Oxfords are a staple for all wardrobes. They take your favorite jeans and T-shirt combo up a notch, and they’re the only acceptable choice for black-tie dress codes.
Men’s oxford shoes are fairly common, but surprisingly, not everyone knows how to lace them properly.
If you lace them like you do your sneakers — I hate to tell you this, but — you’re doing it wrong.
Criss-crossed lacing doesn’t affect wearability. Men’s dress shoes will remain comfortable and wearable despite using this method.
However, it will speak volumes about your lack of knowledge of the history of oxford shoes. They were made popular by the students of Oxford in the 80s, and they have since been worn with neat, straight bars.
While you don’t have to follow the English, their tradition plays a huge part in dictating how to lace up the right way.
If you’re not sure how to begin, this guide will help you get your straight-laced game on!
How to Lace Oxfords: Straight Bar Lacing
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be calling the eyelets near your front ankles the “top holes” and the eyelets near your toes the “bottom holes”.
Here’s how to lace your Oxfords:
- First, insert your laces through the bottom holes. Pull both ends to create a straight line resting neatly atop the leather.
- If your shoes have an odd number of eyelet rows, make sure that one side is longer by about 5 cm. Keep both sides at even lengths if you have an even number of rows.
- For odd rows, grab the longer end first and insert it through the hole directly above it. Take the same end and insert it through the hole beside it. For even rows, it doesn’t matter which end you start with.
- Skip a row of eyelets. Insert the same end through the next hole on the same side and then again through the hole beside it.
- Continue the process until you reach the eyelets second from the topmost row. If you have an odd number of rows, you’ll have to insert the long end through the hole on the opposite side and form a diagonal line at the finish.
- Grab the opposite end of the lace and insert it through the remaining holes. An even-numbered set of rows will result in straight horizontals only, while an odd-numbered set of rows will end at a criss-cross on top.
- Pull on both ends tightly to make sure that your laces are kept flat, straight, and neat across all rows. Tie your shoelaces, and you’re ready to go!
We’d hate to see you waltz into the office or, worse, the party of your life, looking clueless in crisscrossed dress shoes.
So, we hope this guide helps you look sharp and smart the next time you need to wear your oxfords.
If there’s a different or easier way of lacing you’d like to share with us, just head to the comments.
There’s nothing more we’d love to discuss than being effortlessly confident in our own shoes!
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