Most of us are thrilled to unbox a new pair of running shoes, and apart from admiring the brand-new spotless laces, we usually don’t pay much attention to them. But did you know that tying your laces differently could enhance your comfort?
Lacing ideas and tips for running shoes
Don’t discard a pair of shoes too quickly because they hurt. If you feel you often have to tolerate pressure points, hot spots, black toenails or other foot issues, tying your laces differently could be the end of your afflictions.
It’s important to remember that if you’re reading up about tying shoelaces, your running shoes may not be the perfect fit to begin with.
Checking for a perfect fit with your running shoes
With shoes laced comfortably, point your index and middle fingers. Hold them together between the shoe’s eyelets, pointing towards your toes. If the eyelets touch your fingers on either side, you’re good to go. However, if you can only fit one finger between the eyelets, your shoe is probably too big in general.
If you can place three or more fingers between the eyelets when the laces are tied, it means you have too much stretch on the shoe fabric, and your feet are too tightly bound.
Try lacing them by skipping one or two cross-over points giving the tongue room to push outward.
Although this method provides more breathing room, it also allows for more wiggle room to the shoe overall, and you should experiment with various lacing techniques – but not on marathon or racing day.
Your attention should first focus on any point where you experience pain.
Most popular lacing techniques for running shoes
You’ll find several methods out there, but for this blog, we’ll focus on the four most general methods: Wide foot, narrow foot, diagonal lacing, and Lydiard lacing. You should experiment with the various techniques and decide what works best for you.
Before we get into the different methods, you can see a visual example of lacing your running shoes below:
This method will create more space in the front of the shoe for wide feet.
Begin at the bottom eyelets, and pull the lace through, leaving equal lengths of lace on either side so that you can see the first thread over the top of the shoe.
Continue to the next pair of eyelets and thread the laces through both eyelets so that the laces are not visible from the top.
Continue, as usual, creating a diagonal ‘X’ pattern crossing the right lace over to a left eyelet and left lace to a right eyelet.
Complete the ‘X’ pattern up to the last eyelets and tie off the laces. This example will create more space up to the third eyelet, but you can make as big a space as you require depending on the number of eyelets.
Do you find your foot sliding around inside your shoe even though it’s tied securely? If this is the case, you’ll need a tighter lacing technique.
Begin at the bottom eyelets, as you would in the above method. But leave equal lengths of lace on either side – lacing top to bottom through the eyelets.
Continue threading the laces through the eyelets in a typical criss-cross pattern up to the middle eyelet.
Leave the middle eyelets ‘empty’ and continue the pattern on the next eyelets, all the way to the top and tie off.
- Diagonal Lacing:
After a long run, bruised big toes or painful toes are all too common for runners. This method minimizes pressure and pain by lifting the shoe’s toe cap and freeing the toes. Remember this description is for the left foot, and you must mirror this technique on the opposite foot.
Thread one end of the lace through the top eyelet on the left of your shoe so there’s still enough lace to tie the shoe. Now, move diagonally down to the eyelet above the big toe and thread through from the inside out so that you can see the lace running diagonally across your foot between the rows of eyelets.
From the bottom eyelet next to your big toe, thread the shoelace over the top of the toe area to the bottom eyelet over the small toe.
Thread the lace across diagonally to the next open eyelet on the big toe side and straight across to the other side through the closest eyelet.
Continue threading in this fashion to the final eyelet and tie off.
- Lydiard Lacing
This lacing style is excellent for increasing blood circulation to your feet by minimizing pressure on a long-distance run.
Begin by threading the lace through the eyelets over the toe area. Lace from underneath the eyelets so that the lace is visible over the top of the shoe. Leave equal lengths on either side of your foot.
Take the LEFT lace through the bottom of the next eyelet up and then straight across to the opposite eyelet.
Take the RIGHT lace and mirror the steps you took for the left lace.
Continue the pattern and run laces through the underside of the eyelets and finish with a standard bow knot.
These are just a few of the best ways you can lace your running shoes. You can continue your research online and experiment with various knotting methods and styles until you find your groove – happy running.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.