The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Shoelaces! Lacing Your Shoes For Your Best Run

Posted by on Thursday, July 5th, 2012

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I knew the people were looking at me. I grimly turned my eyes away, hoping that if I didn’t look at them they wouldn’t say anything. They were forward types, though, and intent on saving me from myself. They were coming down the hill and I was determinedly running up the steep slope. As we got close enough to pass each other, they said it:

“Hey! Your shoelace is untied!”

Yes, I knew it. That actually was the third time someone had broken the news to me (it’s a pretty long hill), which wasn’t necessary. I was very aware of the fact that my shoe was loose, the lace slapping on the pavement and threatening to tangle around my feet and trip me. I just didn’t want to stop until I got to the top of the hill (crazy, right? no, just runner mentality). When I got there, I quickly tied my lace and set off, but soon it had come untied again.

It seems like my laces have been coming untied a lot lately; maybe they are wearing out and becoming slick, or maybe I’ve just been in a hurry and lazy. Whichever it is, it’s annoying and dangerous–and I’m not the only one this happens to. I see people pulling over all the time to retie their shoes. And what if you’re in a race? Having to stop to tie your laces is an incredible momentum killer, and if you’re in a marathon, stopping for even those few seconds to deal with your shoes may be just enough to make you feel like you can’t start again.

So yes, today we will learn about something you probably haven’t thought much about since the days when you were struggling with how to use a knife and fork and how to read a picture book: tying your shoelaces.

If you’re simply looking for the best way to tie your shoelaces and keep them tied, then the gold standard seems to be Ian Fieggen’s method. Basically, this means to lace your shoes as normal until you get to the very end where you make the bow: instead of crossing one loop under the other once, do it twice. The best way to understand this is to look at Ian’s diagram for securely lacing your shoes. Ian also has 37–yes, 37–ways to tie shoelaces at his website.

Another keep-your-laces-laced evangelist is Terry Moore, who talked about how to tie shoelaces in a TED talk. You can watch his video here.

(I should note here that if you, like me, are purely on automatic pilot when you tie your shoelaces, then trying to tie them in a new way can result in some extremely clumsy lacing debacles. I’m still stumbling through Moore’s method.)

There’s more than just the art of keeping your shoes laced, though. People can actually injure the tender nerves on the top of their feet by lacing too tightly, or aggravate other foot injuries by lacing too tightly. Runners World has a great series of videos for how to tie your laces to help protect existing injuries or avoid others. Learn how to keep your laces away from your black toenail, alleviate top of foot pain, give your cramped toes some space, and other problems by checking out their videos here. Be careful about trying to solve your problems with just shoelaces, though–pain on the top of your feet can mean more serious injuries like extensor tendonitis or a stress fracture. If pain lingers, a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your pain.

Livestrong also has instructions for lacing your shoes according to your foot type. Here are some pictures to help guide you.

So now you know all about laces and what an important role they can play in making your feet feel great. If lacing doesn’t help and you have any kind of foot or ankle pain or problems, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.

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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.