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Are You Tying Your Boot Laces Correctly?

23 April 2021
Are You Tying Your Boot Laces Correctly?

Image credit: Joanna Nix-Walkup/Unsplash

When out hiking our feet are under a lot of pressure to perform, we stick on a pair of walking boots or shoes and hope for the best as we set off on our merry way.

But it’s important to remember that if they aren’t tied properly, they won’t do a very good job at protecting your feet. Equally, feet can often change shape over time so if your normally comfortable boots are causing a niggling pain mid-walk there are ways you can tie your boot laces that might help as a stop-gap until you get a new, better fitting pair.

Firstly, when lacing your boots it’s important to keep your foot on a surface with your foot and ankle at 90°, ideally, you’ll be sat down with your foot square to the floor but in the absence of a seat, you may have to lift your foot to rest on a flat surface. Keep the laces evenly taught all the way down to the toes. If the laces aren’t evenly taught throughout they’ll eventually become loose all over which will reduce the support they offer and potentially leave you with slippage and blisters no matter how you tie them.

To help you achieve the most comfort with properly tied laces we have highlighted a number of ways you can alter the way you tie your laces to help resolve common issues.

Surgeon’s Knot

Helps to prevent: heel slippage

Surgeons knot lacing

This is perfect if you find you are getting blisters on the back of your heels or the bottoms of your feet when hiking, or if you notice your heel slipping inside your boot before you set off.

Creating extra friction with a double overhand knot below the first eyelet hook helps to keep the tension in the laces below while you finish the surgeon's knot with another (double or single) overhand knot after hooking the laces on the eyelets.

This will help to lock your heel snugly into the back of the boot reducing any movement of your foot within your boot.

Window Lacing

Helps to prevent: pressure on top of the foot

window lacing

A great remedy for those who feel too much pressure on top of the foot, this might be due to a high volume foot or as a result of an injury in that area.

While it is simple, it is effective in reducing unwanted pressure without reducing the support offered by the boot. It can be used on any one of the lower cross-sections of lacing so try different ones to find the best solution for you.

Toe-Relief Lacing

Helps to prevent: pressure across the toe box

toe relief lacing

As we get older our feet are likely to change slightly; ligaments and tendons become a little more lax and we may develop common deformities such as bunions or hammertoes.

If you find your trusty boots have started causing pressure across the toe area you can relieve that pressure by starting your laces at the second eyelet. This will ensure you still get the support you require from the boots but allows for a little more width across the toebox.

Ankle-Relief Lacing

Helps to prevent: pressure around the ankle bones (Malleolus)

ankle relief lacing

For those who have prominent ankle bones, boots can cause considerable discomfort.

By catching the top hook eyelets first and then working your way down, to secure the laces directly opposite the heel, you redirect the pressure of the laces so that it doesn’t sit directly across the two protruding points.

Instead, the pressure is angled slightly downwards and will maintain ankle support while also contributing to keeping the heel locked into the back of the boot.

About the Author:

Charlotte Fish - Outdoor Expert

Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors in her early teens and has never looked back since. Her pursuit of outdoor activities has taken her all over the world but she truly believes there is no place like home.

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