Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Penrose Outdoors' Guide to lacing your walking boots, and shoes, for all different scenarios.

Penrose Outdoors' Guide to lacing your walking boots and shoes for all different scenarios.

At Penrose Outdoors we pride ourselves on our 30 year heritage of selling outdoor equipment. During these 30 years we have gained a vast amount of knowledge, that we can then share with our customers that come into the Truro shop on a daily basis. But for those of you who are not able to pop in store and talk to us, we want to use this blog space to pass some of this advice on to you.

We would consider ourselves Expert boot fitters and therefore want to give you some tips on the lacing of your trusty walking boots.

We have found that the way you lace your walking boots and shoes can make a surprising difference to how it fits, helping to alleviate pressure points and prevent potential aches and blisters.

There is no quicker way to spoil a fun day on the trail than with blisters and foot pain, but this can be easily prevented!

Standard lacing systems use a combination of loops, eyelets or hoops on either side of the upper shoe, which works well for many, but not everybody. With some of the simple lacing techniques seen below, you can perfect the fit of your boots and avoid many common foot problems. 


This simple, traditional and comfortable lacing method is called Criss Cross Lacing.  This is probably the most common lacing method for boots and shoes. The laces simply criss-cross as they work their way up the shoe. 
Criss cross lacing

This type of lacing relieves pressure on the top of the foot, whilst looking extremely neat. Straight Bar Lacing gives your boot or shoe a functional, professional and unique finish.

Straight bar lacing 

Instead of lacing across every eyehole, you can skip a cross over in Criss Cross lacing, and create a gap. This increases ankle flexibility whilst reducing the pressure on the top of the foot where the gap occurs. We call this technique Gap Lacing.

Gap Lacing

Many shoes come pre-laced this way from the factory because it’s easy, so probably worth changing to a more suitable method to your usage. This lacing method is called Shoe Shop Lacing. 

shoe shop lacing

The Lock Lacing technique creates a super-tight finish and it is recommended to help reduce slippage. 

lock lacing

This type of lacing is most commonly seen on military boots, as it stays extremely tight. This distinctive method is called Ladder Lacing.

ladder lacing


The Hiking/Biking Lacing method evenly distributes pressure whilst keeping the knots and ends to the side to reduce snagging.

biking lacing

To make lacing easier to tighten and loosen, the Over Under Lacing technique is used. 

Over under lacing


The most common ways of locking off tension below the knot is the Overhand Knot. To make this knot you form a loop and pass the end through it. You can then tighten it to form the Overhand Knot. When pulled tight it can function as a simple stopper knot. The Double Overhand Knot is simply a logical extension of the regular Overhand Knot. The result is a slightly larger knot that is harder to untie.

The Surgeon’s Knot is an extremely secure means of locking off any chosen tension between the knot. It adds an extra twist when tying the first throw (forming a double overhand knot), which gives increased friction and can reduce loosening while the second half of the knot is tied.

Granny knot

Although these are both binding knots, the Granny Knot is considered inferior to the Square (Reef) Knot, which is resembles superficially. A granny knot can more easily undo, or if severely tightened can jam and be very difficult to untie. Whereas a reef knot is more secured and also well balanced.

Other lacing techniques include Loop and D-ring lock. If laces are slipping on a hook, lace ‘down’ a hook instead of ‘up’ creating a loop. The Loop technique, also known as the Boot Heel Lock, can prevent the heel from slipping, which causes blisters.

By bringing the lace around through the eyelet from the top, pressure is applied on the lace by locking it more securely. This is known as the D-ring lock technique.

‘Right over left, left over right, makes a knot both tidy and tight’ 

The Standard Shoelace Knot is probably the most common method for tying shoelaces and can be applied to any of the knots above. Make a loop with one end, wrap the other end around and pull a loop through the ‘hole’ in the middle.

I hope you have benefitted from this guide and can now practise your lacing techniques on your next adventure!

If you are struggling to do a specific lacing method because your laces are not long enough we also sell a good selection of different length laces instore and online.

To see our full range of footwear please see the link below,


And to see our spare laces selection see the following


Hope to see you soon

From the team at Penrose

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