The Art of Shoe Lacing

The Art of

Shoe Lacing


You tie your shoes every day, almost in a mechanical and unconscious way.
But with this post, you’ll learn the secrets of shoe lacing and you’ll see some fascinating ways of tying shoe laces.
You can even try to tie your shoes in some of the ways we’ll show, as long as you have the patience and the time that’s needed….

Shoelace Origins and History

The inventor of the modern shoelace is supposedly Harvey Kennedy, but several forms of shoelaces appear throughout history. Harvey Kennedy registered “his” invention in 1970, and received $2,500,000 from his patent of the shoelace.
Archaeological artifacts show us shoe fastening devices have been around in all cultures throughout the course of ancient and modern history. Even the defrosting of an authentic ancient “iceman”, showed the use of shoelaces, as he was wearing hide boots laced closed with bark thongs. British museums have on exhibit in their hallowed halls, boots and shoes using shoelaces as far back as the 12th century. Laces were used to keep many types of sandals on the feet of Greeks and Romans as many pictures depict and stories tell. Native Americans, over the centuries, used leather thongs and laces to secure animal hide moccasins and winter leg-gins to their feet and legs.

Shoelaces have never been just a modern method of securing a shoe to the foot.
History shows us for centuries humans have used leather, cotton, hemp and bark as shoelaces
and thongs to attach their shoes to their feet.

Math & Shoelacing

Burkard Polster, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, used combinatorial mathematics to come up with his proof. This branch of maths is used to solve a huge variety of problems, including resource allocation and finding the best ways to lay chips in a computer.
Formulas describing the physics of pulleys were used to work out how much force is exerted on the sides of a shoe using different lacing techniques. The most widely used “criss-cross” and “straight” lacing patterns were identified as the strongest.
But criss-cross came out on top for a short, wide set of eyeholes – that is, when the vertical distance between eyeholes is low, and horizontal distance is high. Straight lacing came out tops for a long, skinny set of eyeholes.
Both sets of calculations, which ran to over 30 pages, were based on an idealised shoe. For example, the eyelets are perfectly aligned, and the shoe exists only in one plane. The proofs also ignore certain physical properties, such as the friction exerted by the lace on the eyehole.
Nonetheless, for an idealised shoe, the proofs cover every conceivable lacing pattern.There are 400 million different ways of lacing a shoe with only seven pairs of eyelets. “Even if God wears shoes with 100 eyelets, these proofs will predict the shortest and the strongest lacings,” says Polster.

Lacing Techniques

Lacing Technique: Over Under Lacing
1)._ The lace is run straight across the bottom (grey section) and is fed into both bottom eyelets.
2)._ The ends are crossed over underneath and emerge from the next set of eyelets up the shoe, then crossed over on top and fed into the next set of eyelets.
3)._ Repeat step (2) until both ends reach the top eyelets.

(from Ian’s shoe lacing site)

Lacing Technique: Straight (Bar) Lacing
1)._ The lace runs straight across the bottom (grey section) and the ends are fed into both bottom eyelets.
2)._ One end of the lace (yellow end) runs straight up the right side, emerges and runs straight across the second set of eyelets.
3)._ Both ends now run straight up the left side, each skipping one eyelet before emerging two eyelets higher up.
4)._ Continue running both ends across the shoe, then straight up two eyelets at a time, until one end reaches the top.
5)._ The other end then runs straight across the second last set of eyelets, then straight up to the top.

(from Ian’s shoe lacing site)

Lacing Technique: Ladder Lacing
1)._ The lace is run straight across the bottom (grey section) and emerges through both bottom eyelets.
2)._ The laces then go straight up and are fed into the next set of eyelets up the shoe.
3)._ The ends are crossed over and are fed under the vertical lace section on the opposite sides of the shoe before going straight up and into the next set of eyelets up the shoe.
4)._ At the top set of eyelets, the laces can once again cross over and pass under the straight section as shown. This not only looks consistent with the rest of the lacing but (as pointed out by Kyle B. in U.S.A.) this also forms a High Lace Lock, which tightens the lacing even more firmly.


(from Ian’s shoe lacing site)

Lacing Technique: Lattice Lacing
Method 1 – Shorter Laces:
1)._ The lace runs straight across the bottom (grey section) and emerges from both bottom eyelets.
2)._ Cross the ends over and feed into the 4th set of eyelets up the shoe (skip past 2 sets of eyelets).
3)._ Both ends now run straight up and emerge from the 5th set of eyelets.
4)._ Cross the ends over and feed into the 2nd set of eyelets up the shoe (skip past 2 sets of eyelets).
5)._ Both ends now run straight up and emerge from the 3rd set of eyelets.
6)._ Cross the ends over, feed under and emerge from the top set of eyelets (skip past 2 sets of eyelets). Alternatively, feed the laces into the top two eyelets; this makes for a neater lattice, though the knot is then a little more difficult to tie.

(from Ian’s shoe lacing site)

The Final Product

Lattice Lacing

Zipper lacing


FootBag Lacing

Checkboard Lacing

For more lacing techniques visit:www.shoe-lacing.com

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