Nothing brings an outfit together like a fine pair of boots. Whether they’re fresh off the rack or found at the bottom of your closet, you can make any pair of boots look good and feel comfortable with the right lacing technique.
Lacing your boots is similar to lacing shoes, but the extra room allows for some more options.
The lacing method you choose not only gives your boots a unique look, but certain styles can provide better function – how you lace your boots can make them feel more comfortable on your feet and provide extra support.
To try something new or get your boots back to looking their best, use one of these expert lacing techniques for the perfect look you want to achieve.
Before You Start Lacing
Before you decide which lacing method to use, you should consider the length of your laces compared to the size of your boots.
An easy way to do this is to count the number of eyelets your boots have and then measure your laces to make sure they aren’t too long or too short.
The majority of laces that come with a new pair of boots are the correct length for them, however, some lacing methods need more lace length than others.
You may need to replace the current laces with longer or shorter ones, or if you just want to change up the style of your boots, then you should measure your laces accordingly.
If you’re still unsure of how long your laces should be, then refer to this list as a guideline:
- 6-7 eyelets need 54” laces.
- 7-8 eyelets need 63” laces.
- 8-9 eyelets need 72” laces.
- 9-10 eyelets need 84” laces.
- 10-11 eyelets need 96” laces.
- 11-12 eyelets need 108” laces.
Well-known for being used in the military for our troops’ boots, this method is great for looking your best while allowing slack in the boot leather.
As military boots are often not the most comfortable shoes, known to take weeks to break in, soldiers have adopted this lacing method for its comfort as well as its presentability.
Appreciating this lacing style goes beyond military use, as it’s both practical and stylish. We recommend using high-contrast laces against your boots with this method, such as white on black.
Begin by stringing the lace through the bottom eyelets, moving from the inside to the outside.
Make sure you have an even number of eyelets. If you do not, then do the opposite and move from the outside to the inside instead.
After you’ve strung the bottom eyelet, hold the laces and check that they are the same length on either side.
Cross the lace diagonally over the tongue of your boot and under the next eyelet.
Do this for both sides of the lace. After you’ve done this, you should have a straight lace on the bottom eyelet with a cross above it.
After you’ve pulled the lace from the eyelet, string it through the next eyelet above it, making sure you’re coming from the outside in.
Do the same on the opposite side and repeat steps two and three until you have filled all the eyelets, or the laces are up to your ankles.
This method is widely used by US Paratroopers because it is very secure.
This rigid lacing technique allows them to land on the ground from a great height without having to worry about their boots becoming loose.
The Paratrooper Ladder looks great and keeps your laces firm and tight around your ankles, leaving you stylish and secure.
Run your laces through the bottom eyelet from the inside to the outside. Hold the laces up to ensure they are even on both sides.
Thread the lace through the next vertical eyelet above the bottom eyelet on both sides. Make sure you thread vertically and not horizontally.
Once you’ve done this, your laces should be on the side of your boots.
Cross the laces over the tongue of your boot and through the loop you’ve made threading into the two vertical eyelets. You should not run the lace through an eyelet in this step, only the loop you created in step two.
Thread your lace through the next vertical eyelet on both sides, just like you did in step two.
Repeat step three and four until your boot is laced.
This lacing technique is the most common, and it is how most boots are laced when they come from the manufacturer.
As the standard lacing method, most boots you try on will be laced this way.
This method is the easiest to do out of the techniques listed, however, to achieve a clean-looking lace, you need to take it slow and make sure the laces are lying flat on every cross.
This keeps the laces looking uniform and untwisted.
Run your shoelace through each of the bottom eyelets and pull the strings up to check that there is an equal amount on both sides. Make sure you run the lace from the outside to the inside.
Bring the lace diagonally over the tongue of the boot. Coming in from the top, thread the lace into the next eyelet, and repeat on the other side.
Be sure to always string the same side first, otherwise, the pattern will become inconsistent if you switch sides.
Continue step two until your boots are laced to the ankle. If you have excess lace, you can wrap the laces around your ankle before tying.
This is another simple method that creates parallel bars over the tongue of your boots.
This technique involves just one end of your lace, so getting the right length on either side might make more than one try.
This method lets you easily loosen the ankle of your boot, making it easier to slip your boots on and off where they are usually too tight.
Begin by stringing your lace through the bottom set of eyelets from the outside so that the lace is on the inside of the boot.
One side of the lace should be around five to seven inches long. Take the shorter end of the lace and thread it through the top eyelet on the ankle of your boot from the inside out.
With the long side of your lace, thread it through the next eyelet that lies horizontally to the eyelet you first threaded it through. Be sure to keep the short of your lace underneath the cross you’re creating.
Continuing with the longer end, bring your lace over the tongue of your boot to the next parallel eyelet and thread it through.
Repeat steps four and five, using only the long end of the shoelace up to the ankle.
At the last eyelet, the lace should be on the inside of your boot. The parallel eyelet at the top will have the short end of the lace in it.
Just thread the lace through the next vertical eyelet, from the inside to the outside. If either end of the shoelace is roughly the same length, you can then tie your boots and tighten the laces as you wish.
Over-Under And Friction-Free
This technique is a variation of the standard criss-cross method that boots usually have in store, or when shipped from a manufacturer.
This method causes less friction on your shoelaces, as it doesn’t rub against the eyelets. Your boots will be kept in good condition with this two-level crossing pattern.
Like the Army Method, for an even number of eyelets on your boots, thread your lace from the outside in, and for an odd number of eyelets, lace from the inside out.
Hold the laces up and check that both sides are even.
For even eyelets, start from one side and bring the lace over the tongue of your boot and through the opposite eyelet from the inside out.
For odd eyelets, do this in reverse – come from over the top of the boot and thread from the outside in.
Pull the lace through and repeat for the other side.
Next, bring the lace across diagonally and run it through the eyelet from the inside to the outside and repeat for the opposite side.
Repeat steps two and three until you’ve laced your boots to the ankle.
This lace pattern is similar to the Paratrooper Ladder. It’s another great technique that looks amazing with contrasting laces.
This method looks great on combat or service boots and can give your hiking boots extra ankle support. This method is both secure, comfortable, and stylish.
Thread your laces through the bottom eyelet from the inside out and hold the laces vertically to check that they are equal in length on both sides.
Bring both laces across your boot horizontally at the same time. Instead of threading them through the eyelets, twist them once around each other and pull them tight.
String the lace through the next vertical eyelet from the inside to the outside of the boot.
Repeat steps two and three until your boots are laced to the ankle.
This lacing method is great for relieving pressure on sensitive areas of your feet by creating a gap in the laces.
It can also be used on the ankle of your boot to increase flexibility in that area. This especially helps make tall, heavy boots more comfortable.
While the Gap Lacing method is primarily used for function, with the right laces, it can still look stylish and unique.
Thread the lace from the inside and out through the bottom eyelets.
At each parallel eyelet, cross the ends of your lace, feeding under the sides and out through the next vertical set of eyelets. Repeat step two until you are below the sensitive area of your foot.
Where you want to create a gap, simply thread the lace straight up the side to the next vertical set of eyelets.
Once you’ve created the gap, resume the crossing pattern until the boot is completely laced up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do These Methods Also Work On Other Types Of Shoes?
While these methods do work for other types of shoes, like sneakers, there are more practical techniques that are tailored to specific shoes.
There are many guides available to help lace your footwear correctly.
Should I Lace My Boots Up To The Ankle?
It is completely up to you whether you lace your boots up all the way, however, you may find it more comfortable and functional to lace your boots up to the ankle.
How Tightly Should I Lace My Boots?
When lacing your boots, you should make sure that they fit snugly but also comfortably.
Correctly laced boots should have good heel and ankle support, and also be comfortable on the arch of your foot.
Are Flat Laces Or Round Laces Better For Lacing Boots?
Round shoelaces are far more durable and stronger than flat laces, so are better for work boots. However, flat laces are better for sports activities.
If you’re wearing boots for fashion, then you should choose laces that you find most comfortable, and the easiest to lace through your boots.
What Does Lace-To-Toe Mean?
Lace-to-toe boots are commonly found on work boots, like firefighter boots. They are made with a design that pushes the laces towards the front of the boot, near the toe area.
This is done to make the boots more supportive and gives the user more control over their feet, due to the amount of lace coverage on the boot.
Here are some final things to consider when choosing a lacing method that suits you and your boots:
- Different lacing methods can give you better stability and comfort depending on the shape and size of your foot. For example, the Criss-cross Standard method works well for narrow feet because it can be easily adjusted, while the Army Method is better for wider feet as the gap in the laces gives the feet more room.
- To keep the consistency of your pattern when lacing your boots, always start on the same side you began with.
- Give yourself enough time to lace your boots properly, especially for boots that have over 10 eyelets.
- Get some heel inserts if you find your feet are moving around too much inside the boot. This will prevent the boots from rubbing your heels and causing blisters.
- Make sure your boots fit snugly and give you support on the key areas of your feet, such as the ankle, heel, and arch. This will protect you from strain and soreness when wearing your boots.
- To ensure your boots are secure and won’t come undone, consider the ways you can tie your shoelaces. For example, you can learn how to perfect a clean double knot by watching online tutorials.
There are plenty of ways to lace boots if you want to deviate from the default style they arrive in. A new lacing technique can improve the functionality of your boots and the overall style of your footwear.
With these lacing methods, you can give your old boots a new lease on life, or try something new on a brand-new pair of shoes.
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