Introduction: Ukrainian Lacing

Ukrainian Lacing is a technique that fixes all major problems of conventional shoe lacing with no tails, at the same time doing a knot remains habitual. You are welcome to watch the videos above (and below) to quickly get the main idea behind this technique before getting to the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Start Lacing From the Top Pair of Eyelets.

Step 2: Pass the Right (as Seen on Your Foot From Above) End of the Shoelace Through the Next Opposite Eyelet.

Step 3: Turn the Left End of the Shoelace Around the Other One From Above and Pass It Through the Next Opposite Eyelet Forming a Half-knot.

Step 4: Lace to the End With Any Preferable Style (e.g. Criss-cross As Shown) and Do Small Knots on the Ends of the Shoelace.

Step 5: Tighten and Arrange the Shoelace So That the Half-knot Is Located in the Second (not Top!) Pair of the Eyelets. Now the Ukrainian Lacing Is Ready.

Step 6: Before Doing a Knot Tighten the Lacing and Make the Loops Even (that's Very Easy).

Step 7: Do Any Preferable Knot, E.g. a Standard Knot As Shown. We Recommend the Ian Knot.

Step 8: The Knot Is Ready. No Tails at All! Neat and Well-looking.

Step 9: To Undo the Knot Just Pull Any Loose Segment of the Shoelace. You Can Also Comfortably Wear Your Footwear With Undone Knot When Using the Offered Technique.

Step 10: Practice and Experiment: Great Video From Dave Hax and Itty Bitty Pals, the T-Lace, Ian's Shoelace Site

DaveHax made one of the best videos (top in this step) about the Ukrainian Lacing so far. Check yourself.

Look, how the shoelace ends are fixed in the bottom pair of eyelets in the video. This is just one of SEVERAL ways of doing that. Another possible way - when fixing the shoelace ends in the bottom pair of eyelets you might try to pass it a second time through the OPPOSITE eyelet, not the same. Dave's way is great, but in some cases (e.g. a soft edge of the shoe, too long shoelaces, visual preferences) the above can also serve well. And, of course, you might tie the shoelace ends together with a neat knot of your choice or use a clip for the same purpose.

You might also prefer the T-Laces (shown on the picture above), though "no special shoelaces needed" approach seems to be nicer in some regard. BTW, I use knots as shown in the instruction above and have never felt them, though, sure, it depends on the particular shoes and shoelaces (very thick shoelaces might be a challenge in this regard indeed).

Moreover, you can omit the "fixation tricks" altogether and just leave the aglets behind the bottom eyelets if the eyelets are relatively small like it's shown in a nice video by Itty Bitty Pals (above). When the shoes are put on it's most unlikely that the aglets will slip out the eyelets in this case.

UPDATE: Ian Fieggen (author of the famous Ian Knot) has added a great tutorial about the Ukrainian Lacing to the best ever online shoe lacing encyclopedia, Ian's Shoelace Site:

Step 11: Become a Shoelace Ninja Like Dave Hax

Words cannot tell that. Just watch how a combination of the Ukrainian Lacing and the Ian Knot is performed by the Master.


gtoal (author)2015-08-08

The British army tells soldiers to lace across horizontally and not to use styles like this... why? because if you're injured and they need to get your boots off to treat you, a medic will run a knife down the lacing and open up a boot faster, which isn't possible with this style of lacing. Probably not of interest to ice skaters etc but perhaps people lacing boots for mountain climbing etc where there's a risk of injury might consider it.

VitG (author)gtoal2015-08-08

It's great to mention a possibility of military application of this shoe lacing technique as it's just few months old and hasn't been tested in combat conditions yet. It's as easy to cut as a regular lacing in case of medical emergency (when laced accross horizontally, not criss-cross as shown above), yet it has no dangling shoe ends what adds security and convenience in everyday use. Plus it allows doing a knot much faster (as the starting knot is always done and the lace cannot unintentionally leave the eyelets even when the lacing is loosened to its maximum during putting the boots on) what can be a critical advantage in case of emergency.

Surrey-Yeti (author)VitG2016-05-24

possibly apocryphal story I heard many years ago at a Royal Tournament in London was that British troops have to have a uniform style,so that Commando troops and Gurkhas can recognise British troops by feel and therefore will not cut their throats when attacking sleeping troops at night

TCSC47 (author)Surrey-Yeti2016-06-03

A friend of mine, now sadly deceased, was a Desert Rat and fought under Monty, told me this as well. The Germans laced their boots the opposite to the Allies.

KozmoK (author)gtoal2016-05-26

While in the Canadian Armed Force Reserves, the norm was to the bottom lace under the boot flaps, but my unit being armored, we'd have the bottom loop going across the top. quicker to snip and undo/cut the rest being the reason. The tongue underneath was quite supple and could get slashed through with a knife in your method.

zork the destroyer (author)gtoal2016-05-05

Yes it is, a knife can still cut the laces...


Scissors or shears work better & pose less risk to injure the patient.

But generally, it's better to leave the shoe or boot on an stabilize & transport a victim. Let the E.R. take the shoes off.

Also, if you ever do get hurt out in the wilderness, leave your boot on.
It acts like a splint, and may be the only way you can walk out to safety.
Once you take your boot off, you may not be able to put it back on.

wobbler (author)2015-05-19

This is awesome! It will revolutionise my life, especially when cycling as the loose ends often get caught and pull out. The loops are ok because I tuck them into the shoes, it's the ends that always seem to flop out and get dragged into the chain..

Some people have mentioned not having the bottom bar. I used parallel lacing and tied them at the bottom with the loose ends fed back in as you mentioned, but if you didn't want a visible knot you can lace the last but one on one side and then carry the last one over and knot it on the other side (hope that makes sense, but it means the last bar is present). Both ends would then be individually knotted on the same side.

Using the crossover style as above, at the bottom you could feed each lace over to the other side and pass through the other eyelet twice if there is enough space and knot each one there so you will get a double bar with a single knot on each side.

eblair4 (author)wobbler2016-05-26

?? Can't see it in my mind?

NathanL50 (author)wobbler2016-05-24

It's all fun and games until a loop gets caught in the chain and you wished you could simply untie the knot ...

wobbler (author)NathanL502016-05-25

Not a problem for me, I carry an axe to hack off my foot. Fortunately it's only happened the once or I might not have been left with a leg to stand on..

VitG (author)wobbler2015-05-19

Wow, thank you for the detailed insight, good observations are there! Fixation of the ends of the shoelace as described by you could also be used in e.g. shoes with just 3 pairs of eylets (emptiness of the bottom pair of eyelets would be a bit disturbing in this case). It's exciting to see how you've figured that out!

At the same time some people might appreciate absence of the bottom bar depending on shape of the foot, so we have some flexibility here. Someone might also prefer interconnecting the shoelace's ends with some stylish clip in the bottom pair of eyelets (as it's mentioned below), etc..

Thank you again for a really great comment!

VitG (author)2016-04-17

Another short yet impressive video about combining the Ukrainian Lacing with the Ian Knot by David Lindsay:

VitG (author)2016-04-14

Great article by Hadyn Green about combining the Ukrainian Lacing and the Ian Knot (with video):

anyelohd made it! (author)2015-09-02

Thank You!

Ides_of_Dustin made it! (author)2015-07-22

This is awesome. I had to modify mine a touch though. On my Merrels, I dont have a traditional flap with eyelets, instead there are loops. Near the toe, I feed both laces through the center loop and tied over hand knots around each lace. Kind of like a fisherman's knot. Then finished by tucking the aglets (thanks Phineas & Ferb) back into previous loops.
The Ian Knot is super great also!

VitG (author)Ides_of_Dustin2015-07-22

Very-very nice and creative! With the Merrels use of a clip to interconnect the ends of the lace wouldn't be as neat as your solution. Thank you for sharing this.

1313CMR (author)2015-07-12

This is great.

15, 7:17 AM.jpg
CutterSlade made it! (author)2015-05-22

Awesome! Now I love my new shoes even more. And I cursed only a few times until I got the Ian Knot.

VitG (author)CutterSlade2015-05-23

May I hug you? This looks like a piece of art.

CutterSlade (author)VitG2015-06-04

Permission granted!

VitG (author)CutterSlade2015-05-24

It would be great to hear about your daily experience with this setup!

Nrgdragon (author)CutterSlade2015-05-23

Awesome!(except the cursing.i know it was hard.)

Boppylop (author)2015-05-22

So I did this, and it's literally the best thing that has ever happened to my shoes. Whenever someone steps on my laces, they don't come undone or even loosen! I spent all day at school showing everyone, although no one else seemed too into it. Oh well, their loss.

VitG (author)Boppylop2015-05-23

Hey, thank you for the great feedback! Your story is a good illustration to the eternal "horses vs cars" battle. People could be divided into three categories: (1) few innovators/early adopters, like you - cars are great!; (2) trend-followers (vast majority), like your classmates - horses are OK, why should we bother about anything else?; and (3) few haters - horses forever!. It is really great that you fall into the first category, this gives you a very important advantage (and challenge :-)) in your life! Thank you again.

kcbirder (author)2015-05-21

I LOVE this! If only I can convince my lace-dragging 15 year old son to try it. I found the Ian knot a tiny bit confusing (over on However, after I figured out that, laying the two "ears" open, I flipped the left one DOWN and the right one UP...or left toward me and right away from me, if that makes sense. Then, with my three fingers through each loop and my thumbs supporting them, it was a very natural Cat's Cradle movement to tie them. I like it!

VitG (author)kcbirder2015-05-21

Thank you for mentioning a key point with the Ian Knot in the most clear way! As you say, "left forward me and right away from me" - in this case you get ideal (symmetrical and reliable) "horizontal" knot. Otherwise a less reliable "granny's knot" (tending to be "vertical") might come out.

gymo (author)2015-05-19

my mind is blown, just done this to my shoes, not sure if it's just because the've been "jiggled" a bit during re-lacing but they feel more comfortable after doing this.

Thank you. I'm off to apply this to my other footwear

VitG (author)gymo2015-05-19

I know this condition very well :-).

br0x (author)2016-05-24

Can you please stop putting the word "ukrainian" everywhere? We all already know you guys dug a Black Sea and invented the wheel!

hyperfocused72 (author)br0x2017-06-02

Yeah, and can we do something about 'Swedish meatballs' and 'French fries' while we're at it..

RedGuff made it! (author)2017-01-31

Perfect, and speed!

RobertL352 made it! (author)2017-01-08

I don't like tying my boots anyway and these style keeps them tight enough and more importantly, it keeps the laces NEAT!

VitG (author)RobertL3522017-01-09

Robert, the photo of the nice boots being free from trailing tails and all connected problems is quite telling indeed. Thank you for posting it!

jolshefsky (author)2016-08-15

I feel like I'm either amazingly stupid or have been tricked ... I can't figure out how to make the final knot/bow stay in place. I'm using low canvas walking shoes, and once I get it all knotted, my foot flexes against the top part that pulls the top two eyelets apart and that loosens the knot. I finally gave up and just re-laced them how I always did ... :(

VitG (author)jolshefsky2016-08-15

To avoid these issues you might check two points:

1. The half-knot is tightened in the second (not the first!) from above row of eyelets.

2. The loosened segment of the shoelace (shown red in Step 5 of the instructable) should preferably be exactly that - loosened a bit (do not tighten it).

Hope this helps.

jolshefsky (author)VitG2016-08-16

Yes ... exactly. The picture in step 7 sure made it look like the top loop was taut when it was actually more slack than the second, knotted row. I'm sure I could make my knots look tidier, but for now they're tied and release easy enough. Whew!

mdkajak made it! (author)2016-07-29

Love your instructables, thank you so much for the detail explanation and the video. Fortunately, I am not in the armed forces, I am just a regular human fighting zombies, and they will kill you regardless what you shoelaces look like, you taste the same. LOL

KatelandV (author)2016-07-20

That's a great life hack thanks

dattier made it! (author)2016-06-23

Once again I run into the limitation here that older comments can't accept replies.  This is in response to Gtoal's comment about knife access.

There's a variation on Ukrainian
Lacing which, though this wasn't the reason I thought of it, keeps every
crossover outside the leather and thus has the benefit of being easy to
slit open in such a situation.  (It's also quick-release, so it might
even need to be slit open.)  Of course you'd need to finish off the
lacing with a pattern, such as Straight Bar, that keeps the crossovers
outside the leather for the rest of the way down.

Sneaux - Ukrainian 1=2^3 - Straight Bar.jpgEastsides - Ukrainian 1=2^3 - Straight Bar.jpg
dattier made it! (author)dattier2016-06-24

"It's also quick-release, so it might ___ even need to be slit open."

I lost a "not" in there: it might >not< even need to be slit open.

Anyhow, here's a combination answer to both Gtoal and Richie007: you can start outside the top eyelets as Richie007 likes, continue by coming up above them rather than below them, complete the lacing with a pattern that has all horizontals outside the leather for a quick cutoff such as concerned Gtoal.  See the photos.

Sneaux - 1=0^2 - Straight Bar.jpgEastsides - 1=0^2 - Straight Bar.jpg
Riscyg (author)2016-05-24

Great 'ible - very useful. Just a thought though, it might not be very practical for hiking/rambling where you would be going through rough overgrown terrain underfoot, the loops are more likely to get caught in plants and branches.

Definitely a town lace, imo.

dattier (author)Riscyg2016-06-11

trying to figure out a side-knotted version myself; no success yet

My reason is that I'm a stiff old man and reaching down to my shoelaces to tie them is a literal pain; with a side knot on the medial (hiking) side I can put each foot across the opposite knee and reach the knots easily.

dattier (author)dattier2016-06-12

Update: I won't solve the side knotting problem, because VitG already did.  It's intrinsic in the basic design.

Put the shoe on, pull the tying loops until the starting knot is taut, work the starting knot over to the side where you want it, re-balance the initial horizontal connector so that the tying loops both extend equally to the side where you want the knot, and tie your knot there.

dattier (author)2016-06-11

Fourth try to post this … sorry if it appears more than once. It's in reply to Richie007's post about starting over the top holes, but when I submit it as a reply, it disappears, which is odd, because my reply to Riscyg's post went straight through.

Anyhow, there are two ways to continue after
starting outside the top eyelets: by drawing the lace halves upward above or
below the crossbar. The results have differences in appearance and

In the first two posting attempts I attached my photograph of one
shoe done each eay, but maybe that's why they failed to take, so sorry, no photo.

dattier made it! (author)dattier2016-06-11

Wow, it posted no problem, so I'll get reckless and try attaching the photo.

Sneaux - Ukrainian outer bar tied.jpg
Was1x (author)2016-06-08

OK, I finally figured it out and am trying it on my daily sneakers. It should save me the decision whether to lace up or just slip on.

BUT, it's not the only lacing one may need to know. There are some that allow for various foot configurations and problems, also on Instructables. Well done, tho, with the photos & vids.

weinskar made it! (author)2016-06-07

Never going back. I used to avoid wearing shoes with laces now I don't care. And when my daughter get to laces guess what :D

2016-06-07 15.07.40 - Copy.jpg2016-06-07 15.07.33 - Copy.jpg
AshleyW14 (author)2016-05-29

it was pretty easy to lace, though the laces I bought were a bit too long.

Nafis106 made it! (author)2016-05-24

Well, I'm not an adventurer AT ALL but it's really helpful. Tying my laces you still to be really hard! Now Iim not the last one to put on my shoes after soccer practice! But you can get shoes there's another life hack that gives space for your foot to fit in but you never have to tie your laces again! That one is more helpful than this one, I tried it! Take a look....

It's a lot harder to make but it's WORTH IT! Trust Me! It won't let me get the link because of copyright claims, etc., So I don't think you could do it! Sorry to let you down...


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