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Shoelace techniques that can reduce foot pain

You wear your shoes for hours on end, if not for the entire day. We all know how shoes are traditionally tied, but have you ever considered tying them in a different way?

Picture this scenario: you’ve chosen the right shoe, done the strengthening and rehab exercises, and still experience pain. Rather than overhauling your shoes, or being frustrated with your strength exercises not working, there may be a simple solution. The culprit may be pressure on various parts of your foot, which can cause foot pain.

For a greater explanation, read this excerpt from Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard University. “If you’re one of them [who experiences foot pain], you might want to try a simple solution that may bring relief — adjusting your shoelaces, especially on your athletic shoes. Today’s mass-produced shoes often don’t accommodate the quirks of individual feet, which may be wide or narrow or have arches that are high or low. Retying your shoes can make adjustments for those differences, and in some cases, ease your pain.”

Simply tying your shoelaces in a specific way could be the solution. Below, we break down various methods beyond the basic shoelace techniques.

For a heel lock

This shoelace technique reduces slippage and blisters around the heel. Through the locking mechanism around the top of the foot, this trick ensures a snug fit around the circumference of the shoe. However, it can also put additional stress on the Achilles tendon so beware of how tight you keep your shoelaces.

The key here is to use the extra eyelet at the top of the shoe. Once you’ve weaved your shoelaces through the second to last eyelet, insert the shoelace into the final eyelet on the same side. Then, extend that same lace across and through the loop you’ve made on the opposite side. This method locks your heel into place and keeps your shoe snug all around the top of the shoe.

For a heel lock, option two

Rather than using all eyelets possible, this technique is similar to the above. The one exception is that you skip the second to last eyelet and go straight to the heel lock as outlined above.

For toe pain

Shoelace techniques 2
The diagonal lacing lifts the toe box and follows the natural curvature of your foot.

This shoelace technique reduces pressure on your toes, and can lessen the likelihood of pesky black toenails. The diagonal set up ensures a snug fit across the top of your feet. Plus, it alleviates tightness within the toebox. Start off by taking one end of the shoelace and feeding it through the bottom eyelet, and then work your way back up the shoe. Once you get to the top, you then tie the laces as you normally would, using the extra lace from the top of the diagonal, and the end you just weaved through.

For a high arch

Shoelace techniques
Notice the gap in the middle of the tongue to reduce pressure above a high arch.

This cross-over lacing trick opens up some area on the top side of the foot above the arch. By using the bottom and top eyelets while skipping the middle, the foot stays snug in place while offering relief above your arch. Weave your laces as you normally would, but skip a row of eyelets to leave a gap. This gap is the area of relief.

For wide feet

If you’re someone with wider feet who can never seem to find a shoe that’s just the right fit, this technique might be just for you. To use this trick, start from the beginning, and weave your laces through the first eyelet as you usually would. Then, skip an eyelet each row, and tie normally at the top.

This method loosens the entire shoe and offers relief alongside the outer edges of your feet.

For other shoelace techniques and methods, as well as video tutorials, visit RunRepeat.com. For additional shoelace techniques, tricks and tips, check out this article on Self and this piece at On Running.

Shoe lacing techniques should only be used for experimental purposes and may not provide a long-term solution to your foot problems. If pain persists, identify the cause of your foot pain or discomfort and get immediate care by visiting our Toronto foot clinic. Book your appointment today.

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You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).