Lanes are the main paths that minions follow in the course of a game. Lanes are defended by turrets, and in order to push the enemy into their base and destroy their inhibitors and Nexus, each successive turret in a lane must be destroyed before damage can be dealt to the next structure. Along each lane are located areas of brush for tactical maneuvering, such as juking and ganking. Controlling a lane is a key tactical component of gameplay; early lane control in a game can put your opponents at a disadvantage by keeping them away from your turrets and denying last hits on minions for much-needed Gold gold.

Summoner's Rift

Summoners Rift Lanes

Lanes in Summoner's Rift

Summoner's Rift has 3 lanes (Top icon Top, Bottom icon Bottom and Middle icon Middle) which are defended by 3 turrets (Outer, Inner, Inhibitor). Each adjacent lane is connected from different points through the Jungle or by the river that runs diagonally through the map.

What lane do I pick?

Right now, the general rule is that one champion goes Top icon top, one goes to the Jungle icon jungle, two Support icon go Marksman icon bottom, and one goes in the Middle icon middle. If you are having trouble with the champion(s) you are facing, it is advised that you ask someone to switch with you. 

At around level 30, it starts to get more complicated. There are many combinations, the most popular format of metagame at the moment tends to follow a set pattern of one Jungle icon jungler jungling, a Tank icon tanky DPS at Top icon top, an ability power reliant Mage icon caster will go Middle icon middle and the Marksman icon carry going Bottom icon bottom along with a Support icon support champion. This doesn't mean you won't play against different compositions however.

The Twisted Treeline

Twisted treeline lanes

Lanes in Twisted Treeline (old)

The Twisted Treeline has two lanes, top and bottom, that are defended by 2 turrets (Outer, Inhibitor). Typically, the top lane is the solo lane, with the other two team members trying to gain a foothold in the bottom lane. The narrower distance between lanes demands more care against sudden ganks. Top Lane takes a longer time to get from the first turret to the second turret while the bottom lane is shorter from the first turret to the second turret.

Lane Widths