Men’s guide to straight-lacing Oxford shoes

Prestige Oxford shoe with rubber sole from Samuel Windsor

Elegant shoes require an elegant lacing pattern
Image: Prestige Oxford shoe with rubber sole from Samuel Windsor

Oxford shoes should be worn with high quality waxed shoelaces and laced in a way that showcases their effortless simplicity. The straight-lace, or ladder pattern, allows the clean lines of the shoe to do the talking, and correctly threaded, will prevent the shoestrings from working loose over the course of the day. Watch our video guide for a quick tutorial.

What is the correct way to lace men’s Oxford shoes?

There are two main ways to lace men’s leather shoes: with a straight-lace or a crisscross pattern. Crisscross-lacing is a more casual look that works best with Bluchers. But for Oxford shoes, you can’t beat the sleek cleanliness of the parallel straight-lace pattern.

You may be able to achieve the look of the straight-lace pattern in a variety of ways but, if you use our tried and tested technique, your shoelaces will be easier to tighten. Want to know how a professional British butler would do it? Watch the video now…

Step-by-step guide to lacing an Oxford shoe

  1. Begin by threading the lace through the lowest pair of eyelets. This creates the bottom ‘rung’ of the ladder on the outside of the shoe. Adjust the length of the lace on the instep side of the shoe so that it’s about 2.5 inches longer than the other side.
  2. Bring the instep (longer) lace up inside the shoe to the eyelet directly above, and pull it through to the outside. Take the same lace horizontally across the outside of the shoe and into the hole. You should now have two straight ‘rungs’ on the bottom of the ladder.
  3. Bring the same lace up inside of the shoe, on the same side, but skip the 3rd hole and pull it out through the fourth eyelet. Take it horizontally across the outside of the shoe and into the hole. You should now have three even horizontal rungs, with one pair of eyelets skipped.
  4. Take the same lace and bring it diagonally across the inside of the shoe to the 5th hole on the opposite side. Feed the lace through the hole so it finishes on the outside of the shoe. You’re now done with the longer lace.
  5. Find the shorter lace inside the shoe and bring it directly up on the same side to the third hole. Feed it through and take it horizontally across the outside of the shoe to form the missing third ‘rung’ of the ladder.
  6. Finally, bring the shorter lace up the inside of the shoe to the last remaining eyelet at the very top. You should have four neat, parallel ladder rungs, and each of your laces should be the same length.

And that’s it! Your sleek Oxford shoes have a stylish straight-lace ladder pattern that James Bond would be proud of. Old shoes looking a little tired? Spruce them up with a good polish and a fresh set of laces. For more tips, take a look at our article on how to rescue old leather shoes.

Posted in Men's Shoes.

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