The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Podiatrist Secrets: How To Tie Your Shoes To Prevent Foot Injuries

Posted by on Friday, April 10th, 2015


You may be thinking, “How to tie my shoes? But I learned this as a child!” And while that is technically correct, you probably didn’t learn that there are different ways to tie them to cater to specific foot needs. The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City is a place you can go for useful information to help prevent ankle and foot injuries and improve sports performance. An often-overlooked aspect of foot and ankle health is knowing how to properly lace your shoes. How many times have you pulled a new pair of shoes out of the box, slipped them on your feet, and hit the pavement? Our board-certified podiatrists give you their best secrets for avoiding everything from top-of-the-foot pain and heel blisters, to sore arches and sprained ankles.

shoe lacing
Learn how to lace your shoes for better foot comfort and injury prevention. Image Source:

Problem Area: Top of the Foot

Does the top of your foot regularly ache? Is there a “hot spot” of abrasion that leads to redness and pain after a workout? This is a common complaint of athletes with particularly high arches. The solution is to skip the two middle holes in your lacing by looping vertically along the sides of the shoe (rather than over top your foot), and lacing around the problem area. You won’t lose much stability by skipping just two holes, but will avoid extra pressure on that sensitive spot.

Problem Area: Toes

Do your toes feel squished? Is it hard to wiggle them? Does your toenail sometimes cut into the adjacent toe? It may not be that your shoe style is too narrow, but rather that your laces are too tight. You can try the technique of tying two bows; for this you’ll need two laces. Start at the bottom with the first lace and tie your first bow in the middle. Then begin with the next lace in the middle of the shoe, and tie a bow at the top. That way, you can leave the bottom as loose as you’d like, without sacrificing stability throughout the entire shoe. The zig-zag lacing method is also good if your big toenail has been damaged running.

Problem Area: Heel

Does your heel slip up and down, causing abrasion, calluses, and blisters? Do your shoes wear out in the heels first? Runners, rock climbers, and speed skaters often use the “lock lacing” method to prevent slippage during high-intensity sports. We also recommend this method if you want extra ankle support to prevent a sprain.

Problem Area: Arch

Does your bottom arch ache and feel lacking in stability, while the top of your foot hurts from oppressively-tight lacing? You may have flatter feet than the average person. Improve arch support by “straight bar” lacing back and forth across the foot, rather than the standard “criss-cross” style lacing. See a tutorial on how to do it here.

Get Help With Your Shoes & Foot Injuries From NYC Podiatrists!

Helping New Yorkers find the proper fit, style, and type of shoe for their individual feet is one of the many things we do at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. We believe much injury prevention lies in maintaining adequate footwear. If necessary, we can also fit you with 3-D custom-printed orthotics to make your shoes more comfortable, and stop nagging pain that is limiting your activities. We treat all manners of foot problems, from blisters, corns, and ulcers, to bunions, fractures, and generalized foot pain. Stop by our Manhattan or White Plains offices to get an accurate diagnosis and treat the root cause of your mobility issues–or even just to get some friendly advice before buying your next pair of shoes!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.