight lacing, which was more popular in Europe, has horizontal and vertical lacing sections on the outside and diagonals on the inside.

With a Straight Bar for Lacing

Shoes with horizontal "bars" on the outside and hidden verticals on the inside look great and make the ball of the foot more comfortable.

Slipping on a pair of commando shoes

The military uses these to lace their heavy duty boots. The rope is tied off at the top and anchored at the bottom.

Lacing Up for a Hike or Ride

Useful for both hiking and biking because it evenly distributes weight and keeps knots and ends from getting caught in the brush on the inside or tangled in the chains on the outside.

Rapid and Secure Lacing

A slitted version of traditional straight laces allows for rapid, even tightening. Both the top and bottom sections can be tightened by pulling on the slack ends.

Ukraine's Lacing Method

There are no dangling threads, and the beginning knot is "captive," so you never have to untie it. (It comes from Vitaliy Gnatenko)

Lacing a corset

Lacing for corsets, traditionally done so that the laces can be grasped and pulled very tightly through the middle loops. Effective, but odd in appearance

With a Sawtooth Weave

All the inner diagonals are pulled at an acute angle, which changes the shoe's side-to-side alignment and could make a loose-fitting pair of shoes more comfortable.

Bolts of lightning splicing

It's lightning fast to lace up and almost looks like a lightning bolt. Outside, the laces are diagonal and inside they are vertical.

Retail Shoe-Tying

This method of lacing shoes was once widely used by retailers because so many shoes were shipped pre-laced. The other end zigzags through the remaining eyelets while the first runs from bottom to top.

The Process of Lacing Military Boots

To lace your combat boots, safety boots, or lineman boots according to the official method prescribed by the Canadian Armed Forces

Step-by-Step Ladder Construction

Paratroopers and other military personnel have their own special lacing system for their boots. The ladder-like structure is formed by laces that interlace horizontally and vertically.

Easily Detachable Ladder-Style Lacing

This lacing system is designed to make it easier to take off tall boots with multiple eyelets by requiring only a few motions to release the top row.

Intricately Laced Like a Spider Web

A style of embellishment commonly seen on military footwear The laces form an intricate "web" by interlacing vertically and diagonally.

Dual-loop rear lace-up

Laces travel down the shoe and around the tongue twice before returning to the top. Holds very securely and has an intriguing appearance, but it's difficult to adjust.

How to Tie a Bow Tie

Outline of a "bow tie" is made up of vertical sections on the inside and crossovers on the outside. This "lengthens" the ends of the shoelaces while consuming fewer of them.

Military Lacing

As seen on combat boots worn by numerous militaries. Crossovers in the interior and verticals on the exterior make the sides more flexible, making them ideal for even the stiffest of army boots.

Lacing the Rails

The outer verticals and the doubled inner horizontals evoke railroad tracks and sleepers, respectively. Doubling up on eyelet passes makes for a snug fit.

Affixing a Winter Solstice Lace

Like the sun's path in the middle of winter, the laces take the shortest route through all the eyelets.

Left/Right Lacing

The ends always "V" out to the left and right, with one coming out and the other feeding in through eyelets.

Lacing in a Double Helix

Outer laces slanted one way, inner laces the other. Because of the double helix's decreased friction, fastening and loosening are facilitated with greater ease and speed. (Taken from a work by Monte Fisher.)

Tied in a pair of crosses

The lacing goes three forward and one back on the inside. This leads to a proliferation of short, wide crosses that cover up taller crosses.

Speedy Lacing: 1-2-3

If you want to avoid painful "lace bite" in tightly laced boots or skates, try lacing them in a "2-1-3" sequence across the ankle area.

Threading Hashish

The laces form a diagonal series of hash "#" symbols, with three forward steps on the outside and one backward step on the inside.

Laced with Waffles

This technique involves a two-forward, one-back motion, with two passes through eyelets. Waffle-like in its gridlike appearance.

Lacing in a Lattice

A decorative lattice is formed in the center by weaving the outer segments through each other at a sharp angle.

Closure: Zipper

You can get a tighter fit by hooking the laces under the previous crossover at each eyelet. Similar to a huge zipper, it's an intriguing sight.

Fastening the Laces on Riding Boots

Designed for boots that have a slit in the middle, such as those used for equestrian or motorcycle riding. The laces zigzag in both directions before meeting in the middle to secure the shoe.

Lacing With One Hand

Secured at the top and lacing all the way down, the friction of the eyelets is enough to keep things in place without any additional knots.

Lacing in Sections

When you use two shoelaces in each shoe, you can adjust the tightness or looseness of the laces independently for optimal comfort.

Back-looped lacing

Like when two springs become entangled, each side loops back on itself along the middle. These recurrences may rotate out of alignment.

Laces from the Hill Valley

The rows are looped in pairs, the peaks forming "hills" and the valleys "valleys." The name is an homage to the film series "Back to the Future."

Lacing that's been knotted

In some situations, like when lacing up skates, a half knot at each crossover can increase friction and hold the lacing much more firmly.

Stitching in the Roman Style

X's and I's on the outside make verticals on the inside look like Roman numerals; this design is appropriate for either casual or formal footwear.

An CIA-Laced

Instructed on a C I A Cold War era military officers would conceal their communications by inserting one or more crossovers labeled "signal" between otherwise straight lines. (Adapted from a work by Robert Wallace)

Inlay of a Hexagram

Creates an attractive "hexagram," or six-pointed star, which has religious and ceremonial significance in a variety of traditions.

The Art of Pentagram Lacing

Converts into a decorative "pentagram," or five-pointed star seen on everything from Converse sneakers to the flags of various countries.

Interlacing of asterisked

A series of decorative asterisk "*" symbols can be achieved by lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover and a straight section.

Lacing with a Starburst Pattern

A starburst pattern emerges from the intersection of the vertical sections at the center of the shoe and the diagonal sections at the edges.

Lacing the sky with a supernova

The inside and outside diagonals overlap and meet in the center. Needs a long shoelace but can't have it cut short.

Stitching in a Zigzag Pattern

The laces create a twin-rail zig-zag by alternating between inner verticals and outer diagonals that wrap around the opposite verticals.

Gradual Lacing

Toe-crossings that slant ever-more-steeply downwards A decorative touch and a gradually tightening sensation down to the ankles.

Synthesis of Multiple Viewpoints

A horizontal perspective grid is formed by vertical segments on the inside and diagonal segments with overlapping, varying slopes on the outside.

"Escher Lacing"

Lacing with an outline reminiscent of M.C. Escher's signature fish that swim both left and right

Lacing in a Cascade

A decorative lacing in which each row of loops is laced under the row below it, creating a cascade effect as the laces move down the shoe in a diagonal direction. To quote Tim Talley:

Cyclone-Related Fence-Lacement

A decorative lacing is created by looping under the left and right of the previous rows in alternating fashion, much like a section of cyclone fencing.

Lacing woven in

Someone who wants to try something that most people wouldn't even think of doing will need this "extreme lacing." The laces intertwine between the rows, making a complex web.

Lacing Shoe Bags

When playing footbag, or "Hacky Sack," players loosen the laces on the front of their shoes so that they have more control over the ball.

Laces Tied on Space Boots at NASA

Used on the boots of early astronauts in the space program. A doubled-up shoelace winds its way upward, going in and out of each eyelet to secure the shoe.