Instructions for Tying Shoelaces

Before the wide-spread use of Velcro in the late 1970s, most shoes came with shoelaces. Young children were taught how to tie their shoes when they were still pre-schoolers and had daily opportunities to practice their new skill. Since children's shoes and many styles of modern shoes no longer have laces, there are some adults who never master this relatively simple skill. However, shoelaces can still be found on runners, work boots and some dress shoes. It is worthwhile to learn how to perform this simple task.

Things You'll Need

  • Lace-up shoes
  • Pair of shoelaces


    • 1

      Take off the shoes. Fold the length of the shoelace in half. Hold the center point between the thumb and forefinger of one hand and hold it in place at the top of the shoe, between the eyelet holes. Pass one end of the lace up through the first eyelet hole nearest the toe of the shoe. Thread the opposite end of the lace into the first eyelet on the other side of the shoe, again threading the lace from the wrong side of the shoe up out the top.

    • 2

      Pull the ends of the laces together to ensure the ends meet in the center of the shoe. Hold the end of the lace that is coming from the eyelet on the left side of the shoe and cross it over the other end of the lace, forming an X. Thread this end up through the next eyelet on the side of the shoe that is opposite where the lace came out. Thread the lace from inside the shoe and pull it out the other side of the eyelet on the top of the shoe. Repeat with the lace that is coming out of the eyelet on the right side of the shoe, under the crossed-over lace. Keep repeating this crossover-and-threading process until all the eyelet holes are laced.

    • 3

      Put the shoe on your foot. Pull both ends up tightly. Adjust the tautness of the lacing by adjusting the crossover loops. Starting at the area of the shoe closest to the lace ends, pinch one side of the lace with your thumb and forefinger. Pull upward to pull more lace back toward the instep of the shoe to loosen the loops. Tighten the laces by pinching the lace below the first crossover nearest the toe area and pulling tightly. Repeat through all the eyelets until the laces are tight enough or loose enough for comfort.

    • 4

      Tie a knot in the ends of the laces. Cross the left end of the lace over the right end and then pass it under the X that was formed. Pull tightly on both ends to secure the knot.

    • 5

      Make a loop of about 2 inches in one end of the lace by folding the lace over. Pinch the folded lace with thumb and forefinger and hold it tightly in this position. Using your free hand, make a similar fold in the other lace and pinch it with the other thumb and forefinger.

    • 6

      Tie the two loops into a knot by crossing one over the other and then sliding that loop under the crossover. Pull upon the folded tips of the loops to tighten the knot. Make another knot if the loops are long enough to double-knot the laces and keep them more secure.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are alternate methods for lacing shoes that will form different patterns on the top of the shoes. It is possible to thread the eyelets from the top of the shoe through to the inside or to form parallel horizontal lines on the top of the shoe between the eyelets. Master one method first before you experiment with the others.
  • When purchasing a new pair of shoelaces, measure the old ones before you go shopping so you can purchase the correct size. If you don't have the old laces, measure the distance across the instep between each hole as well as the spaces between the holes on each side of the shoe. Add at least an extra 18 inches to this measurement so the ends will be long enough to tie into a bow.
  • Stand up and walk a few steps to check the comfort of the laces. If the laces feel too tight, untie them and adjust the tautness. Wearing tight laces for a long period of time can cause major discomfort in the upper part of your foot.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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