End Shortening Lacing
A variation of Straight Bar Lacing with a convoluted path on the inside that invisibly consumes more shoelace, effectively "shortening" the ends.
Lacing Technique – Variation 1 – Spiral Path – for even numbers of eyelet pairs
• Begin straight across on the outside (grey section) and in through the bottom eyelets.
• The left (blue) end runs all the way up the inside and out through the top left eyelet. Adjust so that the end is a comfortable length for tying.
• The right (yellow) end runs straight up the inside and out through the second-from-top right eyelet, then continues straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelet.
• The left (yellow) end runs straight down the inside and out through the second-from-bottom left eyelet, then continues straight across on the outside and in through the adjacent eyelet.
• Continue spiralling up, left, down and right, each time running straight across the next lower eyelets from the top and the next higher eyelets from the bottom, until the final straight section completes the centre of the spiral.
• The right (yellow) end runs straight up the inside and out through the top right eyelet.
Even no. of eyelets = neat
Odd no. of eyelets = messy
17% shorter ends (approx.) than Straight Bar Lacing
7% longer ends (approx.) than Criss Cross Lacing
End Shortening / Lengthening
This method only shortens the loose ends compared to other similar looking straight lacing methods like Straight Bar Lacing. Compared to basic Criss Cross Lacing, this method will actually lengthen the loose ends (though not by anywhere near as much as Straight Bar Lacing lengthens the ends).
In other words, if we compare the three lacing methods:
- Criss Cross Lacing = shortest ends;
- End Shortening Lacing = medium ends;
- Straight Bar Lacing = longest ends.
Odd Eyelet Pairs Limitation
Just like Straight Bar Lacing, End Shortening Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs (eg. 8 pairs = 16 eyelets). This is because the shoelace must cross the shoe an even number of times so that the ends meet in the middle and can be tied together.
On shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs (eg. 7 pairs = 14 eyelets), a workaround is needed so that the ends still meet. The "across and back" workaround (shown above) is probably the best compromise in terms of retaining the overall look plus allowing a regular knot.
See below for several other odd workarounds.
Sports / Military Advice
Like other straight lacing methods, End Shortening 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!
End Shortening Lacing Gallery
Converse Chuck Taylor Storm Hi-tops with Straight Bar Lacing (on the shoe at left) compared with End Shortening Lacing (on the shoe at right), which has much shorter loops and loose ends.
Hover over any photo to view details
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Shoelace Lengths for End Shortening Lacing
|Pairs of eyelets:||2||3||4||5||6||7||8|
|Length needed:||63 cm
Comparative Length –
– Compared to Straight Bar Lacing
Longer shoelaces needed than those for other straight lacing methods like Straight Bar Lacing.
Shorter ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (−17% on average).
– Compared to Criss Cross Lacing
Shorter shoelaces needed than those for basic Criss Cross Lacing.
Longer ends if existing shoelaces are re-used (+7% on average).
As mentioned above, End Shortening Lacing only works neatly on shoes with even numbers of eyelet pairs. Here's several common workarounds for shoes with odd numbers of eyelet pairs, using sample diagrams with seven pairs of eyelets.
Ends Tucked In
This first diagram shows the simplest solution for being unable to tie naturally – don't tie the ends at all, instead tucking them into the shoe at the bottom-left and middle-right eyelets.
For a tighter fit, you could also permanently anchor the ends inside the eyelets, either with simple stopper knots or using Lace Anchors.
Across and Back
As shown in more detail in the main lacing diagram above, the second-from-top straight section runs straight across from right-to-left (on the outside), then left-to-right (on the inside), tucking under the vertical section on the right side. The inner straight section is fairly well hidden by the outer straight section, especially with flat shoelaces. Contributed by Jeremy J.
Twice Through One Eyelet
Lace the shoe normally, then at the top of the shoe, both ends emerge through the same top eyelet (in this case, the top-left). Feed one end across and out through the opposite eyelet (in this case, the top-right). When the ends are tied, there will be a double-pass across the top, but this will be fairly well hidden by the shoelace knot. Contributed by Dan S.
Use a single diagonal somewhere in the lacing. At the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. At the bottom, if can even be run around the inside of the tongue to hide the diagonal, though at the expense of some slight discomfort. Near the middle, a diagonal may be positioned to line up with and run through a tongue centering loop (if the shoe has one).
Instead of trying to hide a single diagonal, this alternative makes a feature out of a single crossover, similar to the look of Roman 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.
Like a squashed version of the above "One Crossover" variation, both ends run straight across one pair of eyelets and feed a second time through the opposite eyelets. Near the top, it's less noticeable due to the loops and loose ends. Near the bottom, any difficulty with tightening or loosening this section is not so noticeable as the shoe doesn't need to open wide at that point.
Combine with Lock Lacing
Lace normally up to the second pair of eyelets from the top, then finish with a High Lace Lock through the top two pairs of eyelets. Although this doesn't look as neat, it does pull the lacing extra tight.
See the Lock Lacing page for more information.
Skip One Eyelet Pair
All of the above odd workarounds are laced normally through an even number of eyelet pairs, then something is added that may be either visually or functionally awkward. An alternative is to not add anything – instead leaving either the top or the bottom pair of eyelets empty, or even to skip one pair of eyelets somewhere in the middle of the lacing.
End Shortening Other Methods
The concept of using a convoluted spiral path through the eyelets to consume more shoelace length can be applied to other lacing methods. Any method with vertical sections running up the inside – and thus hidden under the sides of the shoe – can be converted this way.
At right are end shortening variations of two lacing methods –
Bow Tie Lacing and
Roman Lacing. Each of these uses a long, spiral path to effectively shorten the ends of the shoelaces compared to the
same method laced with a short, direct path.
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