How to lace Air Force 1 - Step by step guide

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

Trying to figure out how to lace Air Force 1s can be tricky at times, especially when you unbox a pair for the first time.

Fortunately, we've put together a step-by-step guide to help you lace up your Nike sneakers for a secure, comfortable fit. Not only that, but we've also included a few alternative techniques to help you find a style of lacing that suits your personal taste.


This is particularly useful right now as there are a ton of great Air Force 1s on the market, with more in the pipeline like the upcoming Tiffany x Nike AF1 collab.

Interestingly, the Air Force 1 originally debuted as one of the best basketball shoes on the market in 1982. However, after a slow start and a short hiatus, the Air Force 1s eventually transitioned into the ultimate lifestyle sneakers you see today.

So, whether you own a pair of the highly popular "White" Air Force 1 '07s, or you've managed to cop the new "Wild Berry" UNDEFEATED Lows, we've got all the top tips on how to lace them right here.

How to lace Air Force 1s

The following is what we believe to be the most effective method of lacing Air Force 1s if you're looking to replicate the look seen in Nike's official sneaker photos.

We'll be focusing specifically on the low-top model in our guide; however, the same method can be applied to mid and high-top variations, you'll simply finish the lacing process a little higher up.

How to lace Air Force 1 - Person wearing white Air Force 1 Lows.
Credit: Maria Fernanda Pissioli

Step 1: Feed your shoelace through the top of the first eyelets, ensuring the two ends are even in length and the straight bar across the middle is flat to the tongue.

Step 2: Cross the two ends over in the centre and weave in and out of the subsequent eyelets on opposing sides. Once again, make sure the laces are flat and facing upward as you work.

Step 3: Once you reach the tongue tab, you can either skip over it or thread the ends through to keep the laces firmly in place. We'd recommend this for the most secure fit possible.

Step 4: When you get to the top, instead of going in and out, feed your shoelace from the inside to the outside on both sides.

Step 5: Tie the ends together, repeat the process with your second shoe, and you should be good to go. Alternatively, you can feed the lace from outside to in and tuck the laces into your shoes depending on your preference.

What type of laces do you need?

Choosing between flat and round laces will come down to personal preference; however, keep in mind that Air Force 1s almost always come with flat laces as standard.


As a result, we'd recommend sticking flats if you want to achieve the classic look perhaps best seen on these all-black '07s.

That said, some Air Force 1s opt for something completely different, like these “LA Flea" Lows with their rounded rope-style laces, so the choice is really up to you.

Air Force 1 "LA Flea" product image of a low-top sneaker with canvas and suede light pink and yellow stitched uppers with blue accents.
Credit: Nike

In terms of length, Air Force 1 laces are said to be mediums, meaning they fall between 49 and 54″.

This is worth keeping in mind in case you ever want to swap out the laces for different colours, like these flat red Birch laces, or if they simply need replacing.

Alternative ways to lace Air Force 1?

Although our guide details one of the most commonly used lacing methods, there are several alternatives you can try if you're looking for a slightly different style.


This is essentially the exact same technique we detailed above. The only real difference is that you're aiming to have just a small amount of lace left over on both sides.

How to lace Air Force 1 - White Air Force 1 on bed on Nike clothing.
Credit: Jeff Tumale
Below Retail Prices StockX has new listings in below retail price hard to find and special release sneakers!

Once again, feed the laces through each eyelet, crossing them as you go; however, make sure you keep them relatively loose in order to be left with next to no excess.

For more information on this technique, check out our guide to lacing Nike Dunks right here.


The diamond method is not too dissimilar to the first technique; however, there are a few minor differences that help create this intriguing pattern designed for a secure lock-in.


To begin, thread the lace through the second row of eyelets, then go back underneath to weave through the first two holes you originally missed.

After this, work your way up the eyelets in order, but loop back on yourself to thread through the eyelets on the row before as you go. This may seem complicated, but it should become clearer in practice.

We've also covered this technique in our guide to lacing Converse shoes if you're looking for more information.

Straight Bars

We previously touched on the straight bar method of lacing sneakers in our guide to lacing Jordan 1s as it's one of the most commonly used 'alternative' techniques for sneakers.

Much of this approach remains the same as the one detailed above. Simply begin by threading your shoelace from the outside in through the first eyelets.

Then, begin to weave the ends through each eyelet in an almost snake-like movement until you reach the top to tie them together.

The trick here is to almost treat each length of lace as a separate entity. In other words, the left length of the lace will go through the first, third, and fifth row of eyelets, while the right length goes through rows two, four, six, and so on.

Read More: Best Jordan 1 Lows - Our top picks