How To Lace Work Boots? (For Extra Comfort & Stability)

Work boots take a real beating and need to be sized correctly as well as laced securely to ensure maximum comfort and stability. 

When you were a child, your parents most likely used the common criss-cross method.  It’s easy to do and well known by all, but your work boots need different techniques, which we will go over. 

Also, we’ll talk about if lacing your work in different ways makes actually any difference or if it’s just a way to look more interesting and get attention and other cool details.

Here I'm showing how to tie a pair of work boots and for this example, I'm using 2 of my steel toe work boots.

How to tie your work boot using different lacing methods

Let’s go through a few methods I’ve used myself over the last few years whilst working in the construction industry.

1. The heel lock method

showing how the heel lock lacing method looks like.

Blisters on your heel caused by the friction of your heel and the boot rubbing against each other can cause a lot of discomfort.  

The Heel Lock lace tying method is great for stabilizing your heel and locking it into place via the pulley system this tying method creates. It can also be useful in keeping your toes from jamming into the front of the boot.  

I’ve had this issue particularly with my Doc Martens Icon 7b10 steel toe work boots in which the heel was slipping like crazy with each step.

The way I’ve saved myself from tired feet and blisters is by tieing my work boots using this lacing method.

If your heel is slipping inside your boots as well I strongly encourage you to tie your laces around the boots and then make the node at the front. This will help even more to keep the boot tight to your ankle providing great support and stopping heel slippage.

This is a popular method favored by people who work or traverse rugged terrain. 

Here’s how to lace your work boots using The Heel Lock Technique

  • To do a Heel Lock, start with the usual criss cross method all the way up to the hooks.
  • Continue straight up the first two sets of hooks, not crisscross but putting the laces on the outside of the first to sets of hook.
  • Cross the laces over, creating a box with the laces on the outside of the hooks, with one lace under the vertical lace on the opposite side.
  • Take the other lace and put it under the other vertical lace just like the other side.
  • Tighten and then tie as you normally would. If you have enough lace, you can wrap around the ankle and then tie as your normally would.

2. The ladder method

showing what the ladder lacing method looks like.

You can secure your boots to your feet very well with this method.  The Ladder Method is great for people on their feet all day and who need to move around a lot. 

This method looks tidy and neat, as the laces go straight across rather than diagonally.  This method is also known as the Straight Lace, Bar Lace or Military Lace.  

Here’s how to lace your work boots using The Ladder Method

  • Start at the bottom inner ankle eyelet and put the lace through from outside to inside.
  • Pull the lace up diagonally and through the very top upper eyelet put through from the inside to the outside, giving about 7 inches of lace to hang. You’re going to have a bunch of lace that you will be working with, leaving the 7 inches alone until you are ready to tie.
  • Take the long lace and create your first bar by lacing straight across the bottom from the outside in. Pull tight, holding the 7 inch upper lace and pulling your long lace.
  • Take the long lace and cross diagonally, going up one eyelet and lacing from the inside out. Pull and tighten and then make another bar with the long lace, going straight across and lacing into that eyelet from the outside in.
  • Repeat the diagonal lace, going up one eyelet and lacing from the inside to out, tighten and pull across to make the next bar going from outside in.
  • Do this until you get to the top, at which point if you have a lot of extra lace, simply wrap around your ankle once and then tie and knot normally.

3. The army lacing method

showing what the army lacing method looks like for work boots.

This method gives the boot wearer stability and added comfort. It gives you a snug fit but not too snug.  It allows the boot flexibility on the side of the boot. 

It also allows for laces to be done in such a way that you lessen the chances of vegetation to snag on your laces, which is ideal for loggers, landscapers, linemen, and anyone working around sticks and plants material.

Additionally, it’s a great lacing system if you have high arches or the boots you just bought are too tight on the top of your foot.

By skipping a few eyelets you’re actually allowing more room for your foot. So if your foot needs to push up through the boot tongue in order to fit comfortably this lacing method will be helpful.

Here’s how to lace your work boots using The Army Lacing Method

  • Lace through the bottom two eyelets, going from outside in on each side.
  • Move up an eyelet vertically and lace from the outside in on each side.
  • Gently tighten, then pass diagonally up one eyelet on each side by lacing from the inside out on each side.
  • You will then move up vertically straight one eyelet on each side, lacing through the next eyelets from the outside in. Do these steps until you reach the top, then tie and knot normally.

Are these methods useful for work or they’re more just for the show?

Some of the lacing methods you’ll see out there won’t help you in any way really. They’re more like a fashionable way to lace boots rather than for comfort, stability, and support whilst you’re working.

I’ve asked in a few places on the web if people do lace their boots in any particular way and if it makes any difference at all which way you’re lacing your work boots in the first place.

Some people were trolling me for asking this question. In their opinion, this is not even a serious question or something to look into.

Their attitude is childish in my opinion since many professionals are using a different style of lacing based on what tasks are performed.

Take this ex-military person for example…

Last words on how to tie your wor boots

Some ways of lacing work boots don’t really help with anything else more than just making you look cooler.

But some other lacing styles like the ones I’ve shared with you today are used by a lot of professionals to achieve more comfort and stability whilst working.

I hope you find this information useful as you learn how to lace your work boots. If you have other ways to lace your work boots please comment below.


Team Members Working On This Page

sondra claflin one of the writers and researches at bestformyfeet.com
Sondra Claflin – Writer And Researcher

Hi!  My name’s Sondra and I am one of the researchers and writers here at BestForMyFeet.com.  I have 5 kids who I spend my days teaching and caring for. I’m married now for 13 years to my dear husband Art, who helps his folks run a housecleaning business as well as a side business of his own for general contracting and home remodel.  I’m just a high school graduate who decided to raise a family and keep the home.

Victor Adrian – Editor And Webmaster

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!


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