Take a quick glance down at your shoes. I’d be willing to bet you have the laces criss-crossed all the way up to the top eyelet, just like you bought them in the store. What would you think if I said you were wearing your shoes wrong for your entire life? What if I said your shoes can fit better with the right lacing even when active… whether that be hiking, biking, running, or just plain walking? The truth is the only reason shoes are laced the way they are in the stores is because it is neat, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. There is an unlimited number of ways to lace your shoes, but here are a few of the most common lacing techniques of my clients. I’ve included lacing diagrams and a picture of an actual shoe so you can see what each lacing should look like.
You know when the toe box of your shoe fits great, but your heel slips a little when you walk or run? Or if you are a runner, jogger or fast walker, and you’ve been annoyed by your shoe laces loosening at some time or another. Try a “heel lock” lacing technique below, to avoid both of these issues. When you pull the laces tight, pull them out instead of up; this will lock the heel in place. No more loose laces or sliding heels for you!
If your heel slipping isn’t your problem, but are having trouble with your laces being too tight on the arch of your foot, a Gap lacing may give you some relief. Some people with high arches can’t tie their shoe tight because it puts too much pressure on the arch and can cause the foot to go numb. Gap lacing gives the relief where the pain is but keeps the shoe tight everywhere else. Once finished, the shoe should have crosses on the bottom, a gap where your shoe creates a pain point somewhere in the center and then crossed up at the top as well. The diagram below will give you a guide as to how it should look.
Lastly, as summer is winding down, it’s a great time to go hiking or biking, but no one wants to worry about laces getting caught in their bike pedal. And if you tie them off to the side they will eventually fall back to the center. Instead try lacing the shoes so both strings end on the outside of your shoe. The diagrams below shows what a bike & hike lacing looks like.
Bike & Hike Lacing
These three techniques are very practical and can be used in everyday life or specified to the sport or activity you are participating in. Ian Fieggen was the inspiration for the lacing types I use, but he has many more techniques on his website www.fieggen.com for many different purposes.
Now that you have been enlightened, get outside and try these new techniques yourself! Grab your running shoes and heel lock ‘em up or get out the bike and tie those laces off to the side and hit the road!