And yes, we meant straight-laced, not straitlaced. Get it?
Now, we don’t really gnash our teeth here at VCH because people use criss-cross lacing on their fancy dress shoes…but we must admit it’s not as clean looking as straight lacing. This is especially so if we are talking about closed-laced shoes like the classic Oxford, or Balmoral as they are called in the States.
Besides providing a cleaner look, straight lacing (sometimes also called European or fashion lacing) gives you more shoe lace, up to 28% more—left to play with at the end, which makes for easier knotting.
Will of A Suitable Wardrobe demonstrates it here. It is much easier to follow with a video —a moving picture really is worth a thousand words.
A different method of straight lacing was developed by a famed running coach named Lydiard to reduce the pressure on the top of the foot from the underlying diagonals found in the regular criss-cross mode of lacing. Professor Shoelace did a good video on how it works.
Be advised though, straight bar lacing works best with shoes that have an even number of eyelet pairs. There are work-arounds for shoes with an odd number of eyelets. You can find some here on Ian’s Shoelace Site. I invented one of my own, for my Florsheims. It’s not rocket science. You just have to play around with the laces a little bit.
Some serious style aficionados consider straight lacing an affectation and are okay with criss-cross for all of their shoes. Maybe it’s a bit of sprezzatura on their part; perhaps for them, the studied indifference that all true dandies aspire to doesn't jibe with YouTube videos on how to lace your shoes. Our vote is for straight lacing—especially for Oxfords.
But it’s your call.
Allen Edmonds with criss-cross lacing, left, and Florsheims with straight lacing
While we're on the subject of shoe laces...
I’m a big fan of Ted Talks in general and this particular one, a short three-minute video by Terry Moore on tying your shoes, could actually make your life just a little bit better… in just three minutes.
That’s pretty amazing.
I had been doing it wrong since I was a kid. The Moore method keeps them securely tied all day with one single, elegant, perfectly executed knot.
Life is better now.
Vintage Florsheim Longwing “gunboats” with straight Lydiard lacing and Moore method knot