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How to Tie Leather Laces? – 4 Easy & Simple Ways

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers


Boat shoes are ideal footwear when you’re on deck, but they also have a reputation for being difficult to use, mainly due to leather laces that are complicated to tie. Knowing how to tie leather laces is essential, both from a practical and a fashion standpoint.

We’ll take a look at a few reliable ways to tie boat shoes, whether it’s a classic pair or more unorthodox leather shoe laces for sneakers.

Keep reading to learn more.

Ways of Tying Leather Shoe Laces

Whether you’re looking to tie Polo shoes with leather laces or any other type, these classic lacing methods provide both practicality and style to your footwear.

</p> <h3><strong>Knot 1</strong><strong>: </strong><strong>Barrel</strong></h3> <p>


This knot is also called the boat shoe knot and is standard for such footwear for good reason. It is simple and practical but holds well and is reliable. It involves tying each side of the lace on its own.

There may be no better way to keep Sperry leather laces tied than with this classic method.

  • Make a loop near the base of one lace. Twist it.
  • Wind the loose section of the lace around the twisted loop five times or until you reach near the end of the string.
  • Insert the end of the lace into the last loop. Pull and tighten.
  • Repeat the steps for the other side.
</p> <h3><strong>Knot 2</strong><strong>: </strong><strong>Tassel</strong></h3> <p>


This lacing style combines a simple knot with a barrel finish.

  • Begin with the standard simple knot, right lace over left.
  • Tie the same knot once more but left over right to complete the square knot.
  • Take the right lace and make a loop near its base.
  • Wrap the free end of the right lace and coil it making your way up the loop.
  • Insert the tip into the loop and pull to tighten.
  • Repeat the tassel knot for the left lace.
</p> <h3><strong>Knot 3</strong><strong>: </strong><strong>Chain</strong></h3> <p>


If a barrel is too simple for you, the chain functions similarly. Use this to tie moccasins for a different look.

  • Start with the right lace and make a loop by bringing the working section to the front.
  • Make a second loop with the working end then bring the second loop through the first one.
  • Make a third loop then bring that into the second one. Bring the end of the lace through the final loop.
  • Do the same for the other lace. Bring the two sides together and secure the chains by tucking them into each other.
</p> <h3><strong>Knot 4</strong><strong>: </strong><strong>Seaman’s</strong></h3> <p>



Say you try the standard shoe knot to tie leather laces on loafers, but they just don’t hold as well as you’d like. If you want to tie a bow with leather laces but want something more secure, the seaman’s knot is a good option to try.

This is a good option to tie LL Bean slippers since it is recommended by the manufacturer but also works well for other footwear using leather laces.

  • Tie a simple knot with the left lace over the right; pull to tighten.
  • Make a loop with each lace and make them similar in size.
  • Fold down the left loop and bring it under the right loop.
  • Fold the right loop over and under the left loop.
  • Pull on the left and right loops toward opposite directions and tighten.

How Do You Keep Leather Shoelaces From Untying?

Tie rawhide laces or leather and you’ll notice that they’re difficult to work with because of their stiffness. They are also more prone to unravel, although applying the proper technique helps.

When crossing laces for a simple knot, it matters if you begin with the left or right side as what comes after determines whether the knot is weak. As you tie leather laces on loafers, note which one goes over.

When wearing shoes, be sure to start the knot and the bow on opposite sides. This means that if you took the left lace over the right to knot or tie Sperry laces, you should take the right loop over the left to form the bow. This will give you a stronger and more secure fit.

As for which lacing method keeps better, the barrel knot is known to hold for a long time while the seaman’s knot is recommended to keep moccasins tied.

The type of laces also affects how stable they can be as it is easier to tie flat leather laces and keep them that way compared to round ones.


Now that you know how to tie leather laces in a few different ways, try the methods out and see which one you like best. Whether you tie leather laces Sperrys or another shoe brand, you’ll be more comfortable with wearing secure footwear.

Do you know other ways to tie loafers or other shoes with leather laces? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

Remember to boat safely.

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