Everything You Need To Know About The Fleegle Heel

A closeup of the Fleegle HeelIn December of 2006, a blogger known as Fleegle changed the knitting world when she published a toe-up sock formula on her blog.

The special thing about it was the heel. It was totally new. It was for toe-up socks. It was easy. And it had NO HOLES.

Since I discovered the Fleegle Heel, I've been making videos showing how to do it, writing patterns that use it, and trying to help the whole world learn to love it.

Because I've got so much information on this topic, I've created this page as a resource for you - a collection of all the tips, tricks, patterns, videos, and Q&A I've answered - all about the Fleegle Heel.

How The Fleegle Heel Works

I'll give you the specific formula further down, but here are the basics:

The Fleegle Heel starts when your toe-up sock reaches the front of your ankle. At this point, with the stitches divided evenly in half between your instep and what will be the heel, you start to increase and make a gusset.

If you are using Magic Loop, you'll divide the stitches onto the two needles, and designate one as the "heel needle."

To do the gusset, increase one stitch on each side of the heel needle, every other round, until the heel needle has 2 fewer stitches than the total number of stitches you had on your sock before you started increasing.

Then it's time to turn the heel. This is a kind of short-row heel, and you can review my post on short rows if you are new to them.

A Very Easy Short-Row Heel

This isn't a heel where you have to think or count very much. You simply place a marker at the midpoint of the stitches, knit to two stitches past the marker, and start wrapping and turning, back and forth, until you have worked all but one heel stitch.

From there you go back to knitting in the round, and when you come back around to the heel, you work the very last decrease. You'll be back to the same number of sock stitches you started with, so then it's just a matter of working even for as long as you like your cuffs to be.

The Genius Trick That Makes This A No-Holes Heel

Most sock patterns leave a little hole in the corner of the heel because the heel is fully decreased back to the original number of stitches before you resume knitting in the round.

This is fine, but it makes the heel flap taller than the rest of the sock, usually by one or two rows, and it makes a little gap when you try to bring everything neatly back together.

If you've tried the Fleegle heel, you have probably noticed that you don't quite finish the heel before it's time to knit the instep.

Instead, you stop one row early and do the last decrease when you come back around. This makes the heel one row shorter, and everything lines up perfectly.

What makes the Fleegle Heel hole-less?
One round fewer! A heel that's one row shorter has no holes.
Click To Tweet This Insight

Line Break

Video Class: Toe Up Socks And The Fleegle Heel

Because this technique is so popular, I made a full video demo of the entire process of toe-up socks, from cast-on to bind-off, including the Fleegle heel.

One Raveler was so excited about the course that she said...

Toe up socks fleegle heel Ravelry testimonial for KNITFreedom

Click Here To Try The Amazing Toe-Up Socks Knitting Video Class

The Big Question: When Do I Start The Fleegle Heel?

Fleegle describes the time to start increasing as "when the knitting reaches the front of your ankle.”

When to start your Fleegle Heel
This is the spot your knitting should reach when you start your Fleele heel increases.

It's a little hard to find this (admittedly vague) spot on your foot, so here are some tips:

1) Flex your foot as much as you can - this helps the “front of the ankle” become more apparent.

2) Pull the sock onto your foot as snug as you’d like it to be when you’re wearing it. If the knitting reaches the crook in your ankle, you’re ready to start the Fleegle heel increases.

Videos: The Fleegle Heel, Plus Increasing For Dummies

Here are two key videos to watch if you're going to try the Fleegle heel:

Find these videos helpful? These are just two of the more than ten you'll learn from in the Toe-Up Socks video e-book - click here to learn more.

Add It To Any Sock: The Basic Fleegle Heel Formula

You can use this formula on any toe-up sock in any weight of yarn.

1) Knit Foot, Increase For Heel
Work even until the sock reaches the front of your ankle. Increase 2 stitches every other round, only on the heel needle. Stop when the heel stitches number two less than the total number of stitches you had for both the heel and instep combined.

2) Turn Heel
Place a marker at the midpoint of your heel stitches. Knit to 2 sts beyond the marker.
K2tog, K1, turn (you won't yet be at the end of the row). Sl 1, P to 2 sts beyond the marker. P2tog, p1, turn. You may remove the marker.

Continue turning the heel by working up to the visible gap, decreasing, working 1 more, and then turning your work. You are done turning the heel when the K1 after the decrease is the last of the heel stitches.

3) Work The Final Decrease
Knit once across the instep and do a final decrease on the right-hand side of the heel. You should be back to your original number of stitches.

Free Patterns: Toe-Up Socks With The Fleegle Heel

Click the thumbnails below to learn more about and download each sock pattern.

Pink striped fingering-weight socks Blue ShiBui worsted-weight toe-up socks Pink bulky toe-up socks Blue super-bulky-weight socks

Ask A Question - Browse Discussions on the Fleegle Heel

Everyone helps everyone in our forum on Ravelry. Here are the most active discussions about the Fleegle heel:

Need knitting help? Start your own thread in the forum.

When Fleegle Falls Short: Heel Stitches And High Insteps

The Fleegle heel is actually not perfect for every type of sock. If you want contrasting heels, textured heels, or to adjust for a high instep, this section will tell you what to do.

Eye-of-Partridge-HeelFun heel stitches: Because the Fleegle heel is a full short-row heel, you can't add the optional and stitch patterns that you find in top-down socks, which normally have a heel flap.

High insteps: People with high insteps (and there are many of them) often find regular short-row heels, including the Fleegle heel, too tight over their insteps, and hard to adjust.

To solve both the heel-stitch and high-instep problem, I designed a free toe-up sock pattern with a faux "heel-flap." It works like a heel flap in that you can add stitch patterns and make it taller for a high instep, but it's faux in that there's no "flap" and no picking up stitches - it's all seamless. Get the toe-up heel flap sock pattern here.

Contrasting colors: Because in the Fleegle heel the gusset and the heel are one piece, it's impossible to make a sock with a separate-color heel. To do that, you'll want to use a pure short-row heel on your socks instead.

Pretty swirly divider embellishment

Resources: This resource was made possible by the original Fleegle heel blog post.

Your Opinion: Have You Tried The Fleegle Heel?

What do you think of the Fleegle heel? Has it helped you become a toe-up convert?
Is it just one of many heels you'll go back to again and again? Or if you haven't tried socks, does it give you the inspiration to try? Let me know by posting a comment below!

Videos from this post:

Forgot Increases on Fleegle Heel Gusset
Free Video
Video Thumbnail
Forgot Increases on Fleegle Heel Gusset
Forgot Increases on Fleegle Heel Gusset - youtube Video
Turn a Heel on Toe-Up Socks: The Fleegle Heel
Free Video
Video Thumbnail
Turn a Heel on Toe-Up Socks: The Fleegle Heel
toe up socks

Related Course: Toe-Up, Two-at-a-Time Socks

Toe-up socks are the hippest and most addictive project in knitting right now, and it's easy to see why.

Knitters love making their socks from the toe-up because they can try on as they go, knit two-at-a-time, and there's no heel flap or picking up stitches.

The ideal project for any intermediate knitter to learn, improve, and enjoy.

108 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About The Fleegle Heel”

  1. Liat,
    I am knitting your 2 at a time toe up sock, but I cast on 22 stitches per needle because I thought that 16 was going to be to tight.
    How many stitches would I need to increase for the gusset?

    1. Hi Robi,

      Can you email [email protected] to get more help? Just let me know the exact pattern you are using and the size you would like to make. Unless your gauge is quite different from what is called for in the pattern, large changes like the one you mention are not usually necessary. The number of stitches you cast on influences the numbers for the whole sock.

      The reason I can’t answer you here is because although you tell me you cast on 22 sts for the sock, I don’t know how many increases you did for the toe and therefore I don’t know how many stitches your sock is all the way around. That’s the number you’ll need to use to calculate how many stitches you want for the gusset.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks for all this information! I prefer the look of the fleegle heel, but I keep getting saggy ankles when I knit it toe up (top down it’s fine). After reading your post and the comments, I think I will try using less increases and see how that works for me. Thank you!

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