Christian Louboutin once said that ““shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally.” Needless to say, there is an air of confidence that comes from a well dressed man in a good pair of shoes. However, for those who want to elevate their look and truly exude class, attention to detail is key. This is why it is so important to know how to lace your dress shoes.
Terms To Know Before You Lace Your Dress Shoes
Eyelet: The round holes that you thread your shoelaces through.
Flaps: The two sections of fabric that can be opened to allow your foot to slide in easier. These are positioned above the tongue on either side of the throat. This is also where the eyelets are located.
Throat: The central part of the shoe where the fabric branches apart over the tongue. This is where the laces criss-cross and pull the two flaps of the shoe together.
Tongue: The section of fabric that sits under flaps and the laces.
How To Lace Your Dress Shoes In Six Different Ways
No matter which method you choose, position the toe of the shoe towards you. The eyelets closest to you will be the bottom and those farthest will be at the top.
Method 1: Straight Or Bar Lacing
Straight lacing is the traditional method used to lace dress shoes like Oxfords and Derby’s. It provides a simple, clean cut look with a touch of class. The seamless lines draw the eye in without distracting the onlooker.
First, take the shoelace and push the ends through the bottom eyelets. The lace should sit over the top of the flaps. Make sure that the ends of the laces line up evenly. This will create your first bar.
Next, take the right end of the lace and feed it upwards diagonally through the second eyelet on the left side of the shoe. The lace will be positioned under the flap. Then, take the left end of the lace and thread it upwards diagonally through the third eyelet on the right side of the shoe. This will leave the second eyelet open. Again, the lace will sit under the flap.
Now thread the left side of the lace back across the throat of the shoe horizontally, over the top of the flap and through the second eyelet on the right side. This is your second bar.
Similarly, feed the right side of the lace back across to the next available eyelet on the left, pushing the lace inward again. This is your third bar. Repeat these steps until all the eyelets are laced. For shoes with four pairs of eyelets, you will simply thread the right side of the lace to the last eyelet on the left, keeping the lace under the flaps.
Finally, pull that same lace across to the last eyelet on the right. Now you are ready to tie your bow!
Method 2: Bow Tie Lacing
The bow tie technique is a fashion forward approach to lacing that has a little more flash, while still exuding professionalism. The uniformity of the design shows a person’s attention to detail and appreciation of consistency.
First, take the shoelace and pull the ends through the bottom eyelets. The lace should sit underneath the flaps. Make sure that the ends of the laces line up evenly.
Second, take the right side of the lace and thread it diagonally across the throat of the shoe, feeding it downwards through the second left eyelet. Then, take the left side of the shoelace, again pulling it diagonally across the throat and feeding it downwards through the second eyelet on the right side of the shoe.
Third, repeat the previous step, but run the laces under the flaps of the shoe and thread them upwards through the eyelets on the right and left side.
Finally, continue alternating steps two and three until the lacing is complete and tie your bow.
Method 3: Diagonal Lacing
The Diagonal lacing pattern is tailored to the more creative types who want to send a message that they don’t conform with the masses, but rather, walk by the beat of their own drum.
First, feed the shoelace through the left eyelet of the shoe. Next, unlike the previous methods, you will need to push the right end of the shoelace into the right eyelet, starting from the outside of the flap and moving inward. This will result in the shoelace sitting under the left flap and over the right flap of the throat of the shoe. As always, make sure that the ends of the laces line up evenly.
Then, pull the right side of the lace diagonally across the tongue and thread it upwards through the second eyelet on the left side.
Next, feed the lace in the bottom eyelet diagonally across to the second eyelet on the right side and push it inward. Next, thread it back across diagonally to the third eyelet on the left side, pushing the lace upward and out.
Continue the pattern by repeating the steps, threading each lace diagonally upward. Remember that while the laces are technically crisscrossing, one side will remain above the flaps and the other will sit hidden below them.
Method 4: Crisscross Lacing
The Crisscross is the upgrade to the conventional manner in which most people lace their dress shoes. This is an extremely simple pattern that is great for beginners!
Just like with the bow tie method, take the shoelace and pull the ends through the bottom eyelets. The lace should sit underneath the flaps. Make sure that the ends of the laces line up evenly.
Next, take the right end of the shoelace and run it diagonally across the throat, pushing the lace upwards through the second eyelet on the left side. Repeat this step with the left side of the shoelace, threading it through the second eyelet on the right.
Then, simply continue this lacing technique until the pattern is complete.
Method 5: Hash Lacing
This is the original hashtag. Imaginative men who like to experiment with new styles will love this unique take on lacing.
First, run the shoelace through the bottom eyelets and underneath the flaps. Again, make sure that the ends are even.
Second, run the right end of the shoelace through the third eyelet on the left, pushing the end inward. Then, take the left end of the shoelace and push it inward through the third eyelet on the right. This will leave both of the second eyelets open.
Next, take the left side of the lace and run it under the left flap of the shoe through the second eyelet on the left. Pull the shoelace upward. Repeat this on the right side.
Then, take the right side of the lace and thread it diagonally across to the next open eyelet on the left. Push it inward. Repeat this with the left side of the shoelace, threading it to the right. Continue until the hashtag pattern is complete.
Method 6: Ladder Lacing
For the man who always wants to try something new, ladder lacing gives a distinct vibe that radiates confidence and conviction. It is unlike any other lacing pattern on our list!
First, thread the shoelace through the two bottom eyelets, pulling the ends upward and out. Confirm that the ends line up evenly.
Second, take the right end of the shoelace and run it over the right flap of the shoe and push it downwards through the second eyelet on the right. This will create the right loop. Repeat this on the left side of the shoe to make the left loop.
Third, take the left end of the shoelace and pull it horizontally across the throat of the shoe, running it under the right loop, but over the flap.
Next, run the right end of the shoelace horizontally across the throat of the shoe and through the left loop (also above the flap).
Repeat these steps until your ladder is complete.
Lace Your Dress Shoes With The Correct Shoelaces — Factors To Consider
Shoelace Material And Diameter
Selecting the right shoelace is just as important as the technique used to lace your dress shoes. In order to achieve a flawless appearance, you need the best of both worlds.
Thus, it is important to first look for shoelaces that are thin in diameter and made with a sturdy material. Waxed cotton or leather varieties are best. Depending on the look you would like to achieve, you can select from either round or fat styles.
Next, consider the number of pairs of eyelets in your shoe. This will determine the length of lace that you will need to properly lace your dress shoes. For example, if you have six eyelets on either side, you will need 40 inch laces. In contrast, if you have eight eyelets, this measurement will expand to 54 inches.
You also have the option of measuring your original laces to determine the length specifically selected for your brand of shoe. Additionally, try out the method of lacing that you would like to use and confirm that you have appropriate length to complete the steps.
Remember that you want to end with a bow that is around the width of your foot. Since the average for this measurement is around 10 cm, a normal bow will range between 6 and 8 cm wide. Large bows can span up to 10 cm. Anything smaller will look silly and anything larger could cause you to trip.
Shoelaces come in every color of the rainbow. For the men who are looking to have the perfectly polished look, consider purchasing multiple shades. This will allow you to coordinate with the tie, pocket square and socks that you have selected for each day.
Moreover, think about the occasion and place you will be in when wearing these laces. For serious work environments, neutral shades are best. Otherwise, show off your true colors and personality with an array of options!
How To Ensure Comfort When You Lace Your Dress Shoes
Comfort is a key attribute with any pair of shoes and dress shoes are no exception. When it comes to selecting your footwear, certified Pedorthists advise that you “select shoes that have the most eyelets. This will enable you to easily adjust the laces to ensure the shoe best fits your foot.” Additionally, it is important that you are aware of the specific shape of your foot. This will determine which lacing method is best accommodates for your feet!
Choose The Method To Lace Your Dress Shoes That Best Suits Your Feet
Lacing your shoes is not just a style choice. It also helps to keep your feet in place and allows you to better accommodate your specific foot size. For those with narrow feet, the ladder lacing technique is best. Why? This will help to tighten the brim of your shoe around your foot, in turn, preventing slippage. Additionally, if you still want to utilize another lacing technique, you can simply modify the last two eyelets to mimic the ladder technique. This will give you the best of both worlds!
Conversely, folks with wide feet need to maximize space. Thus, experts recommend that you “lace your shoes using the eyelets that are nearest to the ankle, leaving the eyelets closest to your toes empty. This will allow you to tighten the laces properly without restricting the space across the front of the shoe where the foot is widest.” Finally, those with standard sized feet will always benefit from the ever popular crisscross method. However, you can technically lace your dress shoes in any way listed above!
Remember To Readjust Your Laces Throughout The Day
We all remember learning how to tie our shoes, but most parents don’t go over the importance of adjusting your lacing throughout the day.
First and foremost, never just slip on pre-tied dress shoes. Take the time to sit down and tighten each section of lacing before you head to work. Moreover, your feet will expand with activity. Thus, if you notice discomfort in the latter part of the day, pause to loosen your laces and accommodate this natural swelling.
Men who take the time to lace their dress shoes in different ways always seem to be a bit more dapper than the rest. This simple, and yet meticulous, step in getting ready for the day not only adds elegance to an outfit, but it is also a subtle way of showing that you really care about how you look. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try these lacing styles as well as the myriad of others that can spruce up your suited look!