Welcome to our comprehensive guide on lacing combat boots! If you’re here, chances are you’re either a proud owner of a pair of combat boots or considering getting one. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Combat boots, with their rugged charm and undeniable durability, have been a staple in many wardrobes for years. But did you know that the way you lace them can not only impact their comfort and functionality but also add a personal touch to your style?

In this article, we’ll explore eight popular methods to lace boots military style. Whether you’re preparing for a military drill, gearing up for a hiking adventure, or simply aiming to make a fashion statement, there’s a lacing style for every need. And to spice things up, we’ll also introduce you to the world of premium shoelaces by Loop King Laces and how they can elevate your lacing game. So, grab your military boots, and let’s dive in!

1. Criss-Cross Method

Criss-Cross Method, often considered the most traditional and widely recognized method for military boot lacing, is known for its balance of simplicity and effectiveness. This method is not just about tying your boots; it’s about creating a snug fit that offers comfort and support, making it a go-to choice for many boot enthusiasts.

The Criss-Cross Lacing technique is particularly admired for its straightforward approach and adaptability. It works well with a variety of boot types, including those with a higher number of eyelets, which are common in combat boots. The pattern, as the name suggests, forms a series of ‘X’ shapes down the boot, ensuring even pressure distribution across the foot. This is crucial in combat boots, which are often worn for extended periods in demanding environments.

Here’s how to do Criss-Cross Lacing:

  1. Start at the Bottom: Begin by threading the lace through the bottom eyelets (closest to the toe) of the boots. Ensure that you start from the outside and go inwards, and that the lace is flat and even on both sides.
  2. Cross the Laces: Take the right lace and cross it over to the left side, threading it through the next available eyelet from the outside. Repeat the same process with the left lace, crossing it over to the right side.
  3. Continue the Pattern: Keep alternating the laces in this criss-cross pattern, ensuring each cross is neat and the tension is even. This creates the iconic ‘X’ pattern up the boot.
  4. Adjust for Comfort: As you lace, periodically pull the laces to adjust the tension. The goal is to have a snug fit without being too tight, as this could restrict circulation or cause discomfort.
  5. Finish at the Top: Once you reach the top eyelets, you can tie the laces in your preferred knot. A secure bow or double knot can prevent the laces from coming undone.

The beauty of Criss-Cross Lacing lies in its simplicity and functionality. This method not only ensures a secure fit but also contributes to the overall aesthetics of the tall boots, maintaining the classic, rugged look that combat boots are known for.

2. Over-Under Lacing

Over-Under Lacing, also known as ‘Alternate Lacing’ or ‘Cross-Over Lacing’, is a popular method for lacing combat boots that offers a balance between a snug fit and ease of tightening. This technique is especially favored by those who seek a combination of comfort and secure fit in their footwear, making it a great choice for military personnel, hikers, and anyone who spends a lot of time in boots.

What sets Over-Under Lacing apart is its unique approach to alternating the crossing of the laces. This method reduces friction between the laces, making it easier to tighten and loosen the boots, a feature particularly beneficial in situations where quick adjustments are necessary. The pattern also provides a neat and tidy look, which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the boots.

Here’s how to do Over-Under Lacing:

  1. Starting at the Bottom: Begin by running the lace straight across the bottom (closest to the toe) and up through both bottom eyelets. Make sure the lace is even on both sides.
  2. First Cross-Over: Take the right lace and cross it over to the left side, threading it through the next eyelet from the outside. Then, take the left lace and cross it over to the right side, also threading it from the outside. This creates the first ‘over’ cross.
  3. Under Crossing: For the next set of eyelets, thread the laces under the eyelet instead of over. Take the right lace and pass it under to the left side, then do the same with the left lace to the right side.
  4. Repeat the Pattern: Continue alternating the lacing method – over for one set of eyelets, under for the next – as you work your way up the boot.
  5. Adjust and Finish: As with any lacing method, make sure to adjust the tension as you go for a comfortable fit. When you reach the top, secure the laces with your preferred knot.

Over-Under Lacing is not only functional but also adds a subtle distinctive style to your boots. The alternating pattern of the laces creates a visual interest that sets your boots apart, while also providing the necessary support and ease of adjustment. Whether you’re on a hike, in the field, or simply wearing your combat boots for a day out, this lacing technique has you covered for both style and practicality.

3. Ladder Lacing Method

Ladder Lacing, often associated with military and tactical boots, is a robust and secure method of lacing combat boots. This lacing technique is favored for its ability to provide a tight, secure fit, reducing movement inside the boot, which is essential in demanding or rugged environments. Ladder Lacing is not only practical for those who require a firm fit for their activities, but it also adds a distinctive, rugged aesthetic to the boots.

The key feature of Ladder Lacing is the way the laces run vertically and horizontally across the boot, resembling the rungs of a ladder. This pattern ensures the laces are firmly anchored, reducing the likelihood of loosening under movement. It’s particularly beneficial for boots with a high number of eyelets, providing even pressure distribution along the foot and ankle.

Here’s how to do Ladder Lacing:

  1. Start at the Bottom: Run the lace straight across the bottom eyelets and up through the inside, creating a horizontal baseline at the bottom of the eyelets.
  2. Vertical Ascension: Instead of crossing the laces, run them straight up the outside and into the next higher eyelet. This creates two parallel vertical lines.
  3. Creating the Ladder: Cross the laces over the vertical sections, running them under the vertical lace sections and pulling them upwards. This forms the first ‘rung’ of the ladder.
  4. Continue the Pattern: Repeat the vertical and horizontal crossing, ensuring each ‘rung’ is snug and secure. The laces should ascend in a series of straight horizontals and verticals, forming the ladder.
  5. Finish at the Top: After reaching the top eyelets, the laces can be tied off. A secure knot is essential to maintain the integrity of the Ladder Lacing.

Ladder Lacing not only provides a secure and snug fit but also lends a distinctively tactical and rugged look to the boots. This lacing method is ideal for those who prioritize functionality and style, offering a reliable solution for various demanding activities. Whether you’re engaged in outdoor adventures, military training, or simply looking for a reliable way to lace up your shoes, Ladder Lacing is an excellent choice.

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4. Army Lacing

Army Lacing, also known as ‘Straight Bar Lacing’ or ‘Military Lacing’, is a method highly favored in the military and by those who wear combat boots regularly. This lacing style is particularly appreciated for its neat appearance, ease of tightening, and the comfortable fit it provides, making it ideal for long periods of wear in demanding conditions.

One of the defining features of Army Lacing is its straightforward, vertical alignment along the sides of the boots, which reduces pressure points and minimizes wear and tear on the laces. This method also allows for quick and easy tightening and loosening, a crucial factor in situations where time and efficiency are of the essence.

Here’s how to do Army Lacing:

  1. Start at the Bottom: Feed the lace through the bottom eyelets from underneath, ensuring that the lace lies flat and even on both sides.
  2. Straight Upward Lacing: Take one end of the lace and run it vertically up the inside of the boot, then thread it through the next eyelet up on the same side. Repeat this on the other side with the other end of the lace.
  3. Crossing Over: Once both ends of the lace are out, cross them over and feed them under the opposite vertical lace section. Then continue to thread them upward on the same side.
  4. Continue the Pattern: Keep lacing in this manner – straight up on the inside, cross over, and then straight up again – until all the eyelets are laced.
  5. Finishing Up: After reaching the top eyelets, tie the laces as you would normally. The result should be a neat, ladder-like appearance on the outside with all the crossover occurring under the vertical sections.

Army Lacing is an excellent choice for those who value both functionality and a clean, professional appearance. Its efficiency in distributing pressure evenly across the foot makes it a practical choice for long hours in boots, while its neat aesthetic aligns well with the disciplined look often desired in military and outdoor settings. Whether for professional use or personal preference, Army Lacing is a reliable and smart way to lace up your combat boots.

5. Straight Bar Lacing Method

The Straight Bar Lacing method, commonly known as ‘Bar Lacing’ or ‘European Lacing’, is a stylish and clean method of lacing combat boots. This lacing process is particularly favored for its neat and orderly appearance, making it a popular choice for those who wish to add a touch of sophistication to their boots. Straight Bar Lacing is ideal for boots with an even number of eyelet pairs, as it creates a series of straight horizontal bars across the boot, lending a sleek and uncluttered look.

The appeal of Straight Bar Lacing lies in its minimalist design, which not only looks great but also helps in reducing friction between the laces, making the boots easier to tighten and loosen. This method is less bulky than traditional lacing methods, which can be beneficial for comfort and fit.

Here’s how to do Straight Bar Lacing:

  1. Starting at the Bottom: Insert the lace into the bottom eyelets from the outside, leaving an equal lace length on both sides. This creates the first straight bar across the bottom.
  2. The First Cross: Take one end of the lace and run it straight up on the inside, then pass it across on the outside through the opposite eyelet pair. The lace should now form a straight bar on the second pair of eyelets.
  3. Alternate Crossing: With the other end of the lace, skip an eyelet on the same side, then run it straight up and across to form another bar.
  4. Continuing the Pattern: Keep alternating sides with each lace, skipping an eyelet on the inside each time before crossing over. This creates a neat pattern of parallel bars.
  5. Finishing Up: Continue this pattern until all eyelets are used. If you end up with an odd number of eyelet pairs, you may need to make a slight adjustment at the top to ensure a symmetrical appearance.

Straight Bar Lacing not only enhances the appearance of combat boots but also provides a comfortable fit, making it a great choice for both daily wear and special occasions. The simplicity and elegance of this lacing style make it a timeless choice for those who appreciate a clean and refined look in their footwear.

6. Hiking/Biker Lacing

Hiking/Biker Lacing, also referred to as ‘Heel Lock’ or ‘Runner’s Tie’, is a lacing technique highly valued by outdoor enthusiasts and motorcyclists alike. This method is designed to provide extra stability and support, particularly around the ankle and heel area, making it ideal for activities that require a secure and tighter fit. The technique is a favorite among hikers and bikers because it prevents the foot from sliding forward in the boot, thus reducing the risk of blisters and improving overall foot comfort during long rides or hikes.

The unique aspect of Hiking/Biker Lacing is its focus on locking the heel in place. This is achieved through a special lacing arrangement that snugly secures the boot around the ankle, providing enhanced support and stability without compromising on comfort.

Here’s how to do Hiking/Biker Lacing:

  1. Start with Standard Lacing: Begin by lacing your boots in your preferred standard method (such as Criss-Cross or Straight Lacing) up to the second-to-last eyelets.
  2. Creating the Lock: Instead of crossing the laces to the top eyelets, run each lace vertically up to the last eyelet on the same side and thread it through from the inside out, leaving a small loop on the outside.
  3. Securing the Lace: Cross the laces over and thread each end through the loop on the opposite side. This creates a locking mechanism.
  4. Tightening the Laces: Pull the laces upwards to tighten them. The loops should pull closer to the boot, creating a secure hold around the ankle.
  5. Finishing the Lacing: After the laces are tightened to a comfortable level, tie them off at the top as usual.

Hiking/Biker Lacing is particularly effective in rugged terrains and long rides where foot stability is crucial. This lacing technique not only enhances the fit and comfort of the boots but also adds an element of safety by ensuring that the boots remain securely in place. Whether you’re traversing a challenging trail or cruising on a motorcycle, Hiking/Biker Lacing is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a reliable and comfortable boot fit.

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Hiking and biker lacing methods are designed for stability and comfort, especially during rigorous activities. Loop King Laces enhances this experience by offering laces that are not only robust but also stylish. Their range of shoelaces, featuring various textures and colors, can add a unique flair to your combat boots. With Loop King Laces, you can trust that your boots will stay securely tied, no matter the terrain or activity, while also standing out with a personalized look.

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7. Window Lacing

Window Lacing, also known as ‘Box Lacing’, is a unique and functional method of lacing combat boots, particularly beneficial for those who experience discomfort or pressure points with traditional lacing methods. This technique is characterized by its series of ‘windows’ or ‘boxes’, which allow for greater flexibility and adaptability in fit, making it ideal for individuals with high arches or wide feet.

The standout feature of Window Lacing is its ability to evenly distribute pressure across the foot, reducing pinching or binding that can occur with more constrictive lacing methods. This is achieved by the distinct parallel segments of the laces, which create ‘windows’ between the eyelets, allowing for a more customized and comfortable fit.

Here’s how to do Window Lacing:

  1. Start at the Bottom: Begin by threading the lace through the bottom eyelets from the outside. Ensure the lace is even on both sides.
  2. Vertical Segments: Instead of crossing the laces, run them straight up the inside and out through the next higher set of eyelets. This creates vertical parallel segments on the front of the boot.
  3. Creating Windows: Cross the laces over to the opposite side, skipping an eyelet each time before threading them outward. This forms the ‘windows’ or ‘boxes’.
  4. Repeat the Process: Continue this pattern – vertical up on the inside, cross over skipping an eyelet – until all eyelets are used. If you reach the top and have an extra set of eyelets, simply lace them as a standard cross.
  5. Tie Off the Lace: Once you reach the top, tie the laces as usual. The result should be a series of parallel lines with gaps or ‘windows’ between them.

Window Lacing not only provides a customized fit but also adds a distinctive visual element to the boots. This lacing style is particularly useful for those who need a more forgiving fit due to foot shape or conditions that cause foot swelling. It offers a practical solution for enhancing comfort without sacrificing the supportive qualities essential in combat boots.

8. Display Lacing

Display Lacing, sometimes referred to as ‘Fashion Lacing’, is a method of lacing combat boots that prioritizes aesthetic appeal over functionality. This style is perfect for those who view their boots as a fashion statement and want to add a unique, decorative touch. Display Lacing is more about personal expression and style rather than practicality or comfort, making it popular in fashion circles, among style enthusiasts, and for occasions where the visual impact of the boots is paramount.

The main characteristic of Display Lacing is its intricate and often symmetrical patterns, which can vary greatly depending on personal preference and creativity. From simple designs to complex weaves, this lacing technique allows for a wide range of artistic expression. It’s not uncommon for Display Lacing to be less functional in terms of tightening or providing foot support, but it excels in making a bold style statement.

Here’s a basic approach to do Display Lacing:

  1. Start with a Base: Begin by lacing the boots in a simple straight or criss-cross pattern. This will serve as the base for your display design.
  2. Choose Your Pattern: Decide on a pattern or design. This could be anything from a series of horizontal bars to intricate weaves or loops. The key is symmetry and visual appeal.
  3. Weave the Laces: Carefully weave the laces according to your chosen pattern. This might involve threading the laces under and over in specific sequences to create designs.
  4. Maintain Even Tension: As you create your design, ensure that the tension across the laces is even. This will help maintain the integrity of the pattern and keep it looking neat.
  5. Finish with Flair: Once you reach the top of the boot, secure the laces in a way that complements your design. Some might prefer a bow, while others might tuck the ends in for a cleaner look.

Display Lacing is a fantastic way to transform combat boots into a canvas for personal expression. While it may not always be the most practical for rugged activities, it certainly stands out in urban settings, fashion events, or any scenario where making a style statement is the goal. With Display Lacing, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Premium Shoelaces by Loop King Laces

As we’ve explored various lacing methods, it’s clear that the type of shoelace used plays a significant role in both the functionality and aesthetics of your combat boots. This is where Loop King Laces shines. Their premium shoelaces are designed for those who demand the best in both quality and style. Whether you’re opting for a classic look or something more unique, Loop King Laces has a range of options to suit your needs. Upgrade your combat boots with Loop King Laces, and experience the perfect blend of durability, comfort, and style.

Miles Anthony Smith

Miles is a loving father of 3 adults, devoted husband of 24+ years, co-chief sneakerhead (along with his wife Carolyn) at Loop King Laces, author, entrepreneur, investor, & owner of several businesses (AmaLinks Pro, Why Stuff Sucks, & Kompelling Kars). Miles has been featured in New York Magazine, Escapist Magazine, FashionSpot, Menswear Style, & Men Style Fashion. Loop King is trusted by sneakerheads JumperMan Kris, jumpmanbostic, ajinchicago, among others.


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