
Accurate Shoelace Lengths

Calculating a reasonably accurate shoelace length for a particular shoe with a particular
lacing method requires taking into account many factors and some pretty complicated
mathematics.

Shoelace Length Factors

For shoes with
EYELETS, the shoelace length depends on
FOUR measurements plus the lacing method used (such as
Criss Cross Lacing in the diagram below):

[P]  Pairs of Eyelets. The diagram at right has 6 pairs of eyelets.
[H]  Horizontal spacing between centres of adjacent eyelets, measured with the shoe tight on the foot. On my
screen, the diagram at right has a horizontal spacing of 35 mm.
[V]  Vertical spacing between centres of eyelets, or from the top of one eyelet to the top of the next eyelet.
On my screen, the diagram at right has a vertical spacing of 16 mm.
[L]  Length of each shoelace end (with which you tie your knots), measured from the middle of the knot to the
end of the shoelace. 250 mm (10") is usually ideal; allow more if you prefer a larger bow, less if you like it
compact.
For an accurate horizontal value "H", do the measurement while wearing the shoe. This will allow for a wider or
narrower horizontal spacing for those with wide or narrow feet.

For shoes with
LUGS, the width of those lugs is also considered, which means
FIVE measurements plus the lacing method used (such as
Lug Criss Cross Lacing):

[P]  Pairs of Lugs. The diagram at right has 5 pairs of lugs.
[H]  Horizontal spacing between the inside edges of adjacent lugs (where the laces pass through), measured
with the shoe tight on the foot. On my screen, the diagram at right has a horizontal spacing of 33 mm.
[V]  Vertical spacing between centres of lugs, or from the top of one lug to the top of the next lug. On my
screen, the diagram at right has a vertical spacing of 18 mm.
[W]  Width of lugs, measured vertically. On my screen, the diagram at right has 8 mm wide lugs.
[L]  Length of each shoelace end (with which you tie your knots), measured from the middle of the knot to the
end of the shoelace. 250 mm (10") is usually ideal; allow more if you prefer a larger bow, less if you like it
compact.

If either the Horizontal spacing [H] or Vertical spacing [V] varies between one pair of eyelets (or lugs) and the
next, just use an average.
Calculating The Length

Having measured the shoe to determine the above factors for [P], [H], [V], [W] and [L], an accurate shoelace length
can now be calculated for any lacing method on that shoe. This can be done several different ways:
 The easiest way is to enter the measurements into my webbased
Shoelace Length Calculator. This will automatically
calculate the correct lengths for all of the different lacing methods.
 The next most difficult way is to refer to the underlying
Shoelace Length Formulas, then enter those formulas into a spreadsheet, substituting your own measurements for
[P], [H], [V], [W] and [L].
 The hardest way is to again refer to the underlying formulas and
manually calculate the result. Remember the order of precedence: Brackets, then Multiplications and Divisions,
finally Additions and Subtractions.

NonTechnical Method

Not everyone enjoys mathematics, and most people won't need to resort to the above measures to determine a
reasonably accurate shoelace length. If the shoes contain existing laces that are already the exact length (or
close to it) but that need replacement for whatever reason, it's easiest to simply remove and measure those laces,
adjusting by a small amount if necessary.
If the shoes
don't contain existing laces, a piece of cheap string can be used instead! Lace the shoes as required, tighten
comfortably, tie with suitably sized bows, trim the loose ends so they won't get underfoot, then remove & measure
that string. This takes into account all the subtleties that can't easily be factored into a mathematical formula.

Related Links

Approximate Lengths
Lookup tables of length approximations plus an approximation formula.

Length Calculator
Webbased calculator to accurately compute shoelace lengths.


