How To Lace Boots

Most boots come laced straight out of the box, and we don’t usually bother with them. The truth of the matter is that there are an incredible number of ways to lace up your boots.

Different lacing patterns are used to change the fit and functionality of the boot. For instance, if you find that your boots are loose on the heel,  then you adapt the lacing near the top eyelets. This will make the boot feel more secure.

Lacing boots can get confusing. I’ve certainly found myself tied up in knots more times than I can count. Have no fear, however. This guide will talk you through all the terminology and some common lacing patterns.


There are a few different words you’re going to need to know before you dive straight into lacing up your boots.

  • Collar – This is the top of the boot that sits around the leg or the ankle, depending on how tall the boot is. The collar is often padded to provide comfort and support. Other boots are less padded, this tends to be the case with higher boots.
  • Shaft – The shaft is the sock part of the boot. The bit that sticks up from the foot area. The shaft can be longer or shorter depending on the kind of boot. Thigh high boots, for example, have a much longer shaft than an ankle boot.
  • Tongue – This is a strip of leather or fabric that sits under the laces and against the top of your foot. The tongue is either fixed in place or free moving. Some boots fix the tongue at the lower end but leave it free moving toward the top.
  • Eyelets – Eyelets are the holes through which you thread the laces. The number of eyelets depends on the size of the boot.

On work or hiking boots, the eyelets are usually reinforced with metal rings to allow for tighter lacing and prevent the fabric from ripping.

Sometimes, eyelets are made from small loops of fabric sewn up the boot. This tends to be more common on sneakers than boots, but it is not unheard of in the boot world.

Lacing Patterns

Some of these patterns are for aesthetic benefit, while others have a practical side. We’ll highlight the pros and cons of each lacing pattern for you.


This is a super common pattern, in most boots come laced this way. The reason it is so common is that it is incredibly easy to do and super easy to adjust. This means you can make it tighter or looser without having to relace it all.

  1. To begin this pattern, you need to put the lace through both of the bottom eyelets. You want to enter the first eyelet from above and the second eyelet from below.
  2. Pull the lace through until you have an equal length of lace on both sides of the eyelets.
  3. Take one lace and thread it through the next eyelet on the opposite side from the lace. It should be one eyelet up from the bottom.
  4. Make sure you thread into the eyelet from underneath each time.
  5. Continue threading them into every other eyelet from side to side.
  6. Once you’ve finished with one side of the lace, you can repeat with the other end of the lace.


This pattern is more of an aesthetic pattern than anything. It is, however, incredibly easy to adjust. This makes it ideal for everyday wear.

This pattern also helps reduce the wear on your laces, which can make them last much longer.

  1. To begin, thread the lace through the bottom two eyelets. Enter the first eyelet from the top and the second eyelet from the bottom.
  2. Pull the lace through until both ends are equal in length.
  3. Cross the laces in your hand and then go through the next eyelets. You need to go in through the top and out through the bottom of the eyelet.
  4. Cross the laces again and go into the next eyelets. This time, go through from the bottom of the eyelets and out of the top.
  5. Continue doing this alternating pattern until you get to the top.

Note: If you have an even number of eyelets, switch step 3 so that you go from the bottom to the top of the eyelet. Then you can alternate as normal.

Bar Lacing

This is a great, clean looking lacing pattern. It looks great on boots and high-top shoes.

As well as being aesthetically pleasing, this lacing pattern helps to remove the pressure from the top of your foot.

The only downside to this pattern is the fact that it can be difficult to adjust.

  1. Put the lace through the bottom two eyelets. You need to go from top to bottom on both sides.
  2. Take the right lace directly up to the next eyelet and thread it through from the bottom to the top.
  3. Still with the right lace, go directly across to the next eyelet. Thread the lace from the top through to the bottom.
  4. Take the left lace directly up to the next open eyelet and thread it from the bottom to the top.
  5. Then, take the left lace directly across to the next eyelet. Thread it from the top to the bottom of the eyelet.
  6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 until you get to the top. If you have an even number of eyelets, you’ll be able to do this pattern up to the top.

Note: If you have an odd number of eyelets, you won’t be able to complete the pattern. When you get to this point, cross the lace over as if you were doing a standard crisscross pattern.

Final Thoughts

There are many more lacing patterns that work well with boots. Some are designed to give targeted support, others just to look good.

The key to figuring out what pattern to use is to work out what kind of support or use you need.

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