Here are 5 different ways to lace dress shoes:
- Straight bar.
- The bow tie.
It’s said that you can tell a gentleman’s worth by his shoes. A lesser-known expression is that you can tell even more by the way a gentleman laces his dress shoe.
You might have never considered that there’s more than one proper way to lace your dress shoe, but there are various techniques available to match your style and the occasion.
We bring you some of the most popular techniques in this article.
How to Lace Dress Shoes
The purpose of lacing dress shoes is to create a snug fit for your feet and prevent the dress laces from coming undone, and there’s an ideal way of doing this to avoid them coming untied.
However, functionality isn’t the be-all and end-all of tying shoelaces, as style matters just as much as substance in this department.
The lacing styles for shoes below should give you plenty of options or your dress shoe.
This is one of the most traditional ways to lace a shoe. When you first look at the appearance of this style, it looks like a basic criss-cross pattern, but there’s a lot more going on under the hood here.
To apply the criss-crossing technique, follow these steps:
- With the shoe’s toe facing you, slip the shoelaces through the top of the bottom eyelets to create a straight bar.
- Cross the ends that come out of the eyelets to create a distinctive ‘X.’
- Now, feed them under the sides and pass them through the second set of eyelets.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you reach the last eyelet set.
This is a highly unique and stylish way of tying lace in shoes.
It appears far more complex than it really is, but that’s just a secret between you and me.
This style is often referred to as ‘the individualist,’ which speaks greatly about a need to do things your way.
To execute diagonal lacing on shoes, follow these steps:
- With the toe of the shoe pointing towards you, thread the lace through the closest eyelets from underneath.
- Take one end of the lace and thread it down through the eyelet that’s three rows up on the opposite side, creating a diagonal.
- With the same end, thread it up through the next eyelet up on the same side.
- Sticking with the same end of the lace, go down three rows—should be one up from the eyelet in step 1—to the opposite side and thread down through the eyelet.
- Repeat step 3.
- Repeat step 2.
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 with the other end of the lace, but weaving over and under the already-threaded lace for each step, creating a cross-hatch effect.
- Finally, weave diagonally across to the final eyelet, threading from above.
This is a distinguished method of lacing your dress shoes, usually referred to as ‘the thinker.’
It has a quiet elegance to it, and you’ll find that this style works best with plain-toe dress shoes.
- With the toe of the shoe facing you, have the left end of the lace go through the top of the left eyelet closest to you.
- Now get the right end to go through the top of the closest right eyelet.
- Take the left end and push it up through the next eyelet on the same side.
- Go straight across the shoe and thread down through the adjacent eyelet.
- Both lace ends should now be on the same side.
- Take the lowest end and thread it up through the next empty eyelet.
- Repeat step 6 with the other end.
- Both ends should still be on the same side.
- Repeat step 4 with both ends.
- Again, both ends should now be on the same side—the left.
- Repeat step 6 with both ends.
- Repeat step 4 with the bottom end.
- Take the right end, and simply thread it up through the empty top eyelet.
The Bow Tie
Nothing quite stands out as much as this technique on your shoes.
It’s commonly known as the ‘the sartorialist’ as it resembles an exquisite stitch, and it’s definitely one of the most fashionable techniques for lacing dress shoes.
Execute this method as follows:
- With the toe facing you, thread the lace down through the bottom-left eyelet and up through the next eyelet up on the same side.
- Take the higher end and thread it diagonally across the shoe and down through the first eyelet on the opposite side.
- Take the other end of the lace, and thread it diagonally across the shoe and down through the next empty eyelet up on the right-hand side.
- You should now have a bow-tie effect across the bottom two pairs of eyelets, and both ends should be on the same side.
- Take the lower end and thread it up through the next empty eyelet on the same side.
- Repeat step 5 with the other end, which has now become the lower end.
- Take the new lower end and thread it down through the adjacent eyelet on the other side.
- Now thread the same end up through the next empty eyelet on the same side.
- Take the end on the right side of the shoe and thread it down through the next eyelet up on the opposite side, creating another diagonal.
- Repeat step 9 but for the end on the left-hand side.
- Thread the same end up through the next eyelet up on the same side.
- Repeat step 11 for the other end of the lace.
- You should now have two bow tie patterns with a bar splitting them.
The double-back technique of lacing shoes looks the most visually complex, which is why it’s also called ‘the architect.’
It’s supposed to represent the lattice shape of skyscrapers, as this technique greatly enhances the structural integrity of your dress shoes.
Take on this challenging but rewarding method like this:
- Have the toe of the shoe facing you as you start. This method begins at the fifth pair of eyelets furthest from you.
- Thread the right side of the lace through the bottom of the right eyelet.
- Once the lace emerges on top, have it cross over and down through the adjacent eyelet on the other side.
- Pull out both ends of the laces and even them at this point.
- Take the left lace and count two eyelets down on the right-hand side. Thread the lace down through this eyelet.
- Repeat step 5 for the same end, threading down through the closest eyelet to you on the left.
- Sticking with the same end, thread it up through the second eyelet up on the right-hand side.
- Now cross that end over the shoe and thread it up through two eyelets up.
- Repeat step 8, going under the already-threaded lace and up through the top-right eyelet.
- Repeat steps 5 to 9 for the other end of the lace, mirroring the process, creating a symmetrical shape to your dress shoes’ laces.
Frequently Asked Questions for Lacing Dress Shoes
How Do You Tie Dress Shoes Without the Laces Showing?
You can tie dress shoes without the laces showing by using the straight bar lace technique. This method hides the laces inside the shoes without revealing them.
How Do I Keep My Shoes From Untying?
You can keep your shoes from untying by using a strong knot that prevents the lace from getting undone easily. An example of this is a reef knot, as it’s known to stand up to the rigors of day-to-day activities.
How Long of Shoelaces Do I Need for 5 Eyelets?
For shoes with 5 eyelets, you need shoelaces that are 36 inches long. For 6, 7 and 8 eyelets, you’ll need 40, 45 and 54 inches, respectively.
The L-Ace Up Your Sleeve
It never hurts to know multiple methods of lacing dressing shoes, especially if you attend various formal events and want to change up your style.
Coupled with the knowledge of how to shine shoes, your outfit will be sharp for any dress occasion.