How to Lace Oxfords: A Step by Step Guide for Perfectly Styled Shoes (2023)

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how to lace oxfords

1. The Basic Steps for Lacing Oxfords

Lacing oxfords may seem like a simple task, but it is essential to do it correctly to ensure a comfortable fit and prevent the laces from coming undone throughout the day. The basic steps for lacing oxfords are as follows:

  1. Start by inserting one end of the shoelace into the bottom eyelet on one side of the shoe.
  2. Thread the lace through each successive eyelet, crossing over to the opposite side with each pass.
  3. Continue lacing until you reach the top eyelet, making sure that the tension is even on both sides.
  4. Tie a secure knot at the top to keep the laces in place.

Following these steps will give you a basic lacing pattern for your oxfords. However, there are various other lacing techniques that can be used to achieve different looks or provide additional comfort and support.

2. The Commonly Used Lacing Style for Oxfords

The most commonly used lacing style for oxfords is known as “straight bar” or “criss-cross” lacing. This technique provides a neat and symmetrical look while ensuring that the shoe stays securely on your foot throughout the day.

To achieve this lacing style, follow these steps:

  1. Insert one end of the shoelace into the bottom eyelet on one side of the shoe and thread it across to the corresponding eyelet on the opposite side.
  2. Take the other end of the shoelace and thread it through the next set of eyelets, crossing over to create an “X” shape.
  3. Continue lacing in this criss-cross pattern until you reach the top of the shoe.
  4. Tie a secure knot at the top to keep the laces in place.

This lacing style is not only practical but also versatile, as it can be adjusted for different foot widths and instep heights. It is a classic choice that works well with most oxford shoes.

3. The Traditional Straight Bar Lacing Technique for Oxfords Explained

What is the Straight Bar Lacing Technique?

The straight bar lacing technique is a classic method of lacing up oxfords that creates a neat and symmetrical appearance. It involves threading the shoelaces through the eyelets in a straight horizontal pattern, forming “bars” across the shoe. This technique is commonly used for formal occasions or when you want to achieve a clean and polished look.

How to Lace Oxfords with the Straight Bar Technique:

1. Begin by inserting one end of the shoelace into the bottom-left eyelet from inside the shoe, leaving an equal length of lace on each side.
2. Take the right lace and thread it diagonally across to the second eyelet on the opposite side, going from inside to outside.
3. Repeat this step with the left lace, threading it diagonally across to the second eyelet on its side.
4. Continue alternating sides, threading each lace diagonally across to the next available eyelet until you reach the top.
5. Once you reach the top, tie a knot or bow with both ends of the shoelace.

This traditional lacing technique not only provides a secure fit but also adds a touch of elegance to your oxfords.

4. Alternative Lacing Techniques Suitable for Oxfords

1. Criss Cross Lacing:

Criss cross lacing is another popular method for lacing oxfords that offers a snug fit while allowing flexibility for different foot shapes. To achieve this style, follow these steps:
– Start by inserting one end of the shoelace into the bottom-right eyelet from inside.
– Take that same end and thread it diagonally across to the top-left eyelet on the opposite side.
– Repeat this process with the other end of the shoelace, threading it diagonally from bottom-left to top-right.
– Continue crisscrossing the laces until you reach the top, then tie a knot or bow.

2. Over Under Lacing:

The over-under lacing technique is a visually appealing option that adds an interesting pattern to your oxfords. Here’s how to achieve it:
– Begin by inserting one end of the shoelace into the bottom-right eyelet from inside.
– Take that same end and thread it over the next available eyelet on its side, then under the following eyelet on the opposite side.
– Repeat this pattern, alternating between over and under, until you reach the top.
– Tie a knot or bow at the end to secure your laces.

These alternative lacing techniques offer versatility and can be customized based on personal preference and style. Experiment with different patterns to find the one that suits your oxfords best.

5. Ensuring Evenly Tightened Laces When Lacing Oxfords

Importance of Evenly Tightened Laces

When lacing up your oxfords, it is crucial to ensure that the laces are evenly tightened. Unevenly tightened laces can lead to discomfort and an improper fit, affecting both the appearance and functionality of your shoes. To achieve a polished and comfortable fit, follow these steps:

1. Start with Properly Sized Shoelaces

Before you begin lacing your oxfords, make sure you have shoelaces that are the appropriate length for your shoe size. Using shoelaces that are too short or too long can make it difficult to achieve an even tightening.

2. Begin Lacing from the Bottom Eyelets

To ensure even tension throughout the lacing process, start by threading the shoelace through the bottom eyelets of your oxford shoes. This will create a solid foundation for evenly tightening the laces.

3. Alternate Sides when Crossing Over

As you continue to lace up your oxfords, be mindful of alternating sides when crossing over the shoelace from one eyelet to another. This will help distribute tension evenly across the shoe and prevent one side from being tighter than the other.

4. Adjust Tension as You Go

After crossing over each eyelet, take a moment to adjust the tension of the shoelace by pulling it gently but firmly. This will ensure that each section of lace is equally tight before moving on to the next eyelet.

Tips for Maintaining Even Tension

  • Use your fingers to guide the lace and maintain control over the tension.
  • Avoid pulling too tightly, as this can cause discomfort and restrict blood circulation.
  • If you notice any areas where the laces are unevenly tightened, backtrack and readjust the tension before continuing.

6. Tying the Knot at the End of Lacing Oxfords: A Specific Method

Tying a knot at the end of lacing oxfords is an essential step to secure your shoes in place and prevent them from coming undone throughout the day. Follow these steps for a specific method of tying the knot:

The Bunny Ear Method

This method is commonly used for tying shoelaces and works well for oxfords. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create two loops or “bunny ears” with both ends of the shoelace.
  2. Cross one loop over the other, forming an “X”.
  3. Take one loop and pass it through the opening created by crossing over.
  4. Pull both loops tight to secure the knot.

By using this specific method, you can ensure that your knot is secure and less likely to come undone during wear. Remember to adjust the tightness of the knot according to your comfort level.

7. Considerations for Choosing the Length of Shoelaces for Oxfords

Factors to Consider

When choosing the length of shoelaces for your Oxfords, there are a few factors to consider. First, you need to determine the number of eyelets on your shoes. Different lacing techniques require different lengths of shoelaces, so knowing how many eyelets you have will help you choose the right length. Additionally, the type of lacing pattern you prefer can also affect the required length of shoelaces. Some patterns, like straight bar lacing or criss-cross lacing, may require longer shoelaces than others.

Measuring and Choosing the Right Length

To measure the length of shoelace needed for your Oxfords, start by removing the old laces and measuring them from tip to tip. If you don’t have any old laces to measure, a general rule of thumb is to add 12 inches (30 cm) to the number of eyelets on each side. This extra length allows for enough lace to comfortably tie a knot without being too short or too long. Once you have determined the appropriate length based on these considerations, you can choose from a variety of colors and materials to find the perfect shoelaces for your Oxfords.


– If in doubt about the length, it’s always better to go slightly longer rather than shorter. You can always trim excess lace if needed.
– Consider purchasing flat or round shoelaces depending on your personal preference and style.
– Experiment with different lacing techniques and patterns to find what works best for your Oxfords.

8. Tips and Tricks to Prevent Shoelaces from Coming Undone in Oxfords

Double Knotting

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent shoelaces from coming undone in your Oxfords is to double knot them. After tying a regular knot, take one of the loops and pass it through the knot again before pulling it tight. This creates a more secure knot that is less likely to come undone throughout the day.

Using Lace Anchors

Another option to keep your shoelaces securely tied is to use lace anchors. Lace anchors are small plastic or metal clips that attach to your shoelaces near the bottom eyelets. They help anchor the laces in place, preventing them from slipping or coming undone. Simply thread your shoelace through the anchor, then continue lacing up your Oxfords as usual. The lace anchors will hold the laces in place and provide extra security.


– Ensure that you tie your shoelaces tightly enough initially so that they have less chance of coming undone.
– Consider using elastic or silicone shoelaces, which can provide a snug fit without requiring constant retying.

9. Achieving a Snug Fit without Discomfort when Lacing Up Oxfords

Properly Adjusting Tension

When lacing up your Oxfords, it’s important to achieve a snug fit without causing discomfort. To do this, start by loosely threading the laces through the bottom eyelets and gradually tighten them as you move up towards the top eyelets. Pay attention to any pressure points or areas where the laces may be too tight and adjust accordingly.

Using Different Lacing Techniques

Different lacing techniques can also help achieve a snug fit without discomfort. For example, if you have high arches or wide feet, you may benefit from using techniques like skipping eyelets or using the “gap lacing” method. These techniques allow for more flexibility and customization in tightening specific areas of the shoe to accommodate your foot shape.


– Experiment with different lacing techniques to find what works best for your foot shape and comfort preferences.
– Consider using thinner or wider shoelaces depending on the size of the eyelets and your desired level of snugness.

10. Do Different Shoe Sizes Require Different Lacing Techniques? Universal Methods for All Oxford Sizes?

Considerations for Different Shoe Sizes

While different shoe sizes may not necessarily require completely different lacing techniques, there are some considerations to keep in mind. For larger shoe sizes, you may need longer shoelaces to accommodate the additional length of the shoes. Similarly, smaller shoe sizes may require shorter shoelaces to avoid excess lace that can be cumbersome.

Universal Lacing Methods

Fortunately, there are several universal lacing methods that work well for all Oxford sizes. Straight bar lacing and criss-cross lacing are two popular methods that can be used regardless of shoe size. These methods provide a secure fit and distribute tension evenly across the shoe, ensuring comfort and stability.


– When using universal lacing methods, always consider the length of shoelaces needed based on the number of eyelets.
– If you have particularly wide or narrow feet, you may need to adjust the tension or use alternative lacing techniques to achieve a proper fit.

In conclusion, mastering the art of lacing oxfords is a simple yet effective way to enhance both the comfort and style of your shoes. By following the step-by-step instructions and experimenting with different lacing techniques, you can achieve a personalized and polished look that complements any outfit. Whether you prefer a classic or unique lace pattern, taking the time to properly lace your oxfords will ensure a secure fit and add an extra touch of sophistication to your footwear.

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