Ukrainian Lacing

Named by its Ukrainian inventor, this method has permanently-anchored loose ends plus a "captive" Starting Knot, which saves having to re-tie that first knot each time.

Diagram for 8 pairs of eyelets, variation 1

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Lacing Technique – Variation 1 – Ends anchored separately at bottom

• Begin straight across on the inside (grey section) and out through the top eyelets.

• Leave a long loop of slack shoelace at each side. These loops will be used to pull the lacing tight and tie the knot, so leave about 100mm (4").

• Tie a left-over-right Starting Knot, then feed the ends in through the next lower eyelets (2nd-from-top).

• Cross the ends and feed in through the next lower eyelets. Repeat until you reach the bottom eyelets.

• At the bottom, tie a stopper knot or use Lace Anchors at each side, locking the ends and stopping them from pulling out of the bottom eyelets.


1 Ends anchored separately at the bottom.

2 Ends tied together across the bottom-middle.

3 Ends tied together across the top-middle.


No loose ends

Fewer steps to tie

Top eyelets loose

+31% longer loops (approx.)


• Variation 1 and 2 both require the shoe to be completely un-laced and then re-laced from top to bottom.

• Variation 3 provides the smoothest transition from a shoe that was previously laced with Criss Cross Lacing. Simply remove the lacing from the top eyelets, tie an overhand Starting Knot across the 2nd-from-top eyelets, feed the ends loosely into the top eyelets, then tie the ends together at the top-middle with a permanent Reef Knot.

• Because this lacing is tied at the 2nd-from-top eyelets, the shoe may feel a little loose at the top eyelets.

• This lacing is not a traditional Ukrainian technique, rather, it is a recent development, patriotically named by its Ukrainian inventor, Vitaliy Gnatenko.

Ukrainian Lacing Theory

The main concept of Ukrainian Lacing is to have a "captive" Starting Knot, which saves the few steps of tying a fresh Starting Knot each time.

In addition, the loose ends are replaced with a similarly "captive" pass through the top eyelets. This looks a bit neater, plus it allows the shoes to be worn while un-tied, as there is no danger of the dangling ends trailing in the dirt or getting stepped on, causing a trip.

Tying The Knot

The pre-formed loops / starting knot require a slightly different tying technique:

1. Tighten the lacing as usual from the bottom to top;

2. At the 2nd-from-top eyelets, tighten down the captive Starting Knot. Take care to tighten down onto the 2nd-from-top eyelets, not onto the top eyelets;

3. Using the two shoelace segments coming out of the knot, tie your preferred Finishing Knot. Again, take care to tighten down onto the 2nd-from-top eyelets, and leave a little slack on the loops that enter the top eyelets – these will be used when it comes time to un-tie the knot.

You can use just about any shoelace knot technique that you prefer. In fact, the pre-formed loops are ideal for tying my Ian Knot, the world's fastest shoelace knot. Ukrainian Lacing + Ian Knot = efficient duo.

Shoelace Lengths for Ukrainian Lacing

Pairs of eyelets: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Length needed: 55 cm
22 inch
66 cm
26 inch
76 cm
30 inch
87 cm
34 inch
97 cm
38 inch
108 cm
42 inch
118 cm
47 inch
Lengths available: 24" 27" 27" 36" 36" 40" 45"

NOTE: These are approximate shoelace lengths for using this lacing on an average sized sneaker. For more accurate lengths, use the Shoelace Length Calculator.

Comparative Length

Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.

Longer loops if existing shoelaces are re-used (+31% on average).

More details.

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