People learn the skill of tying their shoelaces at a very early age, and most of them continue to use the same approach all through their lives. Whether they go to the gym and put on their sneakers or walk to a fancy business dinner and suit up in their shiny dress shoes, people apply the same shoelace knot for any occasion and type of shoes they wear.

However, when it comes to gents’ fashion, it is all about the details. The choice of shoelaces and a proper shoelace knot can make all the difference. With just a tiny bit of extra effort to lace up and tie your dress shoes accordingly, you will walk with extra comfort, style, and most importantly, increased confidence.

What shoelaces to choose?

We start with the choice of the right type and color of laces. Whether you go for derbies or oxfords, both are considered more formal and elegant types of footwear and so the choice of laces should do them justice. Always go for thin, preferably round laces that are made of fine cotton or leather, coated with a layer of wax. This will give a more formal look to your dress shoes and help you avoid untangling. You can also choose thin flat-shaped laces of the same materials if you want to achieve a more casual look. One important thing to note is that you should avoid synthetic or nylon laces that are more suitable for sports shoes and will ruin the look of your derbies or oxfords.

dress shoes shoelaces brown

Another tip to contribute to your preferred style is the color of the shoelaces. You cannot imagine how different the same shoe can look when combined with various colors of laces. For example, if you want to stay safe and convey that traditional classy look, pick the same color of shoelaces as the color of your shoes. However, if you want to spice things up a little, try combining your black derbies with deep blue-colored laces or maybe red ones. Another combination that we just love is the classic brown or burgundy dress shoes with a pair of ivory laces – a bold fashion statement that is. In our Gents’ collections, we suit our derbies with high-quality waxed shoelaces. Thin, round, and just about the right length.

Bar lacing vs crisscross lacing

dress shoes bar lacing
dress shoes crisscross lacing

Ok, so we decided on the type and color of shoelaces. Now we have to put the laces on. When it comes to standard lacing there are two methods – bar lacing and crisscross lacing. We would strongly recommend going for bar lacing approach when lacing up your derbies or oxfords. This looks way more classy than the crisscross method usually used for sports shoes, sneakers and if you want to achieve more casual look.

In this short video we show the right way to do the bar lacing for dress shoes with even number of eyelet rows:

Bar lacing for dress shoes

Basic single knot for dress shoes

With the bar lacing installed, let us now look at different ways to tie a shoelace knot. We start with the basic single knot that most of us use in our everyday life. It is quick, easy and most people do it without thinking.

But wait, even the basic things can be tricky. Did you know that there is a right and wrong way to tie a single shoelace knot… and there is a TED talk about it.

Pros: It is quick and easy.

Cons: It does not always look straight and centered and it can easily get undone, even if done right.

 Terry Moore on how to tie your shoes

Double knots in dress shoes’ lacing

To overcome the cons of the basic single shoelace knot we need to dive into more advanced stuff – the double knots. This way to tie a basic double knot also known as the Parisian knot is almost as easy to achieve as the single knot but it brings your game to the next level.

Pros: Way more secure than the single knot.

Cons: It does not always come centered and aligned.

There is another way to tie a double knot that is somehow easier to achieve than the Parisian knot. We call this the Surgeon’s knot. This way to tie a double knot is similar to the Berluti knot which is named after the famous Parisian shoemaker who introduced it in the 1970s. She got her inspiration by the Duke of Windsor and his way to tie his shoelaces that prevented them to untie during parades and official ceremonies.

Pros: Easy to tie and very secure.

Cons: It does not always come centered and it can be difficult to adjust.

And finally, my personal favorite way to tie the double knot. We call this the two loops knot. This approach is fun and easy to achieve with a little practice. It is very secure and the result is symmetrical and perfectly aligned. Apply this shoelace knot when tying your dress shoes, derbies or oxfords.

Pros: It is symmetrical and well-aligned; lies flat; very strong; easy to tie; easy to untie.

Cons: Might be difficult to achieve if your shoelaces are not long enough.

Two loops knot

Why bother do it?

Let’s look at it from the practical side of things. Imagine having to bend down repeatedly and tie your shoelaces when you are out for a walk. Annoying, isn’t it? Now imagine your shoelaces untying during a dance. Not only it is frustrating and sometimes embarrassing but it can also be dangerous. No doubt about it.

Besides, there’s another side to it which is more personal. Most people will not notice that you put some extra effort to tie your shoelaces the proper way. Yet, the idea you did that extra touch to your look, will make you walk tall and confident.

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