Whether you are a serious hobbyist who is interested in competitive skating, or you just like to cruise around on your board occasionally, having the best skate shoes is a must. These shoes are designed to help you better control the board, keep your balance, and protect your feet when riding. But did you know that the way you lace your skate shoes is also important?
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Why Does Lacing Matter?
Let’s start with why lacing your skate shoes properly matters. The biggest reason is for your safety. You need your laces to do two things when skating: stay put (not come undone) and stay tucked up out of the way so the ends aren’t flying around your feet. Laces that are either so long that they are hanging down near the sole of the shoe, or laces that come undone, both pose a risk when skating. They can easily get tangled, trip you up when you kick, and just make it far more likely that you’ll lose control of the ride.
Another reason to lace your skate shoes a particular way is for the appearance. It’s not necessarily a must, but some skaters do like to wear their gear in a way that looks like classic skater style. There’s nothing wrong with that and learning the different methods for lacing skate shoes can be a way of adding that little bit of authentic flair to an outfit.
Finally, lacing your skate shoes correctly protects the laces, so they don’t wear out as quickly. Laces on any shoes are designed to help keep the shoe fitted snuggly to your foot, so it’s important that they don’t get torn up. Most skate shoe lacing styles keep the laces up away from the ground, so there is less of a chance that they’ll be walked on or dragged around.
Now let’s get into the types of lacing that are common for skaters of all types.
Straight Lacing or Bar Lacing
One of the most popular methods for hobbyists when it comes to lacing their skate shoes is the straight lacing or bar lacing method. In this method, the laces look like stripes going up the shoe, with a single bar stretching between each hole. Except for the top of the shoe, where you end up with two ends to tie together, it looks as though there is only one lace creating straight bars across the shoe.
This method is often worn as a way to be more comfortable, because it doesn’t create a very tight fit across the top of the shoe. In order to lace your shoes this way, insert the lace though the bottom eyelet from the top, pulling each end through and under the row of eyelets. Now you’ll take the left side and insert it up through the next eyelet on the left, and the right side is inserted up through the eyelet on the right.
Next, pull the left lace straight across to the eyelet where you just pulled the right lace through, and push the lace down through that eyelet. Do the same with the right side, going across to the left. The two bars should be right on top of each other. Continue this pattern all the way up. When you get to the top, the two ends will be pushed down through the final eyelets, and you’ll be able to tie the bow or knot behind the tongue to keep it out of the way.
Another common method for lacing skate shoes is called the crisscross method, which is essentially how you would lace any other shoe. Start at the eyelets at the bottom of the shoe and work your way up by pushing the lace through the next eyelet up on the opposite side. When you get to the top, tie the lace behind the tongue and cut any excess on the ends so that they aren’t long enough to trip you up.
If you don’t like the feel of either of those methods, another method to try is zipper lacing. This is a simple way to lace that starts with a knot at the end of the lace to create an anchor. Thread the other end of the lace through the bottom eyelet on the right, coming up through the bottom of the eyelets. Pull till the knot secures the lace under that eyelet.
Then use the loose end and go straight across, the way you would in the straight lacing method. Push the lace down through the eyelet, and then go straight back across to the opposite side, going up through the next eyelet up. Then go straight across and repeat this method with that single side of the lace till you reach the top of the shoe. Once you are there, push the lace down through the top of the final eyelet, and knot it so that it remains in place under the eyelets, just like the original anchor.
Other Quick Tips for Wearing Skate Shoes
Once you have your skate shoes laced the way you like them, here are a few other quick tips to keep you safe while skating:
- Skate shoes are not meant to be worn with socks; they can make it harder for you to control the board.
- Be sure that the soles and stitching of your skate shoes are of the best quality you can afford, because these elements take the most wear and tear.
- When choosing the fit of your shoes, get something that allows your toes to wiggle and grip, but not something that allows your foot to slide around inside.
- Be sure to consider what type of skating you want to do when buying shoes. Not all skate shoes are made for all types of riding.
While skate shoes can be a style choice for many people, they are intended to help protect your feet and joints when skating. Take just as much time choosing these as you do your other safety gear, and you’ll have a much easier time preventing injury.