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How to Lace Military Boots? 4 Ways to Lace Your Boots

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

how to lace military boots

One of the many things you will have to master to perform well in the military is lacing combat boots. It is an essential skill but not too difficult to learn. All you will need to do is read through this article on how to lace military boots.

We will go through four military boot lacing techniques, including army lacing, ladder lacing, straight-bar lacing, and criss-cross lacing. There will be step-by-step instructions and a few handy video tutorials. So, read on!


How to Lace Military Boots? (4 Military Boot Lacing Techniques)


1. Army Lacing

This is one of the most common lacing techniques, liked for its minimal sagging and optimal flexing. It is ideal for heavy boots with thick sides that can cause discomfort and thereby, restrict movements.

Choose your laces

This form of lacing does not require a lot of lace length. So, if you do not want to be left with long loose ends, it is best to get short laces. However, also be mindful of the type of boot that you have—taller boots with a lot of eyelets, for instance, will need long loose ends.

Determine the number of eyelets on your boots

  • If your boots have an even number of eyelets, feed the laces diagonally from the inside out.
  • On the contrary, if your boots have an odd number of eyelets, feed the laces diagonally from the outside in.

Delve into the lacing


  • At the bottom-most eyelets, pick up one end of the lace and feed it straight across from the inside out.
  • Feed both ends of the lace through the eyelet directly above it from the outside in.
  • Then, cross the laces and feed them back up from the inside out.
  • Repeat bullet points two and three until you lace out all of the eyelets.
  • Knot the leftover length of the laces into a bow at the top. Alternatively, for a clean look, you can tuck the ends in.

With army lacing, you do not have to worry about blistered ankles. You can also freely bend and twist your feet!

2. Ladder Lacing

This is another common method of boot lacing. It is the go-to military bootlace for tall boots with many eyelets, providing superior stability and support.

You will often see this style of lacing on paratroopers, who rely on a firm hold. However, it is a bit more complex and can be challenging to handle in a hurry.

Choose your laces

The length of your laces depends on the number of eyelets on your boots.

  • 3 pairs of eyelets = 30 inches
  • 4 pairs of eyelets = 35 inches
  • 5 pairs of eyelets = 45 inches
  • 7 pairs of eyelets = 51 inches
  • 8 pairs of eyelets = 56 inches

Delve into the Lacing


  • Begin at the bottom-most pair of eyelets. Feed the laces through one eyelet from the inside and out through the other eyelet directly across from it.
  • Next, lace both ends through the eyelet that is vertically above it from the outside in.
  • Cross the laces on the tongue of your boots and feed them under the vertical section of the lace that you have just made in the previous step. This locks the laces in and provides a tighter fit for your boots.
  • Repeat the second and third bullet points all the way to the top of your boots. By the final set of eyelets, your laces should be on the inside of your boots.
  • Complete by knotting the laces into a secure bow or tuck them in.

Opt for ladder lacing if you need to march, parachute, or perform any activities that rely on the ankles.

This military boot laces style is visually impressive but equally complicated. Do not be discouraged if you cannot get it on the first try. Spare time to practice and you will become used to it in no time!

3. Straight-Bar Lacing


This lacing technique is sometimes also referred to as Lydiard Lacing. It alleviates pressure on the top ridge of your feet and looks tidier than other types of lacing. But there is a caveat—it will only work if your boots have an even number of eyelets.

  • Feed your laces through the bottom-most eyelets from the outside in. To check that you have done this correctly, see to it that both ends are coming out from under the eyelets.
  • Then, pick up the end of your right lace. Feed it through the eyelet right above it, from the inside to the outside.
  • Pull it straight across, through to the adjacent eyelet, going back in.
  • Do the same for your left lace, but skipping the eyelet that you have already ran the right lace through.
  • Continue until you have reached the top of your boots, like the other lace boots military-style, complete by knotting a bow. You should have a series of straight bars in the end.

4. Criss-Cross Lacing


This is what you will see in everyday shoes. It is the most standard style and is not difficult to learn at all. With this method, you do not have to worry about the number of eyelets on your boots.

  • Start by lacing through the bottom-most eyelets from the inside out.
  • Then, cross the ends of the lace at each set of eyelets before running them up diagonally and through the next pair of eyelets from the inside out.
  • Repeat this pattern until you have laced out all the eyelets.
  • Knot it at the top or tuck it in to secure.

Other Tips

In addition to learning the different ways of lacing your boots, it is important to keep a few tips about how to do it in mind:

  • Always tie your boots while kneeling. This ensures that the shin of the leg will be in the front of the boot, which guarantees that your feet will not be incorrectly positioned and will not be burdened with too much pressure by the added weight of the laces.

You can minimize the chances of getting shin splints and stress fractures if you keep this tip on the top of your mind every time you lace up your boots.

  • Practice, practice, and practice. There is a reason why so many people cite the quote, practice makes perfect. Let’s get it straight: you will likely not get these military boot lacing techniques on your first try. You will have to look at this article again and again before it imprints in your mind.

But that is completely normal. As with anything in the military, and anything in life for that matter, practice is necessary. Do not be discouraged if it takes a bit of time.

  • You can get boot bands to help complete your military boot lacing. They will safely tuck away any loose ends so that you will not accidentally trip yourself while training or carrying out a mission. Boot bands are not difficult to find. Check out military apparel stores or online retailers. Once you have them, read about how to properly use them here:


So, there you have it! You should now know how to lace military boots and be aware of four techniques. Lacing boots military-style is no longer a problem! You also have a few links that you can bookmark to refer back to anytime.

Hopefully, this has been helpful. If you have any other follow-up questions or thoughts, do not be afraid to let us know in the comments. Also, share this with your fellow soon-to-be service members!

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