Here are five ways to lace your running shoes and relieve that nagging foot pain… by Susan Rinkunas
You went to a running specialty store, tested out several models, and bought a pair that felt great. So why are your new running shoes rubbing you the wrong way? Even if you are fitted with a pair that suits your arch type and weekly mileage, your feet may have characteristics that make the seemingly perfect shoe less than comfortable over the long haul. Luckily, the solution could be as easy as relacing your shoes, says Richard Bouché, D.P.M., of the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, who provided the techniques below. “Before you get a new shoe, try adjusting the lacing to enhance the fit,” Bouché says. “It’s a small change that can make a big difference.”
PROBLEM: “MY SHOE RUBS ONE SPOT ON THE TOP OF MY FOOT.”
Solution: Eliminate pressure on a “hot spot” by lacing around it, not directly over it.
Place a lipstick smear on your hot spot. Slide your bare foot into your shoe and take it out. The mark on the underside of the tongue tells you which set(s) of eyelets to skip. Lace your shoe until you reach the eyelet before the spot. Take the lace back under and pull it up through the next eyelet on the same side. Take the lace across and continue to lace. Repeat this on the other side. You’ll have an empty spot on the tongue where no laces cross it, which should eliminate your pressure point.
PROBLEM: “MY BIG TOENAIL TURNED BLACK.”
Solution: Lift the upper material above your big toe up and off it.
Thread one end of the lace through the eyelet next to your big toe. Pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side, bringing the lace through to the outside. Leave just enough slack at the top to tie a bow. Take the remaining portion of the lace straight across toward the outside of the shoe and then diagonally up toward the inside of the shoe. Repeat until all of the eyelets are laced. When you tug on the outside lace, it will pull the material above your big toe up and off your nail.
PROBLEM: “MY SHOE IS TOO TIGHT ALONG THE TOP OF MY FOOT.”
Solution: Use parallel lacing to secure your foot without putting pressure on the top.
Lace the first two eyelets on the big-toe side of the tongue (not the first eyelet on either side of the tongue like you normally would). Bring the lace from the first eyelet straight across to the first eyelet on the other side of the tongue and push it through. Pull it straight up the side, skipping one eyelet, and thread it through the third eyelet. Pull it straight across the tongue, and push it through the third eyelet on the opposite side. Repeat until all eyelets are laced and tied.
PROBLEM: “MY TOES FEEL CRAMPED.”
Solution: Reduce forefoot constriction by using four shoelaces instead of two.
Remove the laces and measure them. Buy two sets (four laces) half that length. On both shoes, use one lace for the bottom three eyelets and a second lace for the upper three eyelets. The end result will be two bows on each shoe, allowing you to tie the bottom laces looser to accommodate your wider forefoot.
PROBLEM: “MY HEEL SLIDES UP AND DOWN.”
Solution: Create a more secure fit around the ankle without tightening the entire shoe.
Technique: Lace as normal until one eyelet remains on each side. Draw the lace straight up on the outside of the shoe and bring it through the last eyelet. This will create a loop. Repeat on the other side. Cross each lace over the tongue, thread it through the opposite loop, and tie. The loops help to cinch in the material around your ankle to prevent your heel from slipping without making the rest of your shoe any tighter.