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There are many different types of boots available, from dress boots and army boots to hiking boots and work boots, and all of them are different in their own ways. They all have one thing in common, though: they all have laces, and they all need to be laced up securely. No matter what you are doing, you won’t want to have to stop in order to go back to lacing a shoe every few minutes as it comes undone, so knowing a secure, reliable method for lacing on shoes is a vital part of wearing work boots or any other pair of boots.
Let us have a look at some of the best and most reliable ways to lace in shoes to keep your boots firmly fixed to your feet with no risk of discomfort or of the laces coming undone. Whichever lacing pattern you choose, you will probably need to lace up your boots a few times in order to get your head around it properly, but the results at the end will be worth the time and effort every single time.
If you want to learn more about ladder lacing, army laces, dress laces, or any other lacing method for boots or shoes, then you can simply read on below to find out everything you need to know about how to lace work boots, dress boots, hiking boots, or any other type of shoe or boot.
How to lace your Boots with Heel lock lacing
The heel lock lacing method is a strong, stable method that works best for logger boots or other heavy-duty work boots. It is also an excellent pattern for lighter footwear, whether that is hiking boots, hunting boots, or any other type of shoe with eyelets and lace. This is a pattern with a long history and has been popular among mountaineers and serious hikers for a very long time.
Compared to the traditional criss-cross method for lacing, the heel lock method offers a much more secure lace tie and a tighter fit around the heel than you might be used to. However, it is a simple method and is actually a lot like the standard criss-cross method for most of the patterns, making this a very easy option for most people to pick up and use.
This method works well with either eyelets or hooks, making it a versatile option for almost any type of boot, and it is only at the end that it differs from the standard criss-cross method. Lace-up your boots as normal, running the laces through each eyelet in the criss-cross pattern, all the way up until you reach the last two pairs of eyelets or hooks. Run each one of the laces up vertically along the side of the boots, so that each lace goes straight up from one eyelet to the one straight above it. Then thread each lace underneath the opposite one, just above the top eyelet or hook that you have laced. That means you are running each lace under the vertical bit of lace on the opposite side.
Then, pull the laces tight, and tie a standard bow knot to finish up. You might find that it is a little tighter than you are used to in the end, but the added security is worth it, and you will get used to the tightness pretty quickly. This method of lacing gives the upper part of your boots a bit more rigidity and stability, protecting your ankle when you walk on unstable surfaces during hikes or other activity.
This is a reliable, trusted method for lacing up outdoor footwear, and it is not much more difficult to tie than the techniques you probably already use most of the time.
Lacing Work Boots with the 2 1 3 Lacing Pattern
The 2 1 3 lacing method is a more complex option than most of the others on this list, but it allows for comfort and freedom without compromising on security and stability. This is an excellent option for lacing almost any type of boot, but particularly for higher work boot models. This lacing option does not have the “bite” problems that some people object to with other methods such as heel lock laces, giving a little more flexibility around the top of the ankle.
The first step is to identify each pair of eyelets around the point where your ankle meets your foot. You are looking for the three pairs of eyelets around where your boot curves and the laces move from vertical to straight horizontal. Lace-up your shoes as normal from the toe to the bottom one of these three eyelet pairs – usually, this is the fourth or fifth eyelet from the end of your shoe.
This is where things get a bit more complicated with your laces. Each lace should run up to the second one of the three eyelets, then back down to the bottom one on the opposite side, and then across again to the top eyelet of the three. That makes a zig-zag pattern, with each lace crossing over the other several times. Then, just lace up the rest of the boot as normal, all the way to the top end.
This method gives a bit more room around the ankle than many other lacing options, allowing your foot to move without digging into the top of the ankle. It also means that your foot and ankle are firmly held in place, meaning that you can move freely without slipping and sliding. For best results, wrap the laces all the way around the boots at the top before you tie the final bow! If done properly, this is probably the best option for balancing comfort, stability, and reliability when tying the laces of a pair of sturdy boots.
The Ladder Lacing Method for Heavy-duty Work Boots
Ladder lacing is one of the most complicated and time-consuming methods for lacing up a pair of boot laces. However, it offers the greatest support and security possible, ensuring that your boots won’t come untied or slip loose and that your feet and ankles will be fully protected and secured at all times. It takes a fair bit of adjustment to get right, as the boots cannot be easily tightened once you have laced them up, so you need to take your time and ensure that you get each step to the right level of tightness for your needs and preferences.
Start by running your laces through the back side of the bottom eyelets on your boot. Run them up to the next pair of eyelets vertically, then in through the top and back across and up to the next row. Run each lace under the opposite lace, and pull both laces tight. Next, pull it up again and pass it through the eyelet above, and repeat the process over and over again until you get to the top of the boot. Once you reach the top eyelet, tie a bow in the normal way.
This lacing method creates a sort of interlocking ladder system, where every lace holds the other lace in place, running all the way up to the top. It is one of the slowest lacing methods, as you have to loosen and tighten each eyelet pair individually, so it can take a few minutes to get everything tightened up to your satisfaction, but once you tie the final bow in your laces, this won’t come undone on its own. There is a good reason why hikers, climbers, and military personnel often like to use this lacing style for their boots!
The Army Method for Lacing Boots
This method for lacing is one of the easiest options out there and is popular among the armed forces thanks to its reliability and quick, easy tying system. The exact method depends a little on how many pairs of eyelets you have on your boots, but other than that, it is relatively straightforward.
If your boots have an even number of pairs of eyelets, then the first step will be to thread the lace through the bottom eyelets from the inside and pull the laces outwards. If you have an uneven number of pairs of eyelets, start by threading the lace straight across the bottom set of eyelets from the outside and pulling them in through the holes.
Then, take one end of your laces and run it straight across your shoe diagonally, passing the lace out through the inside of the next eyelet in a criss-cross pattern. Make sure that your diagonal laces run underneath the bottom horizontal lace! Next, pass your lace vertically up through the next eyelet in a straight line, passing from the outside in.
Repeat this lacing pattern again and again until the laces reach the top of your boot, keeping the lacing order consistent and regular all the way up. To finish up your army lacing pattern, tie your laces in a regular bow at the top and tuck the ends into the top of your boots for a clean, tidy finish!
Lacing Dress Shoes
Lacing up a sharp set of dress shoes or dress boots is not actually any different from lacing up work boots, aside from the fact that your priority is likely to be aesthetics rather than strength and stability. As such, there is no objectively correct way to do up the laces on dress boots, and you are largely free to do whatever you want.
You might want to consider the ladder method for doing the laces on formal boots, as this option looks smart and organized on every level. It is not the easiest pattern, but it looks good and formal. If that feels like a more complex option than you want, then there is nothing wrong with the traditional criss-cross pattern for lacing up dress boots. It is not the most stable or secure option, but it looks perfectly good, and it holds your shoes onto your feet well enough.
If you would prefer a middle ground option, then heel lock lacing is a good choice. It is best to avoid the army method or 2 1 3 lacing, as both of these options are somewhat irregular and do not look as smart as the other possible choices!