Shoelace patterns play a crucial role in ensuring both comfort and fit in footwear.
We all probably know the traditional criss-cross shoelace pattern since it's the most basic way to lace sneakers. However, you may be wondering why even bother using something else? We used to think other shoe lacing patterns are just for show, but lo and behold, different shoelace patterns can give shoes different levels of comfort and fit depending on what your feet need.
You can use lacing patterns that relieve pressure on different areas of the feet. Or, they can also improve fit especially if you're engaged in specialized activities such as running or hiking.
In this post, we're exploring eight basic shoelace patterns (beyond the traditional criss-cross pattern) that can help improve comfort and it. A good fitting shoe can truly transform your shoe-wearing experience.
NOTE: Be sure to check our shoelace size guide to help you get replacement shoe laces.
1 - Heel Lock Pattern to Fix Heel Slipping
Heel slippage is one of the most common issues people have with their shoes. In activities such as sports or being in the outdoors, you wouldn't want your shoes coming off. This is where the heel lock pattern
Step 1: Lace your sneakers in the standard criss-cross pattern and stop at the last rows of eyelets.
Step 2: Instead of criss-crossing until the last row, you take one end of the shoe lace.
Step 3: Thread it through the last eyelet from the outside, creating a small loop but don't pull the lace all the way through yet. Do this with the other end of the shoe lace on the other side.
Step 4: Take one end of the lace, thread it through the loop you created on the other side. Pull the laces through to tighten the lacing.
Step 5: This creates a mechanism that pulls on the shoe collar for a tighter fit at the heel.
2 - Straight Lacing Pattern for Looser Fit
If your feet are of the wider variety and the standard criss-cross pattern gives you a very tight fit, then you can consider using the straight lacing pattern. This gives your sneakers a looser fit in general since the laces wouldn't pull across all eyelets.
Step 1: Start by running the lace straight across the bottom eyelets (nearest the toe), going in from the outside. Equalize the length of the lace on both sides.
Step 2: Take the left lace and run it straight up on the inside, then pass it through the next higher eyelet on the same side.
Step 3: Bring the lace straight across on the outside and thread it through the opposite eyelet.
Step: 4: Move the same lace straight up on the inside, skipping an eyelet, and out through the next higher eyelet.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 2-4 with the other lace, starting by going straight up on the inside on the right side. Each lace goes straight up one eyelet then across, alternating sides.
Step 6: Continue this pattern until both laces reach the top eyelets. The laces should look like a series of parallel bars.
3 - Criss-Cross Pattern for High Arches
A foot with high arch (also known as a "cavus foot") is characterized by a pronounced curve between the ball and heel of the foot. The standard criss-cross pattern can be a bit tight especially in the middle area. Here's a lacing pattern that can help relieve from pressure in this area.
Step 1: Start with the traditional criss-cross pattern.
Step 2: By the middle section (usually from the second to third eyelet rows), thread the laces through to the same side.
Step 3: Resume the criss-cross pattern the rest of the way.
4 - Tight Toe Box
Another common problem some people experience with their sneakers or shoes are overly tight toe box areas. Some sneakers are just poorly designed that they tend to squish toes together. Or perhaps, you'd want to have a bit more allowance to accommodate crease protectors. To relieve the pressure in this area, you can use this lacing pattern:
Step 1: Start by inserting the laces through the first row of eyelets.
Step 2: Take the end at the big toe side and then thread it all the way through the last eyelet on the opposite side. Just pull enough length to give you some slack to tie the shoe laces from there. This would be around 6 inches with a 6-7 eyelet row shoe with a 47-inch lace.
Step 3: Redistribute the rest of the length to the other side.
Step 4: Using the longer side of the lace, thread it across and through all the available eyelets.
Step 5: Since you're using just one end of the lace, this will create a sort of zig-zag pattern instead of a criss-cross one.
Step 6: Finish threading through all eyelets. If you end up with uneven ends, try adjusting the length you start with. This may take some trial and error.
5 - Wide Forefoot
If you have a wide forefoot, then you should use a lacing pattern that gives you comfort in that area of the sneaker or shoe. This lacing pattern is similar to the one used for high arches but instead of easing the lacing at the middle of the shoe, you modify the lacing near the tongue.
Step 1: Start by threading your laces through the first row of eyelets.
Step 2: Thread each end of the laces through to the second row on the same side of eyelets.
Step 3: Proceed with a criss-cross pattern for the rest of the way.
6 - High Midfoot
People with high midfoot may experience similar fit and comfort issues in the same area as people with high arched feet. Adjustments to the lacing pattern, however, are made higher up.
Step 1: Start by threading your laces through the first row of eyelets. Proceed with a criss-cross pattern until the third row of eyelets.
Step 2: Thread the ends of the laces on the same side from the third to the forth row.
Step 3: Finish with the criss-cross pattern until the last eyelets.
7 - Tighter Fit for Narrow Feet
In case you have narrow feet and need a lacing pattern that will help you draw the sneaker tighter around your feet, here's the lacing pattern for you.
Step 1: Start by threading the laces through the first row of eyelets and even out the lengths.
Step 2: Thread the each of the ends up and under and through the second row at the same side.
Step 3: Go criss-cross from the 2nd row to the 3rd row of eyelets. Continue the with criss-cross pattern but skip threading through the 4th eyelet row.
Step 4: Finish the criss-cross pattern until you go through all rows of eyelets. Try pulling the laces and you'd notice how you'll be able to to pull them very tightly.
8 - Loose Fit for Wide Feet
Here's a lacing pattern just in case you have wide feet and need your shoe to just feel looser.
Step 1: Start by threading the laces through the first row of eyelets.
Step 2: Proceed with a criss-cross pattern but skip threading them through the third and fifth rows.
Step 3: Finish threading the laces until the last eyelet rows. Note that you may end up with slightly longer laces so you may have to adjust the final bow when tying the laces.
This is by no means an exhaustive list yet of the possible shoe lacing patterns that you can use to improve your sneakers' fit and comfort. But this does serve as a good starting point that covers most fit concerns.
Experimenting with different lacing patterns can significantly enhance foot comfort and shoe functionality. Whether you're a runner, hiker, or someone with specific foot needs, mastering these lacing techniques can lead to a more comfortable and enjoyable footwear experience.