How to Properly Lace a Mens Dress Shoe

For the past week I have been working on a fabulous men’s  shoot for the December issue of GQ Magazine!  (EEEEK so exciting)

As I dressed 46 different men, knotted 46 different ties, buttoned 46 different shirts and re-laced 46 different pairs of shoes one thing became crystal clear to me (and to my tired fingers): most men do not know how to properly lace a dress shoe.

It’s such a small thing that say’s so much!

Wearing quality shoes isn’t enough- knowing how to lace them properly shows that you truly have style.

So for all you fellas who need to brush up on your lacing skills and shoe lingo I thought I would give a quick tutorial on the basics.

First there are two parts to the “face” of a men’s lace-up dress shoe: The Vamp and the Quarter.  

The Vamp is the part of the shoe that covers the front of your toes to the middle of the shoe.



The Quarter meets the Vamp mid-foot and covers the sides and back of the heel.



Vamp and it?  Ok.

Next you need to know the two basic silhouette’s of men’s lace-up dress shoes : Open-Lace and Closed-Lace.

Open-Laced shoes have the quarters sewn on top of the vamp, resulting on a flap like appearance (the piece that hold the laces can actually “open” if you were to remove the laces).




Closed-laced shoes have the vamp sewn to the quarters so that the result is the appearance of one continuous piece. (No Flaps)




Time to lace it up!

While your typical old school criss-cross lacing is acceptable for open-lace shoes the proper way to lace closed-lace shoes is bar lacing (sometimes called fashion, European or straight lacing).  

It creates a sleek, clean, sophisticated appearance.  

Here’s How:

1. Starting at the bottom, thread the lace through the eyelets, entering in through the top. Pull through and make sure each side of the lace the same length.



2. Thread one lace through the bottom of the first eyelet on the same side, so it comes out the top.




3. Go across horizontally, and thread it through the top of the eyelet on the opposite side.




4. Now, with the other shoelace, go through the bottom of the first open eyelet on the same side .



5. Repeat the process until you are at the top.



7. I usually tuck the laces inside when finished because I think a “bow” ruins the clean look.




Looking forward to seeing  you all show off your new skills on Instagram!  I’m expecting to see tons of bar lacing photos!

*Looking for some great shoes? All of the gorgeous men’s shoes used in this tutorial are from TOPMAN.

CLICK Below to shop some of my favorite styles:

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  1. As a mom to two little boys, I need all the men’s/boys styling tips I can get! I don’t anything about dressing guys or ties, or belts. I’m ok for now, since they are still small, but dang, by the time they get in to high school I’m going to need back up!

  2. Ok how did I not know there is a proper way to lace a mens dress shoe? This will go on my son’s journal 😀 of life lessons for sure!

  3. Wow feelings a bit foolish I used to get mad shopping for dress shoes when laced like this in the store. I always thought it was some manufacturers automated way of lacing. I’d undo the lacing and cross lace them. Now I find out it is the proper way. Oops 🙂

  4. Wow, so impressive! I hate to to have shown you how i had my Stacy’s… but i am ready to dress to impress, thank you. So just wondering if the bow is behind the tongue?

  5. Thank you for posting this useful blog on the proper way of tying a a men’s dress shoe. It is a important to tie up the laces properly or it can affect the whole look of the shoe. This blog will serve as a handy guide on tying up laces. Please keep on sharing more helpful tips and suggestions in the upcoming posts.

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