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Straight Bar Lacing

Q: “I was on the subway this morning and saw this well-dressed guy with his shoes laced up a bit differently. The laces didn’t cross each other and it looked much cleaner. Do you know what I’m talking about? How I can tie my shoe like that?” – Joseph E.

A: That dapper gent was most likely tying his shoe using the Straight Bar Lacing method. The neater appearance is derived from the ingenious method of looping only one side of your shoe lace through the shoe eyelets, which eliminates the clutter of the traditional “crossing” method. You can see that traditional crossed laces (pictured on the left below) lack the visual sleekness of the Straight Bar lace (pictured on right below). So while many of you might be more familiar with former, we’re here to teach you the latter. And the best part? The Straight Bar lace is so easy and effective, you’ll be upping your style game in less than 5 minutes flat.

The Straight Bar Lacing Method: Here’s a 3-step visual diagram that explains (far better than words) the straight bar lacing technique. So grab your shoes and follow along:

Illustration by Ian Fieggen 

A tip to remember is that the yellow lace pictured in step 2 and 3 above needs to start off at approximately double the length of the blue lace. The reason is that the yellow lace is the side that’s being looped through all the shoe eyelets, so you’ll need a bit more slack to make sure both sides of the lace end up even. We know that once you see how much better your shoes look using the Straight Bar Lacing method, you won’t go back to the ol’ criss-cross!

We hope you learned something new today! 

If you have any specific questions or comments about this topic or any others, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at concierge@blacklapel.com!

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13 thoughts on “Straight Bar Lacing”

  1. Eric S. says:

    Just reviving this piece – and hopefully changing the tone – But I mastered the straight bar lace technique last night and it looks awesome! I wish there was a way to upload pictures. I would love a chance to share my handy work with you guys. Either way, I’m happy with my new found style. Thanks Black Lapel!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Happy to help, Eric. Stay on the straight and narrow!

  2. Chris says:

    Looks great, but neo-nazis use straight-lacing as a fashion signifier in places where their more obvious signals would get them tossed, or jumped. Might want to give thought to the message you could be unintentionally sending.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Chris, thanks for reading and thanks for the sharing the tip. We just want to point out that neo-Nazis also like to shave their heads. We’re not about to go tell Mr. Clean to clean up his image! 😉 Just a friendly reminder that not all fashion statements have to be political statements.

  3. Kyle says:

    Fun Fact: The Navy uses this style (in Canada at least) because you can cut the laces off with ease in case you fall overboard and need to swim!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Kyle, that’s some cool trivia! Thanks for sharing!

  4. eric says:

    ya the straight lace has been popular since the british used it in ww1 and 2…it was an easy way for medics to get boots off. Mods and Skins used it too in the 60s with the revival in Edwardian influenced suits

  5. Jovan says:

    Another good one is this: http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/straighteuropeanlacing.htm

    I’m gonna try it with my shoes soon.

  6. Pascal says:

    I was so excited about this technique that I directly unlaced my shoe, until I realized that it works great for an even pair of eyelets… and ALL of my Richelieus and Derbies have an odd pair of them… Any tips or fancy way to tie those?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      No worries! There are a couple work-arounds for this:

      1. Skip one eyelet. Simply skip either one pair of eyelets at the top or bottom.
      2. Use one diagonal pass. We like this workaround at the top as the diagonal pass is not as noticeable due to the bow and shoelace ends.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Jeremy says:

    Who knew a 5 min relace could add a bit more eye appeal. Thanks Black Lapel!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our thoughts exactly! Glad it was helpful Jeremy!

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