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Hidden Knot Lacing

By hiding the knot underneath, the result is an uninterrupted series of straight "bars" that looks particularly distinctive on dress shoes or sneakers alike.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets

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Lacing Technique:

• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.

• The left (blue) end runs straight up on the inside, then straight across on the outside.

• Both ends run straight up on the inside, each skipping one eyelet and emerging two eyelets higher up.

• Both ends continue straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelets.

• Alternate running up on the inside and across on the outside until the ends meet between the top eyelet and second eyelet from the top.

• Carefully tie the knot inside the shoe at that point. This can either be tied with a Standard Shoelace Knot or with a simpler knot like a Reef Knot (as shown in the diagram at left).

• Finally, tuck the ends into the shoe.

Distinctive look
Tricky to tie knot
Slight discomfort
28% longer ends (approx.)

Any discomfort that may be caused by the knot and loose ends being tucked into the shoe can be reduced by positioning the knot towards the outer side of the foot.

Note also that Hidden Knot Lacing only works correctly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs (eg. 8 pairs = 16 eyelets). This is because the lace must cross the shoe an even number of times so that the ends will meet and can be tied together. On shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs (eg. 7 pairs = 14 eyelets), the lace ends finish diagonally opposite each other at the top of the shoe.

Despite this limitation, Hidden Knot Lacing is VERY popular. This has led people to develop all sorts of ways to get it to work on shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs.

See below for some of these workarounds.

Sports / Military Advice:

Like other straight lacing methods, Hidden Knot Lacing has an additional benefit for sporting or military use: The upper horizontal sections of shoelace can be quickly cut through with a knife or scissors in order to more easily remove a boot from a broken, sprained or otherwise injured ankle or foot.

Note that most military forces have regulations for just about everything, so I'd recommend that military personnel check before they adopt this, or any other, possible non-regulation lacing method!

Hidden Knot Lacing Gallery
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Grey Puma Bournes with Hidden Knot Lacing
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Shoelace Lengths for Hidden Knot Lacing
Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 63 cm
25 inch
(N/A) 80 cm
31 inch
(N/A) 96 cm
38 inch
(N/A) 112 cm
44 inch
Lengths available: 27" 27" | 36" 36" | 40" 45"
Comparative Length:
Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.
Longer ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (+28% on average).
• These are approximate shoelace lengths for using this lacing on an average sized sneaker.
• For more accurate lengths, use the Shoelace Length Calculator.

Odd Workarounds

As mentioned above, Hidden Knot Lacing only works correctly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs. On shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs, the ends don't meet at the top, instead ending up diagonally across from each other. Here's several common workarounds, using a shoe with seven pairs of eyelets as an example.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 1 Skip One Eyelet Pair

One solution is to simply not use either the top or the bottom pair of eyelets. Using only an even number of eyelet pairs avoids the odd limitation.

It's also possible to skip a pair of eyelets somewhere in the middle, which breaks the lacing into two sections.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 2 One Diagonal

Use a single diagonal crossover somewhere in the lacing. This diagram shows the diagonal at the bottom. Near the middle of the lacing, a diagonal may be positioned to line up with and run through a tongue centering loop (if the shoe has one). The diagonal can even be run around the inside of the tongue, making it invisible at the expense of some slight discomfort.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 3 One Crossover

Instead of trying to hide a single diagonal, this alternative makes a feature out of a single crossover, similar to the look of Over Under Lacing. This crossover can be placed at either the top or bottom of the lacing, but unlike the above "One Diagonal" variation, it cannot be placed in the middle of the lacing.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 4 Cut and Tie Off

Similar to the single diagonal shown above, the shoelace can be cut (where the diagonal would have been) and the ends tied off on opposite sides of the shoe. In this diagram, the knotted ends are hidden underneath the bottom left eyelet and the second from bottom right eyelet.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 5 Double Overlap

This unusual solution works by doubling up the laces through the second from bottom pair of eyelets. Because it's near the bottom of the shoe, any difficulty with tightening this section is not so noticeable as the shoe doesn't need to open wide at that point.

Hidden Knot Lacing Odd Variation 6 Across and Back

The second from bottom straight section runs across left-to-right (on top), then right-to-left (underneath), passing under itself on the left side. The underlying section is fairly well hidden by the straight section on top.

This is the preferred method for dress shoes with three pairs of eyelets, with the lacing running across and back under the middle pair of eyelets.

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Related Links
Straight Bar Lacing Straight Bar Lacing

Identical lacing with a visible knot across the top.

Hiking Biking Lacing Hiking Biking Lacing

Inside-out version, which has advantages for hiking or biking.

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View and customize Hidden Knot Lacing using Create-a-Lace.

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