Shoelaces are an essential lacing method for a whole bunch of shoe types, but that does not mean that you have to keep them visible. Hidden shoelaces can be a neat fashion statement, a great way to hide an ugly knot or just something that you might like the look of. There is not just one way to hide shoelaces, though, and sometimes it even depends on the lacing method you prefer.
“Inside the Shoe” Lacing Method
Hidden knots are a very effective alternative to exposed knots, but they have to be done well. Instead of tying a knot outside the shoe like normal, you tie them inside the shoe, at least in a very specific way.
Place the ends of the laces in the very bottom eyelet holes, the eyelets closest to your toes. You want the lacing to work so that there is a bar across the bottom two eyelets, with the ends of the lace both easy to grab hold of. Pull the laces back and tighten up the pair of eyelets, but make sure that each lace end is about the same length.
Make another bar by pushing the left shoelace up and crossing it back through one of the eyelets, then over to the other side. This should give you two of these “bars,” like rungs on a ladder. You should be able to hide the loose ends of each lace near the tongue without them being visible.
Then, take the right lace and do the same for the next one up, creating three bars that have similar-length trails left over near the top of your shoe.
Keep making these bars in the same pattern. You want the laces to stay roughly the same length if you can, but it is more important that the laces acting as bars properly fit into each eyelet. Make sure to tighten the lacing every time you bridge two new eyelets, and do not let one end of the laces slip out.
Once the bars reach the last eyelets, you need to tie a bow inside the shoe itself. Make a regular bow, but then tuck it under the tongue of your sneakers and cross the laces to keep it in place. You should be able to pull what you have laced until the bow – and each loop in the eyelets – is tight.
Is this a good way to lace?
This can be a great way to lace up shoes while keeping the laces hidden, but you need to do it right. The bottom eyelets are the most important to get right since you want straight bars and shoelace ends that are the same size which you can put under the tongue. Once you reach the top, the method needs you to make a bow. Some people find a bow hard to wear inside their shoes, but if you do it right, it should be fairly comfortable.
Remember that you are hiding your laces, so take a second to make sure that the shoes are not revealing the hidden lace tucked under the tongue. If they pop out, you are going to have to tuck them back in near your feet and probably tighten them again.
Any other tips?
Be sure to keep each shoelace close to equal size if you can. You will need long shoelaces at the end to create the loop for the bow, and if you don’t tie them properly, each eyelet bar can sag quickly.
You can push the bow you are tying off to one side instead if you don’t feel comfortable with the knot being under the tongue. Just remember that you’ll have to knot it again if it loosens, and that means you’ll have to look inside your own shoes to knot it if you can’t see the ends of the shoelace.
You might need help to get the laces correct at first since the look is just as important as the hold they have on one another. If your shoe feels loose and doesn’t have much of a lace-end to use, that is a sign that they may not be tight enough.
This method takes inspiration from the way that shoelaces are tied in shoes when they’re sold: stores tuck the laces in to make them more aesthetically appealing and keeping them straight.
Thread the laces near your toe. Like the last method, this means creating a bar, which you’ll want to pull straight and tight without pulling the lacing all the way through.
Cross the right lace over the left lace and feed them into the next eyelet pair from the bottom. They should form an X pattern on top of the shoe.
Do the same as the previous step, but this time, put the next X inside the shoes. This means that the lacing will overlap but not bunch up together. As usual, check that each end of the laces are about equal in length.
Continue this pattern until you reach the final eyelet pair, then thread the laces downwards into each eyelet. The laces should be going down and leaving long, straight shoelace ends inside.
Now, tie a large knot. This can be as big as you need, but ideally, it should be long enough to use up most of the laces without leaving much lacing behind. Don’t pull it straight and leave the laced knot slightly loose – you’ll need the knot to move to hide it properly.
Tuck the lacing knot into the shoe and hide the laced part behind the tongue. The knot or bow shouldn’t be visible from the front of the shoe – only a small part of the laces themselves. Move the knot to the bottom of the sneakers so that it doesn’t tie around your trousers or rub against your feet.
Is this a good method of lacing?
Using this trick works best when you have sneakers or other shoes that flex well since the lace has to tuck behind the tongue from the eyelet holes. Sneakers are flexible enough to leave it hidden while still feeling right, whereas solid shoes (including rigid sneakers) might not feel right while the shoelaces are hidden.
You will have to check around in your sneakers to see that the knot is laced properly whenever you actually try to wear the sneakers. It should stay near the bottom, but the lace in the eyelet may drag it back up. It only takes a second to push it back down, though, so it doesn’t take much time to prepare for a run early in the day – a couple of seconds at most.
Remember to follow the left-right pattern. Sneakers might be forgiving, but if you go left-left-right, it can throw off the whole method. The left lace will be shorter, which makes the laces harder to tie, and it can take a second or two to even notice what’s gone wrong. When you’re hiding the laces, this can also get annoying quickly since the lace might shift over to the side.
Any other tips?
There isn’t any universally-agreed information on how to make this work, but a lot of online tutorials share the same basic steps. The color of your laces can matter: a clean white on a dirty black shoe will make the hidden laces far more obvious. Also, try to make it look like there’s no bow or knot at all: if you make the knot look obvious, it becomes clear that you’re hiding the top of your laces.
If you notice that the knot isn’t tied after a day of wearing them, your foot may have untied it. The type of knot you use still matters a lot, and any type that works can be good, but rubbing against your foot while you’re using the sneakers might still loosen it. If it keeps happening, try your best related or alternative knots to see if they stick instead.
If you need help knowing how these knots work, don’t be afraid to look it up. It should work on most shoe types that use laces, but some shoes may have laces that require more effort. If you can’t make the laces work in the eyelets of these shoes, then this technique might not work on those shoes properly.