We all learn to tie our laces in primary school where it’s a standard criss-cross lacing with bunny loop ties. We then don’t think about it much after that… There are so many ways to lace up that we’re not taught or don’t get shown when there are so many different variations either to relief pain or to make the world of difference in terms of comfort and fit. Discover how to get the most out of your walking boots with these handy step by step methods of how to lace up boots.
“Each lacing technique comes with its own purpose. For instance, the ladder lacing method is more suitable than army lacing if you require greater rigidity” states Lowa Military Boots
Traditional | comfortable | simple to lace
Criss-cross is the most common way of lacing and is frequently used within the shoe industry due to the ease and simplicity of its methods. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best method for you and that you have to keep the laces as are. You can do some research into what you think is best for you, all depending on what boot you have purchased and the activities you intend to participate in. For instance, when you’re walking short or long distances you may find that you need to prevent certain problematic areas. If you’re unsure on what lacing method is best for you, we would keep the original lacing method and alter as you start to break in your boots.
Need some top tips to breaking in boots? Click here
For lacing up criss-cross, we would begin by feeding through the lace starting from the bottom eyelets with the lace coming from the inside towards the outside on both sides.
You would then cross the ends of the lace as you run them diagonally up and through the next set of eyelets, again feeding the lace from the inside towards the outside. We would recommend filling all of the eyelets to the top of the boot to ensure that you get the best fit and that the lace is facing flat to avoid twisting.
Top Tip – “Always string the same side first. If you’re moving from right to left, keep that same pattern throughout the whole boot. Otherwise, the pattern will become inconsistent and won’t look neat.” States Boot Spy.
Non-slip | extra support | requires long laces for effectiveness
The ladder method is predominately used by the military and can often be seen by paratroopers as it gives more support and stability to your feet. The technique once finished looks like a ladder hence the given name. The pattern keeps your laces tight around your ankles to guarantee a locked fit and works best with long laces and tall boots with many eyelets.
Begin by running your laces through the bottom eyelet from the inside out, feeding towards the outside in the same way as the criss-cross method. A reminder before you start feeding is to hold out the laces vertically to ensure that they’re both equal on each side.
Now, start by going across horizontally, crossing each other to be fed underneath the vertical lace. Feed the lace underneath the previous section from the first to the second eyelet which will allow it to be held in that place as if it was going through an eyelet. You shouldn’t be running the lace through an eyelet in your next step, instead you’re just running it through a loop you’ve already created.
Now, lace through the next vertical eyelet and fed through the next eyelet from the outside in and repeat until you’ve laced your entire walking boot.
Minimal aesthetic | comfortable
The bow tie lacing method mirrors the shape of a bow tie which is where the name originated from. It is a simple method of lacing which gives the boot some more slack.
The boot laces are laced straight across to begin with and are then criss-crossed diagonally to create the distinctive shape. The bow tie process uses the least amount of shoelace so there’s no need for long laces for this process. If your boots have an even number of eyelets we would start straight across on the outside and if you have an uneven amount of eyelets we would start on the inside going out.
Next, run the lace up each side above and pull it through by then feeding it across to the other side, diagonally up to the next row.
Take your time and repeat for both sides until both boots are completed.
Secure | simple to lace | versatile
The surgeons knot sounds challenging but once you know the basics, you won’t go back to the standard criss-cross lacing. It’s simple, versatile and keeps your heels in place for when you’re ascending or descending on a hike. It’s basically putting in a knot at the start of lacing up where you pass the right lace over the left twice and then tuck it under pulling tightly. Not only does this help create more tension within the boot but it also reduces chances of slipping.
Firstly, start by pulling out any slack in the laces. You should then locate lace hooks closest to the top of your boot where it begins to flex – these are normally further out on the boot to allow for maximum movement.
Wrap the laces around twice (if needed) and pull them tightly to lock the knots tension. Repeat the wrap around further up the boots if you have additional lace hooks.
We would finish the surgeons knot method by lacing the rest of your boots in a standard criss-cross.
Relief top-of-foot pressure | simple to lace | suitable for wide-fitting feet
By adding in windows you are reducing the pressure point on the top of your foot. Window lacing is also known as ‘box lacing’ and is great for long walks or hikes. These can be added in and tied off using a surgeons knot however a kind reminder that surgeon knots add tension so be careful in case you add in too many which will then defeat the purpose of the windows method.
For the windows method we would start by unlacing your boots to the hooks found just below the pressure point. We would then re-lace by going straight up to the next hook and then crossing the laces over.
Lastly, finish the rest of your boots in the standard way or alternatively, add in a surgeons knot for a secure hold.
Extra support | relief toe pressure
If the top of your feet are sore and your toes start to cramp up when you walk, we would recommend the toe-relief method. The gap at the front of your boot will give you some extra room and the tongue will be able to flex for all-out movement. We would start by completely unlacing your boots and lacing it back up but leaving the first set of hooks free (this opens up the toe area and takes off some pressure in this specific area) if after this method, your feet are still sore we would either try new laces or it may be time to get a new pair of boots.
When should you replace your laces?
You will start to see a difference in your laces if you’re trying out new lacing techniques or methods. The laces will start to pull where the threads get thinner (almost as if they’re about to snap!) and become a lot weaker in some areas which can lead to additional stress on your walking boots resulting in possible injuries.
If you’re hiking for a long period of time, we would recommend to take an extra pair of laces with you in case of emergencies.