Top 100 Shoe Lacing MethodsJames Guo
Shoe Lacing Methods
Mathematics tell us that there are more than 2 trillion ways to feed lace through the average of six pairs of eye holes on the shoe. This section introduces a fair extensive 58 lace series tutorial. They include traditional and alternative lacing methods that are either widely Used, have specific functions, or have special features, or I just like the look of it.
Criss Cross Lacing
This is probably the most common shoe lacing method of lacing normal shoes & boots. The laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe. Criss Cross is also a preferred lacing method for comfort, mainly because the crossovers of shoelace occur in the gap between the sides of the shoe and thus aren’t pressed against the top of the foot. Check more detail about criss cross lacing.
Over Under Lacing
This method reduces friction, making the lacing easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear. The laces alternate between crossing Over and Under. Check more detail about over under lacing.
This simple variation of Criss Cross Lacing skips a crossover to create a gap in the middle of the lacing, either to bypass a sensitive area on the instep or to increase ankle flexibility. Check more detail about gap lacing.
Straight European Lacing
This traditional method of Straight Lacing appears to be more common in Europe. The laces run straight across on the outside and diagonally on the inside. Check more detail straight european lacing.
Straight Bar Lacing
Also referred to as “Lydiard Lacing” or “Fashion Lacing”, this variation of Straight Lacing eliminates the underlying diagonals, which looks neater plus relieves pressure on the top ridge of the foot. Check more detail straight bar lacing.
Hidden Knot Lacing
By hiding the knot underneath, the result is an uninterrupted series of straight “bars” that looks particularly distinctive on dress shoes or sneakers alike. Check more detail abuot hidden knot lacing.
Straight Easy Lacing
This is a simplified variation of Straight Bar Lacing where one end runs straight from bottom to top while the other end steps through the eyelets. Check more detail about straight easy lacing.
End Shortening Lacing
A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with a convoluted path on the inside that invisibly consumes more shoelace, effectively “shortening” the ends. Check more detail about end shortening lacing.
Used by various military to lace tall combat boots. One end is anchored at the bottom and the other end is used for tying off at the top. Check more detail about commando lacing.
Hiking or Biking Lacing
An inside-out version of Straight Bar Lacing, which distributes pressure evenly plus keeps the knots & ends to the side, away from either snagging undergrowth or from bicycle chains & cranks. Check more detail about hiking & biking lacing.
Quick Tight Lacing
A straight lacing method that is split into two sections for quick and even tightening. Pulling one loose end tightens the top section, the other loose end tightens the bottom section. Check more detail about quick tight lacing.
A blend of Quick Tight Lacing and Corset Lacing, this complex method combines split sections plus closed loops at top for quick tightening of tall boots. Check more detail about gippo lacing.
Named by its Ukrainian inventor, this method has permanently-anchored loose ends plus a “captive” Starting Knot, which saves having to re-tie that first knot each time. Check more detail about ukrainian lacing.
Traditional lacing for corsets, in which the laces can be gripped and pulled very tightly via the middle loops. Useful for lacing boots extra tight or just for a different look. Check more detail about corset lacing.
This method has all of the underlying sections pulling at a steep angle, which shifts the alignment of the sides and may correct an otherwise ill-fitting shoe. Check more detail about sawtooth lacing.
So named because the angled sections look a bit like a lightning bolt, plus it is lightning fast to lace. The laces run diagonally on the outside and vertically on the inside. Check more detail about lightning lacing.
Shoe Shop Lacing
Previously common in shoe shops because many shoes came pre-laced this way from the factory. One end runs from bottom to top while the other end zig-zags through the remaining eyelets. Check more detail about shoe shop lacing.
Display Shoe Lacing
Shoe stores and photographers often use this inside-out version of Criss Cross Lacing on their display shoes in order to finish with the ends neatly hidden inside the shoe. Check more detail about display shoe lacing.
CAF Combat Boot Lacing
This subtle variation of Display Shoe Lacing is the official method prescribed by the Canadian Armed Forces for lacing combat boots, safety boots and lineman boots. Check more detail about caf combat boot lacing.
Separate sections of Criss Cross Lacing and Display Shoe Lacing, forming upright and inverted chevrons (∧, ∨) similar to those on military or police uniforms. Check more detail about chevron lacing.
This distinctive lacing is worn on military boots by paratroopers and ceremonial guard units. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure “ladder”. Check more detail about ladder lacing.
Spider Web Lacing
Like an angled version of Ladder Lacing, this decorative method is also worn on military boots. The laces weave vertically and diagonally, forming an intricate “web”. Check more detail about spider web lacing.
Double Back Lacing
This method looks interesting plus holds very firmly, but is terribly awkward to tighten. The lacing first runs down the shoe, then doubles back up the shoe. Check more detail about double back lacing.
Bow Tie Lacing
This method “lengthens” ends because it consumes the least amount of shoelace. The laces cross over on the outside and run vertically on the inside, forming a “bow-tie” outline. Check more detail about bow tie lacing.
This inside-out version of Bow Tie Lacing is used on combat boots by various armies. With the crossovers on the insides, the sides of the boots can flex more easily. Check more detail about army lacing.
Train Track Lacing
Like Army Lacing with the inside segments running straight across, the result looks like train tracks, and holds very tight because of the doubled laces through eyelets. Check more detail about train track lacing.
Winter Solstice Lacing
A fairly useless method, with the laces taking the shortest path through all the eyelets and with hardly any segments visible – reminiscent of the sun’s path in mid-winter. Check more detail about winter solstice lacing.
Left Right Lacing
Having one end always emerging through eyelets while the other end always feeds in through eyelets creates a series of “V” symbols that point alternately left and right. Check more detail about left right lacing.
Double Helix Lacing
This patented method has the laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. The resulting double helix reduces friction and allows faster, easier lacing. Check more detail about double helix lacing.
Locked Double Helix Lacing
A variation of Double Helix Lacing with inside-out crossovers, transforming it from a low-friction lacing that was fast and easy into a high-friction lacing that ‘locks’ each row. Sent to me by Matt J. Check more detail about locked double helix lacing.
Double Cross Lacing
This lacing is created by running three steps forward (on the inside), one step back (on the outside). The result is short, wide crosses overlapping tall, narrow crosses. Check more detail about double cross lacing.
Lacing across the ankle area in “2-1-3” sequence creates a firm Double Cross that reduces pinching and may help prevent painful “lace bite” in tightly laced boots or skates. Check more 2-1-3 lacing.
Like Double Cross Lacing, this method is also created by running three steps forward, one step back. The result resembles a diagonal series of hash “#” symbols. Check more detail about hash lacing.
Like a compressed Hash Lacing, this method runs two steps forward, one step back, with double-passes through eyelets. Resembles the grid of raised squares or diamonds of a waffle. Check more detail about waffle lacing.
This very popular method forms a decorative lattice in the middle of the lacing. The laces are crossed at a steep angle, allowing them to be woven through each other. Check more detail about lattice lacing.
This method “locks” the laces at each eyelet pair. Great for lacing skates tightly because the lower sections hold while tightening. It also looks interesting, a bit like a giant zipper. Check more detail about zipper lacing.
Riding Boot Lacing
Also referred to as “Bal-Lacing”, this method is for riding boots (motorbike or equestrian) whose sides are joined at the top and loosen near the ankle. The laces zig-zag from both ends and are tied in the middle. Check more detail about riding boot lacing.
One Handed Lacing
As an alternative to the One Handed Shoelace Knot, this way of lacing eliminates the need to even tie a knot by leaving one end loose. Check more detail about one handed lacing.
Also referred to as “Zoned Lacing”, this method divides the lacing into two or more segments, each of which can be laced up as tightly or loosely as necessary to achieve a comfortable yet secure fit for difficult shoes or feet. Check more detail about segmented lacing.
Knotted Segment Lacing
A more attractive though less flexible variation of Segmented Lacing in which a knot makes the lower segment of shoelace permanently tighter or looser. Check more detail about knotted segment lacing.
Loop Back Lacing
Each side loops back on itself down the middle, rather like when two springs become intertwined. However, those loop-backs tend to shift off-centre. Check more detail about loop back lacing.
Hill Valley Lacing
Pairs of rows are looped around each other, the peaked rows forming ‘hills’ and the dipped rows forming ‘valleys’. The name is also a tribute to the “Back to the Future” movies. Check more detail about hill valley lacing.
Adding an overhand knot at each crossover increases friction and keeps the lacing much firmer. Ideal for tightening ice skates, rollerblades, etc. Check more detail about knotted lacing.
Like a combination of Loop Back and Knotted Lacing, the laces are twisted together with a vertical overhand knot at each crossover before continuing to the other side. Check more detail about twistie lacing.
Alternating X-I-X-I on top of the shoe looks a little like Roman numerals. It’s most effective on dress shoes where the sides of the shoe meet in the middle. Check more detail about roman lacing.
This set of methods was taught to C.I.A. officers during the Cold War as a form of covert signalling, using straight segments interpersed with one or more visible crossovers at different positions. Check more detail about C.I.A. Lacing.
This purely decorative lacing forms a hexagram, or six-pointed star. This geometric symbol has been used for centuries in various cultures and religions, most notably as the Jewish “Star of David”. Check more detail about hexagram lacing.
This purely decorative lacing forms a pentagram, or five-pointed star. Besides the “magical” associations, solid five-pointed stars are found on many flags, most notably the fifty stars on the U.S. flag. Check more detail about pentagram lacing.
Lacing sets of three eyelet pairs with a crossover plus a straight section results in a series of asterisk [*] symbols. Best on shoes with multiples of three eyelet pairs (3, 6, 9, etc). Check more detail about asterisk lacing.
With all vertical segments hidden on the inside and all diagonal segments on the outside crossing at the middle of the shoe, the result looks like a Starburst. Check more detail about starburst lacing.
Like two Starbursts on top of each other, one on the outside, the other on the inside. Needs the maximum length of shoelace and is useful for “shortening” long laces. Check more detail about supernova lacing.
Zig Zag Lacing
This twin-rail zig-zag is a bit like a winding road or marble race. The laces alternately run vertically on the inside or wrap around the vertical sections on the opposite side. Check more zig zag lacing.
With crossovers running at progressively steeper angles towards the toes, this lacing should feel progressively tighter towards the ankles, plus it looks decorative. Check more detail about progressive lacing.
This decorative lacing has overlapping segments running at varying slopes similar to Progressive Lacing, forming a sideways perspective grid. Check more detail about perspective lacing.
Decorative lacing whose outline resembles fish swimming alternately left and right, reminiscent of the tesselated prints from Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Check more detail about escher lacing.
A decorative lacing with each row looped under the previous row, forming a diagonal series of loops that appears to ‘cascade’ down the shoe. Check more detail about cascade lacing.
Cyclone Fence Lacing
Alternately looping under the left and right of previous rows forms a decorative lacing that resembles a section of the diamond pattern of cyclone fencing (or ‘chain-link’ fencing). Check more detail cyclone fence lacing.
An “extreme lacing” for those who want a decorative method that others would never attempt. The laces are woven up and down between adjacent rows, creating an intricate mesh. Check more detail about woven lacing.
Footbag players use this lacing to open up the front of their shoes, making it easier to catch or otherwise control the footbag (or “Hacky Sack”). Check more detail about footbag lacing.
Not a lacing method as much as a technique for creating a super-tight finish. It’s often recommended to help reduce heel slippage in running or climbing shoes. Also referred to as “Lace Lock”, “Loop Lacing Lock”, “Heel Lock” or “Runner’s Tie”. Check more detail about lock lacing.
Check more shoe lacing methods.