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Lacing shoes

aybojs

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So I just got my first pair of "nice" (i.e. leather-soled) dress shoes in the mail (Allen Edmonds, if you're curious) and was preparing to try them out when it dawned on me that I didn't really know what way to lace them up. What I ended up doing just own my on observation was take one lace, run it over the center and straight across a pair of parallel eyelets, then cross it under the gap and slant it across the center, skip a pair of eyelets (for the other lace), and then repeat the process. It looked sort of like this for one lace: o-----o / o / o / o-----o The end result was that over the center the laces were all straight and horizontal, and under the center gap they were criss-crossed. I think cursory research said it was "European" style. Anyway, I don't mean to seem fussy, but is there a specific proper way to lace one's shoes or does it not really matter at all?
 

AlanC

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Well, according to Vass in Handmade Shoes for Men the method you're using must be used for shoes with closed lacing. Your Sanford, which has open lacing, could safely use the traditional American lacing (crossing the laces on top). I typically use the "European" lacing on most of my shoes, however. By the way, a nice choice of shoes. I have a pair of the Lexingtons, which are also a semi-brogue. A different last, I suspect. Great price, too.
 

aybojs

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Thanks for the compliment, they fit me really well, and I can't wait to wear them out somewhere. I was actually looking at a Lexington (in chestnut) at the same time and asked AE what the distinction was: mainly the Sanford has been discontinued for the past few years, and like you said the last was the only real difference in the models. The Sanford was cheaper, and I really liked the "bourbon" color so I opted for it instead. If I don't get caught up in the EG/C&J arms race that's been sweeping the board lately, I just might get another pair of AE's in the near future.
 

jcusey

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I use straight-across lacing for just about all my shoes, regardless of whether they're bals or bluchers. I've found that the best way to do this is to is to go straight across with the bottom eyelets, then bring one side of the lace through the top eyelet on the opposite side. The other side of the lace zigs to the next eyelet from the bottom opposite it, then straight across, and so on like that. Doing it this way makes it easier to tighten and loosen the laces.

Nice shoes, by the way. I'm a sucker for that pattern and a sucker for that color.
 

General Koskov

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I straight-lace so that there are only horizontal strands of lace going on top of the eyelets. However, this only works with six pairs of eyelets (and multiples of six, I suppose), so if I have five pairs I just cross one lace underneath diagonally. I suppose the predominance of five-pair-eyelet shoes is another reason to bespeak shoes.
 

norcaltransplant

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A--
How are the 2nds? Did you notice any flaws in the shoes? I was thinking about picking up a pair with rubber soles for inclement weather.

-norcal
 

aybojs

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I sent an e-mail to AE asking what the "flaw" was, and they told me the model I got had some "uneven burnishing." When I looked at the uppers closely, I could see, for example, some spots where the finish had a few patches that stood out as slightly lighter or darker than the surrounding area. I assume that's what they referring to, though I should note that none of these "flaws" were really visible until I held the shoe up at eye level and examined it all over. If it is in fact a flaw, I don't really notice or care for the most part, and I imagine you wouldn't either if you bought a pair for walking in the rain.

Hope that helps.
 

j

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I straight-lace so that there are only horizontal strands of lace going on top of the eyelets.  However, this only works with six pairs of eyelets (and multiples of six, I suppose), so if I have five pairs I just cross one lace underneath diagonally.  I suppose the predominance of five-pair-eyelet shoes is another reason to bespeak shoes.
Could you explain this a bit? I'm trying to picture it but failing. How do you do it without the underneath diagonal, if there are six pairs of eyelets?
 

bengal-stripe

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There is an English and there is a Continental way of straight lacing. Jcusey described the English way, where the lacing moves up in two-eyelet steps and aybojs described the Continental way where one end goes straight up all the way, while the other end meanders its way through from one eyelet to the next.

I personally prefer the English style, it's just what I am used to and if shoes are laced any other way, I immediately re-lace them.

A funny case of divided loyalties is John Lobb (Paris). Although the shoes are stylistically and physically made in England, staff in the store is under instruction to lace the shoes the continental way. I once asked a member of staff and he confirmed that that particular lacing is company policy.
 

aybojs

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I found this lacing info site while messing around on google. What I did would match the Straight European style. I assume Koskov is talking about the Straight (Fashion) or Straight (Lazy) style, but I base that mainly on his mention of a requirement of an even number of eyelets. For entertainment value check (no pun intended) out the intricate checkerboard lacing pattern listed at the bottom of the page: if you click the link, the guy even has photo examples. I may have to try that with a pair of old sneakers.
 

j

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Great site, thanks. Does anyone remember the '80s LA Gear sneakers that came with three pairs of laces to do all kinds of bizarre lacing patterns? You'd have to be about 24-28, I'd think.
 

Classic

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I use the lacing that was done on the shoes when I purchased them. But when I have to lace up the shoes, or replace the laces, then I use the Criss-Cross just because I am lazy.

Classic
 

A Harris

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I use what that site calls the "straight fashion" method. That's what Steve is describing. And Steve, if there are 5 eyelets, just lace it so the bow forms the last bar.
 

General Koskov

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I use what Ian's Shoelace Site calls 'Straight (Fashion) Lacing.' Â I can't figure out what exactly makes it 'fashion;' that lacing is used by the Canadian Armed Forces (which tends towards unfashionability in their dress uniforms). Â The idea of having only one lace crossing between each set of eyelets is so a steel-toed boot can be quickly cut off the foot if someone falls overboard from a ship. Contrary to what that site says, an odd number of eyelet pairs can use this lacing if you, for instance, cross the lace going in to the right-hand eyelet of pair #4 under to the left-hand eyelet of pair #5 (out of which will be the end of the lace). Â Here's the image to give you a reference:
 

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