Chances are, you’ve been tying your laces for a long time. You might have even dabbled with different variations on the standard-issue zig-zag shoelace pattern in the past. But if you’re like most people, you probably have no idea just how many ways to lace shoes there are – or how big of a difference a unique shoelace pattern could make to your style and comfort!
Experimenting with different shoelace styles is a great way to stand out in a crowd, breathe new life into your favorite pair of shoes, and maximize the benefits of your footwear. With a little practice and patience, you can create incredible designs on all kinds of shoes, from work boots to running shoes.
Not convinced? Just try a couple of these cool ways to lace shoes and before you know it people will be stopping you on the street just to say, “Hey – I like your shoelaces!”.
5 Creative and Cool Ways To Tie Shoes – Plus A Bonus Tip!
#1: The Train Track
This shoe lacing technique comes out looking like train tracks! As a bonus, it holds very tight thanks to the doubling up it does in the eyelets.
To create a train track pattern in your shoelaces:
- Begin with your lace straight across the inside of the first two eyelets, with the ends poking out.
- Run your laces straight up to the next eyelet, and poke them in from the front.
- Pull the laces straight across and out through the eyelet you just used so it is doubled up, tightening as you go.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until finished.
#2: The Waffle
You can use your laces to create a waffle-like grid pattern that looks good enough to eat! This decorative look holds very tight and might be difficult to adjust once in place, so you’ll want to make sure you are pulling everything tight as you go.
To create the waffle shoelace design:
- Begin with your laces pulled straight across and the ends poking out from the inside.
- Cross the ends on the outside and skip an eyelet before feeding them through to the inside.
- Run both ends straight down and out through the skipped eyelet.
- Continue moving 2 rows up on the outside, and 1 down on the inside until you finish with the ends feeding under the sides and out through the top eyelets.#3: The Roman
#3: The Roman Shoelace Pattern
This creative shoelace design takes a bit of patience, but once you’re finished, you’ll have a look fit for an emperor – with Roman numerals to match! This looks just as sharp on a pair of dress shoes as it will on your work boots.
To create the Roman shoelace pattern:
- Start with your laces running straight across on the inside and out through the bottom eyelets.
- Cross the ends and feed in through the next set of holes like you would normally to create your first “X” shape.
- Now, take one side of the laces and run it straight up to the next eyelet from underneath, then run it straight across and in through the opposite side to form the “I” in your design.
- From here, run both ends straight up on the inside, skipping one eyelet and coming out two eyelets up.
- Cross the ends on the outside and feed in through the eyelets on the opposite side, creating another “X”.
- Again, take both ends up on the inside, and poke them out 2 eyelets up.
- Take the lower side straight across on the outside to the opposite eyelet, then poke it through and run it one eyelet up instead of two to create your final “I” and get both laces lined up again.
- Finish by crossing the ends on the outside and feeding in through the last set of eyelets.
#4: The Straight Bar
Before you get started with this straight-laced design, count the number of eyelets on your shoes! This lace pattern works best and looks the cleanest on shoes with an even number of eyelet pairs. However, it can still work on shoes with an off number of pairs – with a minor workaround (see below).
To create a straight-across lace pattern:
- Begin with your laces straight across on the outside of the shoe, with the ends pointing in through the bottom eyelets.
- Run one side of the lace straight up on the inside to the next highest eyelet. Pull it through to the outside, then run it straight across and in through the opposite eyelet.
- Run both ends straight up on the inside, skipping one eyelet before poking out.
- Run both ends straight across and in through the opposite eyelet.
- Alternate running up on the inside, and across on the outside all the way up the shoe.
- For odd-numbered eyelet pairs: Once you get to the second-last eyelet, run straight across on the outside, then double back on the inside before tucking under the vertical shoelace segment inside the shoe. This way, your laces will line up to tie properly.
#5: The Twist
This cool shoelace pattern is a “twist” on the traditional zig-zag that you’re familiar with. Try it out with light-colored laces on a dark-colored shoe to get the full effect!
To create this twisted shoelace design:
- Start with your laces running straight across on the inside, with the ends poking through to the outside.
- Cross the laces in the middle twice to give them a full twist before continuing through to the opposite side.
- Feed the ends under the sides and out through the next set of eyelets.
- Repeat until your shoes are fully laced up.
Bonus Tip: The Heel Lock Lacing Pattern
For extra strength and support, consider finishing off your design (whatever it is) with a heel lock lacing pattern. This pattern is great for work boots, hiking shoes, and running shoes because it secures your heel in the back of the shoe, prevents blisters, provides extra support in the ankle, and creates a stronger tie – so your laces won’t loosen up over time.
To create the heel lock lacing pattern:
- Lace your shoes however you like until you are on the second-last eyelet or hook.
- Run the ends of the laces straight up to the last eyelet or hook and in from the outside.
- Cross the ends, then feed them through the vertical section you just created on the opposite side.
- Tie your shoes as normal. The loop you fed your laces through creates extra tension to hold your knot in place and support your heel and ankle.
How To Tie Your Shoes (You’re Probably Doing It Wrong!)
Now that you’ve learned a bunch of cool ways to lace shoes and chosen your favorite, it’s time to finish it off with a sturdy and secure knot.
There’s nothing more annoying (and dangerous) than a loose pair of laces on a job site or out on a run. If it happens to you a lot, you might be shocked to learn that you’ve been tying your laces wrong this whole time!
It’s true: the traditional bunny-ear method we were all taught as kids is one of the weakest ways to tie a bow, especially when you’re using round shoelaces. Turns out that particular knot is prone to slipping out of alignment or loosening up at the slightest hint of friction!
For a better way to keep your boots tied, check out this great video from Master Carpenter Matt Jackson of Next Level Carpentry: