How to Lace Dress Shoes? Step by Step Guide

How to Lace Dress Shoes? Step by Step Guide

Sarkis Bedikian

Mastering how to lace dress shoes is an art that enhances your personal style and the sharpness of your attire. Properly laced shoes give you a polished look while also improving the fit and comfort of your footwear. Different lacing techniques can alter the appearance of your shoes, with methods like straight bar lacing, criss-cross lacing, and so much more.

Whether you're preparing for a formal event or refining your daily office wear, understanding how to expertly lace your dress shoes can make a noticeable difference in your ensemble. Let's dive into the ins and outs of various lacing dress shoes lacing techniques to amp up the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your footwear.

Lacing Dress Shoes

Choosing the Right Shoe Laces

  • Material: The choice of lace material greatly impacts the durability and appearance of your shoes. Waxed cotton laces are popular for their sleek look and ability to stay tied longer. Leather laces bring a rustic and robust aesthetic, ideal for more rugged dress shoes, while synthetic laces are durable and offer a variety of colors.
  • Length: The correct length of your laces should be determined by the number of eyelets on your shoes. Generally, for dress shoes with 3-5 eyelets, laces should be 24-30 inches long. If there are more than 5 eyelets, consider 30-36 inches to ensure you have enough length to tie a proper bow without excess.
  • Color: Matching the color of your laces to your shoes provides a classic, coordinated look. For a touch of personality, choosing a contrasting color can add a unique style statement to your outfit.

Preparing to Lace Your Dress Shoes

  • Start by inspecting the shoes and eyelets for signs of wear and tear or damage to ensure the best possible result from your new laces.
  • Remove old laces gently, clean out the eyelets if necessary to remove any dirt or residue, which can ensure a smooth lacing process.
  • Have your tools at the ready—perhaps a small hook for pulling laces tightly, or a needle for leather laces, along with your chosen new laces.

How to Lace Dress Shoes: Different Methods

Criss-Cross Lacing

  • Aesthetic: The criss-cross lacing is a traditional method that gives shoes a symmetrical and orderly appearance, making it a universally appealing choice.
  • How to Tie: Start by threading the lace horizontally through the bottom eyelets. From the inside out, cross the laces and insert them into the next set of eyelets, continuing in a criss-cross pattern to the top.
  • When to Use: Due to its versatility, this method works perfectly in both professional and casual settings, making it a go-to for daily wear and suitable for almost any dress shoe.

Straight Bar Lacing

  • Aesthetic: This lacing technique is known for its neat and clean look. Straight bar lacing provides a refined and uncluttered appearance, enhancing the shoe’s sleek design.
  • How to Tie: Insert the lace horizontally at the bottom eyelets. Take one end of the lace up the inside and out the next higher eyelet on the same side. Cross it over to the opposite side, going in from the top. Repeat with the other end on the opposite side.
  • When to Use: This method is best for formal occasions and business wear where a polished look is essential.

Diagonal Lacing

  • Aesthetic: Diagonal lacing adds a modern and dynamic twist with its bold, angular lines, setting your footwear apart.
  • How to Tie: Lace one end from the bottom left to the top right eyelet diagonally and straight across. Begin the other end at the bottom right, crossing over diagonally to the left as you lace up, weaving through the first lace if desired for a bolder pattern.
  • When to Use: Perfect for fashion-forward events or when you want to make a distinctive style statement.

Over Under Lacing

  • Aesthetic: This lacing dress shoes style provides a smooth and consistent look while reducing bulk and pressure points on the upper part of the foot.
  • How to Tie: Start at the bottom, running the lace outside and alternate each crossover by going under and over through each pair of eyelets.
  • When to Use: Best for shoes with softer leather that may crease easily, as it distributes tension more evenly across the surface.

Gap Lacing

  • Aesthetic: Maintains the traditional lacing appearance while adapting to the foot's needs by reducing pressure where it’s most sensitive.
  • How to Tie: Lace as usual but skip crossing at one or more eyelets where the shoe feels tight, continuing above and below as normal.
  • When to Use: This lacing style is ideal for people with high arches or specific fit issues that require more room in certain areas.

Bow-Tie Lacing

  • Aesthetic: Creates eye-catching patterns that resemble small bow-ties along the shoe, offering a playful yet elegant look.
  • How to Tie: At each crossover, loop the lace through its own loop before continuing to the next eyelet, forming a small bow-tie shape.
  • When to Use: Adding a decorative and personalized touch to your dress shoes, suitable for special occasions or everyday flair.


Matching Lacing Methods to Shoe Types

  • Open vs. Closed Lacing Systems: Shoes with a closed lacing system, like Oxfords, have a sleek appearance that benefits from more formal lacing methods such as straight bar lacing or bow-tie lacing. These methods preserve the clean lines of the shoe. In contrast, shoes with an open lacing system, such as Derbies, can handle slightly more relaxed lacing techniques like criss-cross or over-under lacing, which accommodate the broader tongue exposure and provide a comfortable fit.
  • Recommendations for Different Dress Shoes:
    • Oxford shoes are ideal for straight bar lacing or diagonal lacing to maintain their formal, streamlined appearance.
    • Derby shoes are best suited for criss-cross or over-under lacing, which aligns with the casual and versatile nature of these shoes.
    • Brogues; with their detailed perforations, look fantastic with decorative lacing styles like bow-tie lacing, which complements their ornate patterning.
  • Special Considerations for Eyelet Count:
    • 3-4 Eyelets: Simpler lacing methods like straight bar lacing work well, as they offer a clean finish without overwhelming the shoe.
    • 5 or More Eyelets: More complex lacing options such as diagonal or criss-cross lacing can be used to elevate the shoe’s visual appeal and provide better support and fit.

Discover Your Perfect Pair of Dress Shoes and Place Your Order Today!

Selecting the right dress shoes is so much more than just finding a pair that looks good. It's about finding the perfect balance of comfort and sophistication. And when you combine your footwear with the ideal lacing method that suits your foot's shape, you will have an amazing wearing experience, where your shoes not only look great but feel great too.

At Volo Alte, we offer an array of sophisticated footwear — from polished wingtip boots and sturdy chukka boots to casual yet chic high-top sneakers. Each style boasts our signature height-boosting feature, ingeniously hidden to offer subtle enhancement to your stature. Browse Volo Alte’s exceptional collection today and find the perfect shoes that promise to uplift your every step with elegance and a touch of hidden height.

FAQs on How to Lace Dress Shoes

How to tie dress shoes?
To tie dress shoes effectively, start by threading the laces through the bottom eyelets. Choose a lacing style like straight bar for a formal look or criss-cross for everyday wear. Pull the laces tight, tie a balanced bow, and ensure the laces lie flat for a neat appearance.

How to properly lace dress shoes?
Insert the laces straight across the bottom eyelets and up through the holes to create an even base. Go for a lacing style suitable for the occasion: straight bar lacing for formal events or criss-cross for a secure everyday fit. Make sure the laces are pulled snugly for comfort and tied off neatly at the top.

What are the different ways to lace dress shoes?
The different ways to lace dress shoes include criss-cross lacing, straight bar lacing, diagonal lacing, over under lacing, gap tie lacing, bow-tie lacing, etc.

How to hide shoelaces in dress shoes?
Lace your dress shoes normally but skip the top eyelets. Tuck the lace ends inside the shoe close to the tongue for a clean look. Ensure they are comfortably loose to avoid discomfort.

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