You’re 5 years old learning how to tie your shoelace. You’re taught one way and that technique sticks with you for the rest of your life, right? But what if I told you there are countless different ways to lace up your shoes for a better fit? Would you believe me?
The hoops, loops and bunny ears taught you well, and kept your shoes on your feet for years – mazel tov! But should your feet require more support, more room, tighter feel? Perhaps it’s the fit of the new running shoe that means you need more from your laces than what you’ve currently got.
I know, I was the same. Completely unaware that my foot’s high arches could be better supported, and my new running shoes could be much more snug – without just using thicker socks, insoles or plagued with aches and pains because my gait is ‘off’. I didn’t know that altering the way I lace my running shoes can actually eradicate those little annoying issues like blisters, black toenails, and slipping heels, until I went to a running convention with lace demonstrations… and life as we know it, changed forever.
Note:Changing the way you lace up can fix some problems, but if your shoe isn’t a correct fit for your foot type, those issues are likely to persist… They’re only laces after all, not magic strings! So it is handy to make sure you have a solid combination of the right fit shoe for you added with your very own lacing style, and here’s how:
How to lace up for common running shoe complaints
Felling your heel slip around in your shoe?
Getting a lot of blisters or excessive wear on the back of your shoes are a telltale sign that your heel is moving around too much, try the heel lock method to keep the heels snug, and laces tight:
- Lace your shoes in the usual cross-cross style (the pattern that’s most common out of the box) but stop at the second to last eyelet.
- Lace the final eyelet outside to inside (so it creates a loop between the final two eyelets)
- The left-hand lace crosses over into the right side loop, and vice-versa. Pull tightly to secure the shoe around your foot and tie as usual.
Do your running shoes feel too tight?
Ever get that annoying pain at the top of your foot like your shoes are far too tight like there’s no give? If the shoes are defiantly the correct size and fit for your foot type and width, then try this straight bar style of lacing up:
- Run the laces completely parallel using the same length laces (this will make sense in the next technique).
- Skip the opposite-diagonal eyelet and let the laces sit across your foot to control the level of tightness throughout the shoe.
- Lace-up as usual.
*Note: if the lacing technique doesn’t ease the complaint at all and you are sure the fit is correct, then I recommend visiting a running store expert for further assistance.
Finding you have painful toes while running?
Black toenails, tingly toes or general pain can mean your shoes are not the correct fit, or perhaps they are and you need the toe-box opening for more toe-space if you will. Diagonal lacing can help with this:
- Run the shorter lace from the first eyelet to the top of the opposite side (sitting diagonally across the entire tongue/shoe.
- Using one longer side (about 10cm longer), lace your shoe parallel, all the way up the shoe.
- Tie the laces up as usual.
Lacing techniques for particular foot types:
Do you have high arches and/or a high mid-foot?
Here we’re looking to alleviate pressure from the middle section of the shoe, here’s how:
- Start lacing in the normal cross-cross style
- In the middle section, thread the lace through its own side eyelets (no crisscrossing here)
- The final two eyelets cross over again like the beginning of the technique
- Tie the laces are normal
Got narrow feet?
Then let’s try and make the shoe tighter with this particular lacing style:
- Start normally in the cross-cross fashion
- Skip an eyelet (on both sides) but continue to thread in a criss-cross (should be a bigger ‘X’ midfoot.
- Continue the normal criss-cross technique.
- Tie laces as usual
Suffer from a wider forefoot?
You’re likely to be suffering from blisters or sore toes from a narrow toe-box, right? Well, this is how to create more room for your wider forefoot. Remember to consider the wide-foot option of running shoes if this is a common complaint for you – but I get it, model to model, each shoe has varying toe-box widths, so this is how to help:
- Start lacing up by using the eyelets on the same sides (left lace in left eyelet, right in right eyelet)
- From the midfoot onwards, use the normal cross-cross pattern
- Tie as usual
Do you have overall, generally wide feet?
We can loosen the shoe entirely without fear of the shoe slipping off or tripping over loose laces. By easing the pressure of the shoe via laces, we can create a much more comfortable experience for you. Here’s how:
- Start lacing up with the normal criss-cross pattern
- Then thread the laces in every other eyelet in the same cross pattern (looks like giant ‘X’s over the rest of your shoe
- Tie as normal
NOTE: Please note that although these lacing techniques can help alleviate a lot of issues, you still need to ensure the shoe, sock and lace combo is the correct fit for you and your running goals.
Looking to try these new techniques on a new pair of running shoes? Find the best rated for 2022!