How to Lace Shoes for Running the Right Way!
We all learned it in kindergarten. “Bunny ears, bunny ears, playing by a tree. Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me. Bunny ears, bunny ears, jumped into the hole, popped out the other side beautiful and bold.” Sure, back when we were in elementary school we all pretty much laced up and tied our shoes the same. Did you know there are many different ways to lace up your running shoes depending on variables? It’s true!
As a runner, think about your feet. Do your shoes feel too snug? Do you have slipping at your heels? Perhaps you get black toenails (or even lose toenails!) regularly. Maybe you find yourself having to stop and adjust your running laces frequently. There are many different ways to lace up your shoes for the best possible fit.
Why So Many Choices?
It’s simple really. Some people experience heel slip when they run. With this, your toes may slide forward. This sliding can lead to bruising, lost toenails and blisters. No-one wants that kind of trouble! Other runners feel painful pressure points on the top of their foot. Nothing wrecks a good run like discomfort with every footfall!
With all of these particular types of feet and only so many sizes of shoes, specialized ways to lace up your shoes help!
✓ Runner’s Loop
If your heel slips around, what you need is to hold the heel in place. To accomplish that you want to lace your shoes in a way that will lock the lace at the top of the shoe.
This is often referred to as a runner’s loop. When you do this, the shoe is secure without making it feel more narrow throughout the rest of the foot.
Step by step:
- Start off as you would normally lace your shoes.
- Keep crisscrossing until you reach the second eyelid from the top
- Do not crisscross here; instead, pull each lace-up on the same side. You insert the lace into the top eyelet on the same side, forming a loop.
- Pull each lace across the shoe and through the loop you just created on the opposite side of the shoe.
- Tighten the loops to securely hold your laces.
- Finish tying shoes normally.
- Here is a great YouTube video from pro-feet sports lab to show the loop.
✓ Window Lacing
What if you have a painful pressure point on the top of your foot? Easy fix! Try window lacing. In window, or box, lacing you simply avoid lacing at the pressure point.
This type of lacing can also compensate for a high in-foot. It gives you extra room in that area!
Step by step:
- In window lacing, you are simply avoiding pressure on the point of discomfort.
- Unlace shoe to just below the pressure point.
- Re-lace up by jumping over the pressure point, to the eyelet above it.
- Finish lacing your shoes as you normally would.
- Eastern Mountain Sports has a great YouTube video to assist! It is a boot not a shoe pictured, but the premise is the same.
✓ Up and Away Tie
Who knew there was such a simple fix to a cramped toe box? Reebok did!
Step by step:
- Pull laces through the bottom. You want 2/3 of lace on one side and 1/3 on the other.
- Grab the shorter end. Pull it across the shoe, and thread through the top eyelet on the opposite side of the shoe. This will form a diagonal lace across the shoe.
- Zigzag back and forth through each eyelet on both sides with the other side of the lace.
- At the top, tie normally.
✓ Two Sets of Laces
Back in the day, we used to use two sets of shoelaces to add a pop of color to our shoes. Today, runners may use two sets of shorter laces to compensate for narrow feet.
Step by step:
- Find two sets of short laces.
- Start from the bottom, lacing normally.
- Tie partway up the shoe.
- Insert second pair of laces.
- Lace normally.
- Tie at top of the shoe.
✓ Shoe Feels Too Tight
This method will evenly distribute the pressure caused by tight laces.
Step by step:
- Begin to lace your shoes as normally.
- Instead of crossing over, go directly to the eyelet above.
- Lace the shoelaces as pictured above in parallel fashion.
- See? No crisscross!
- You will thread the laces by putting the shoelaces under every other eyelet.
- Tie at the top as you normally would.
✓ And Finally, Tying the Shoe
Most of us were taught to tie our shoes using a granny knot. This is one reason our shoes come untied over the day. While running, an untied shoe can be bad. Best case scenario it’s just inconvenient. Worst-case scenario? You lose a shoe while racing, or perhaps even trip and fall.
According to Runner’s World Magazine, “To keep your laces nice and snug, you need to fashion a reef knot, where you tie the starting knot in one direction, and the finishing bow in the other. Reef loops fall gracefully to the left and right sides of the shoe.”
If you have tied your shoes correctly, you can avoid having to stop mid-run to retie.
✓ The Double Knot
Do you want to have to bend over and retie? Of course knot… I mean not.
The double knot is a simple way to prevent having to retie your shoes. Just re-do the loops to further secure your laces.
The upside is they stay tied. The downside is they can be difficult to un-do.
If you have been tying the same way since kindergarten perhaps you should revisit that. Whatever your feet seem to need during and post running, a different way of lacing just might help.
Also, taking the time to tie your shoes correctly could be a real game-changer for you. Who would have thought that how a runner laces and ties their shoes would make such a difference?
- https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/lacing-running-shoes.html, Sport Online Shop ,
- https://runnersconnect.net/how-to-lace-your-running-shoes/, Runners Blog ,
- https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a27009861/how-to-tie-running-shoes/, Runners Website ,