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Groom Guide July 27th, 2023

How to Lace Your Shoes for Formal Events

Groom Guide July 27th, 2023

Tips and Tricks on Lacing Dress Shoes

When it comes to formal outfits, the way you lace up your dress shoes is a small detail that makes a big difference. Now, if your shoes already come laced up, you don’t need to worry about this. But if they don’t, or if you’re interested in learning about dress shoe etiquette, here’s what you need to know.

How to lace dress shoes

There are several ways to lace dress shoes, but here are the two most popular ones:

  • Straight-up
  • Criss-cross

Each method is simple but can give your shoes an extra bit of elegance or sophistication, depending on what you’re going for.

Straight-Up Lacing Method

Perhaps the most widely accepted way to lace dress shoes for formal events is the straight-up method. Straight bar lacing gives your shoes a neater, cleaner look that gives your outfit a more formal appearance than the criss-cross method.

This is because you don’t see any of the laces crossing over the tongue — the only visible one is the crossover at the top. However, because the laces don’t cross, it can be tricky to tighten them or make other minute adjustments.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by inserting the lace into the first eyelet (lowest one) on both sides of the shoe. The ends should be even.
  2. Take the right end of the lace and run it under the eyelets to bring it through the second eyelet on the right. Pull it straight across to the eyelet that’s parallel on the left side.
  3. Pull the lace until it’s taut. You should have a clean, straight bar.
  4. Repeat this process until you’ve laced up all of the eyelets.
  5. Do the same thing for the other shoe.

Criss-Cross Lacing Method

The next way to lace dress shoes is the criss-cross method. It has a couple of benefits. For one thing, it’s easier to tighten than the straight-up method. For another, you end up with shorter lace ends, meaning you won’t have a huge, unsightly bow when you tie your shoes. Many dress shoes come pre-laced like this.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by inserting the shoelace through the bottommost eyelets. It should create a straight bar.
  2. Next, take the left side of the lace and thread it through the right eyelet just above the first pair.
  3. Pull the right side of the lace through the left eyelet for a criss-cross pattern.
  4. Repeat this process until you’ve pulled the lace through all eyelets.
  5. Do the same for the other shoe. Make adjustments and tighten as necessary.

Dress Shoe Etiquette

Here are some final tips to make sure your dress shoes are suitable for whatever formal event you’re going to — whether it’s a wedding or business meeting.

  • Use waxed cotton lace to get the best, sleekest look for your shoes. There are round and flat versions, but round ones are generally considered more formal.
  • When in doubt, go with a simple dress shoe, such as the Oxford or Derby. This means no brogue details or toecap.
  • Whether you’re going to a formal or semi-formal event, go with dress shoes that are darker than your dress pants. Along with this, match your shoes to your socks and belt.
  • Style matters, but so does comfort. Make sure your shoes fit well enough for all those hours spent out on the dance floor.

Bottom Line

Both the straight-up and criss-cross methods are suitable for dress shoes in most or all situations. They both have a similar finished look and can tie your outfit together (pun intended). Whatever else, make sure your shoes are as comfortable as they are stylish. Your feet will thank you.

This Article is part of the Tutorials Series.

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Groom Guide July 27th, 2023

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