How to Lace Dress Shoes | Straight Bar Lacing Method

How to Lace Dress Shoes | Straight Bar Lacing Method

I’m Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project. Today in this video I’m going to be showing you how to lace your leather dress shoes the proper way. So there’s two different ways that you can lace your dress shoes. The first way is the crossed of method as shown on these Allen Edmond’s. This is a great example of how a worn pair of shoe laces, laced correctly, can disproportionately affect the overall look of the shoe. Now these George Cleverley shoes are laced with straight across method with one of our Sovereign Grade pair of dress laces and you can see how it’s just neater, cleaner and looks better. So that’s why here at The Hanger Project I really strictly prefer straight across method. The reason is, that when compared to the criss-cross method, it’s just much cleaner, neater and formal. So if you have any questions or comments during this video feel free to ask them in the comments section below. Let us know how you prefer to lace your dress shoes. Do you use black and brown laces or do you prefer colored laces. Let us know because I’m always interested to hear what other people are doing. Today in this video I’m going to be lacing my shoes with our new sovereign grade laces. Now we have these laces made specifically for us and North Hampton which is really the center of the UK shoe making industry. So these laces are as fine as any lace you can find anywhere. We carry them on in a variety of sizes, lengths and colors. So if you need laces check these out. So there’s two different ways that you can lace your shoes in order to create the Barbell method. There’s the straight up and the cross method and I just want to show you both of these. Now the most common one you find on the Internet is the straight-up which I’m going to show you right here. So again you start on the first rung and then you just are bouncing your way up. Crossing again skipping your way up. Crossing and then skipping your way up. And then there you are. And then again on the other side you would be going up crossing you’d cross once and then you go out. Now the problem with this method is that because you’re just kind of. Jumping up your laces it’s difficult to cinch the top of the shoe. Close very easily you just don’t have much leverage. So that’s why I prefer the criss-crossed method. So again you start the same way but you’re crossing over. Right going across. You’re still skipping up but you’re crossing over going a cross crossing over. And then you end. And then again here you’re crossing over. Going across. And then crossing over, ending. So because you have this kind of crossed pattern whenever you go to pull the shoe laces tight you just have more leverage that actually tightens the vamp of the shoe. But it’s good to know that two different methods you can experiment with both and see which you prefer. But personally the cross method is my favorite. OK so the first step is going to be to remove your shoelaces right. Untie your shoe laces and then you need to take the shoe tree out so I always recommend loosening the shoe laces all the way down the front of the shoe before you take the shoe tree out because if the shoe tree fits tight you don’t want to put too much pressure on the shoe itself. So I’m gonna set the shoe tree aside. And then, you know, here are the shoe laces right. So I’m just going to unlace these. Now you want to be careful when you’re unlacing your shoes because any time you’re releasing them or unlacing them you’re putting a lot of strain and pressure on the islets themselves. So the more gently you can do this just the better condition you’re going to keep those eyelets in. It’s actually one of the reasons that I personally prefer not to unlace my shoes whenever I polish them. Just because if I did that every single time I polished my shoes I would just put an incredible amount of strain on the eyelets themselves. I’m unlacing them, jsut going one by one. Now you can see on these cleverly use the tongue is actually sewn into the upper which makes it easy to clearly define especially in this last eyelet. So if you’re doing this at home and have time this would be a perfect opportunity to shine your shoes since you have the laces removed. OK so once it’s in there. You want to roughly equalize the length of the lace. There’s always an opportunity at the end to adjust them so that they’re equal. And I find that as you’re lacing your shoes you know regardless of how many times you do it they’re always going to end up at slightly unequal lengths so you can end up having to adjust anyway. I’m going to start with the first lace. Take it across. And then up. And out and then back in on the same level from the top down. To create that second barbell. So then I switch to the other lace. Right. And that lace is coming in through right here. I’m going to take it across. To the next eyelet. Up and then back in. Now, I’m using round laces just because I think that they’re slightly more formal than like fatter flat lace. But if you’re using flat laces this is a great opportunity that as you’re lacing them in to make sure that they’re lying down flat. So if you see the lace twisting it you’re pulling it through, correct that because you want to do that as you’re lacing the shoe. OK. So I’ve got this one and I’m going to go back to the other lace. Again. You’re always crossing over. Before you go up. And then creating the barbell right. There we go. I’m going to go to the other lace. I’m almost done. So this is going to go on just again across and up through and we’re done on that side. And then the other one is going to be again across, up and through. So to check the length again I’m going to loosen them a little bit. I’m going to insert the shoe tree back into the shoe. And let’s see how he looks. Shoe tree is back in. After you’re done you always want to pull those tight to make sure that you know there’s no extra slack. Pull those through and then tight them. So here I’m going to tie this using the Parisian Knot method. We actually have a video showing you how to do this but you cross your laces form a loop. And then you wrap the other least twice around your finger. Pull your finger through. And then pull that down and then just tighten it. So there we are. That’s how you lace your leather dress shoes you can see that the straight across method looks great. It’s a fresh clean and it’s how we recommend that you lace your shoes the proper way. Now some of the questions we get here at The Hanger Project are “why should I use a waxed cotton dress lace”. The reason you want to use a waxed lace is just because the wax just creates a shinier kind of more formal lace that looks neater right. So a worn lace that’s kind of lost its wax coating is honestly a shoe lace that probably ready to be replaced. How often should I replaced my laces? As you are lacing your shoes in the morning and you’re inspecting your lace. If you see at all that the woven pattern is beginning to fray at any of the eyelets we would say that you need to replace those laces as soon as possible. Now a trick is, and this is for comfort, whenever you’re lacing your shoes you don’t want to pull it too tight because as your foot swells throughout the day it’s going to create a really uncomfortable kind of pressure point across this vamp. So you want to tighten them kind of moderately just so that they’re closed. And then again the parisian method is you take one loop. Right you wrap the other end around twice. Take it through. And then you just kind of pull this tight and you’ve essentially double knotted this. So this knot just guaranteed to not come undone. So there we are. This video showed you how to lace your leather dress shoes the proper way. If you liked this video please give us a thumbs up. And if you haven’t already please subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you can get notifications whenever we release new videos. And then lastly if you have any questions about how to lace your shoes or about this video or if you just want to let us know how you prefer to lace your shoes. Comment below in the comments section. I get back don’t question myself personally and we always love hearing from customers. I’m Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project and here the Hanger Project. We love helping the well-dressed take care of your work. Thanks for joining us.

46 thoughts on “How to Lace Dress Shoes | Straight Bar Lacing Method

  1. Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed our complete guide to lacing your dress shoes let us know. How do you lace your shoes?

  2. Thanks for the tips! I really like the straight bar method but have always used the straight-up method which has been problematic, I will definitely give the crossed method a go now! I've also used the Parisian knot tying method my entire life without knowing it had a name! My grandmother taught me to tie my shoes when I was 5 and always thought I was doing it wrong! Nice to know at almost 60 years old I was way ahead of my time! Thanks for the instructive videos!

  3. Great videos on this channel. I discovered this method (straight bar with crossing underneath) on the AE website and it quickly became my favorite as well. 🙂

  4. Sorry, I have another off topic question in regards to my soaked calfskin suede boots I made in the previous video. The boots have a separate calfskin leather liner and I was wondering if I just need a conditioner for it; or if there's something more specific since it's the liner. Thanks

  5. Hi,

    Good afternoon. I have been using this lacing my shoes this way for years. A bit of trivia for you, this style of lacing created the term "Straight Laced" as shorthand to describe someone.


  6. Excellent method. I used to lace my shoes like this when I was in school, but then started using slipons later on and forgot how to do it. When I wanted to straight lace my shoes most of the videos on the net showed the straight up method, which I felt was more complex compared what I used to do and as you mentioned less effective. Thank you.

  7. Another great option. However, I find that the zigzags often show through, especially on Derbys, which is why I opt for the straight up method. Thanks for the video.

  8. On Bluchers and Derbies with an odd number of eyelet pairs. I tend to use an over-under method. On all Oxfords and Open laced shoes with an even number of eyelet pairs, I use straight bar lacing. On Oxfords with an odd number of eyelet pairs, I cross at the bottom; it's less noticeable.

  9. I prefer the straight up method for my Allen Edmond Park Aves, Strands, and Mcallisters. Since I couldn't swing having my shoes custom made for me, the top doesn't close all the way like yours do in the demo, so the straight up gives a much cleaner look without being able to see the crossed laces underneath. With the 6 eyes of my shoes you don't even get that 1 cross at the top. I think it looks sharp.

  10. It seems like this method uses more lace. Using the stock laces, I only have a few inches available to tie the knot. I'll buy longer laces but at first this limits the free space I can use to loosen my 7 eyelet dress boots to get my foot in and out. Fyi: Allen Edmonds Stirling boot.

  11. I use the straight-up method. However, I place the diagonal, when needed for odd number of eyelet pairs, at the bottom; this conceals the diagonal better.

  12. Women fuss about eyelashes no one cares about, we fuss over shoe laces no one cares about. Love it 😂

  13. Most of my shoes have the open lace upper where this is not an attractive option. Example I cannot use this on shoes where you the tongue is visible. I can pull this off on one pair of my shoes. Then I have a wide foot so shoes that "might" look good are spread out just enough to look bad with the bar lace. Wide foot problems.

  14. How could shoes which are worn and the laces naturally pull on the eyelets not be able to handle their shoe laces being removed normally and not with all this effeminate care? I call bullshit on that.

  15. I've used the straight/up method forever but since seeing this crossed method, I've switched. The latter seems to offer a better force distribution over all the eyelets which means a more secure and comfortable fit and it uses up more of the lace length. I prefer the look of shorter laces i.e a smaller bow and lace ends, so this is perfect for me.

    Thanks Kirby.

    e: oo. I wanted to suggest that you check out the so-called Ian Knot. It is the fastest way to tie a pair of laces in the world in a secure, elegant and horizontal fashion. I recommend you check it out. I use it when tying all my shoes

  16. I think that your Parisian knot tried to rotate to a 45 degree angle to the laces. If you begin the knot with a left over right 1/2 knot instead of right over left, the knot stays perpendicular to the laces. (since you are wrapping around the finger on your left hand twice) This is the opposite of the Berluti knot which starts with a right over left 1/2 knot to begin.

  17. Two things I've found plus one. I'm careful to keep the lace I'm not using on the insole so it's not fouling with the lace your threading. Two…I keep mine slightly loose so that when my foot slips in, even using a horn (and for a pair that cost me in excess of 600$ I'm going to use a horn to not bend down, repeatedly, the leather behind your heel) then tighten after you're shod. Bonus: Lacing suede shoes is a bit trickier as the lace will not flow as easily. Also, a suede shoe too tightly bound will inevitably accumulate a flattened spot where the laces are over the leather. I take my laces out when I'm not wearing them, use trees on all my shoes and, for suede, acquire a suede brush but learn to use it carefully; Many of them are really intended for rough out or coarser suede and will damage shoe grade suede easily.
    This may be more trouble than you wish to go to but….I had the bootmaker (I live on a ranch in Kansas so boots are a lot more common than Ferragamo's….) cut the laces so that when properly done, they make a good looking, even bow that doesn't droop, sag or leave one lace hanging down. He also sealed the end of each lace putting a slight point on it, makes it easier to draw through the holes.

    Advice from oh high. When Bill Allen first brought the proto-type for the 707 to Wichita in the 1950's, he made several pertinent comments that remain important for traveler. Let's remember he was President of Boeing, knew the engineering so….whatever he said is good to remember. One of the things was that was these 'new' jets had a far better pressurization system so me who routinely wore tie shoes should remember to loosen them or wear a dress 'moccasin'-loafer. Also, he said that his guys routinely wore Wellington Boots which allowed their ankles to easily move on the pedals but kept their feet warm-apparently Boeing hadn't worked out all the kinks in cabin heating and air conditioning. Proof of what he said? About three weeks ago I flew QANTAS non-stop (19 hours) From Dallas to Sydney. With a custom tailored suit….I wore Cole Haan Penny loafers….also carried several pair of socks to swap off as the flight progressed, something more men should do as well as carry a self-sealing bag for the socks/hose you're swapping out.

  18. Flat waxed premium laces add so much to quality shoes, I don’t understand why they even on €250 pairs you get cheapo round ones and it takes going up to €450 Franchescettis to get a nice pair of laces. To make it worse, Hanger Project seems to be the sole source of quality narrow waxed flat laces, 2-3 mm, I couldn’t find any other vendor to offer this kind of laces and even HP only has them on their US site and it costs €70 to have them shipped to Europe.

  19. This is a good method if shoes close all the way and laces aren’t showing but otherwise it’s a better idea not to cross laces over but rather stay on the same side or at worst cross over once if there’s an odd number of eyelets. Some might say that adds strain on eyelets but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

  20. Thank you. Kirby, just tried this method. A little less neat with a gap showing some criss-cross but probably still better (as you say, from afar) than what I've always been doing. Will also tinker around with it based on some other suggestions made here and see what happens. Thanks to all!

  21. I just bought a pair of Allen Edmonds, my foot size is a 9 D, But the shoes at the throat of the shoes seems to be spread out quite a bit, does it make a difference or should the throat be more closer to being together from left side to right side. It seems kind of odd looking at them with my foot inside.?

  22. Just bought my first real pair of dress shoes a pair of Florsheim Salerno cap toe oxfords and did this, it changed the look of the shoe

  23. Quick question Kirby, why not lace them like military parade boots ? I know it's harder to tighten but it looks even cleaner since they only cross on barbells.

  24. How do u do it without all the crossings? Looks like it only looks good if there is no gap between sides, otherwise looks bad

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