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How To Tie Your Shoes

By Emily Cooley

Maybe you learned how to tie your shoes in kindergarten, but you ever tie your running shoes and they don’t feel quite right? A bit too tight, or loose? There may be another way to lace up your kicks to make your runs more comfortable.

Running Coach Lisa Menninger wisely advised me in my quest for the perfect shoe this: “It should feel like a slipper.” But what if you are fit for a shoe and inserts at Salt Lake Running Company and the shoe feels great but not quite perfect yet? Below are a few different ways you can tie your laces to help better refine the fit of your shoe.

Here are different lacing techniques so you know how to tie your shoes to refine the fit. 

Complaint: “My heel slides out/around.”
Solution: The Heel Lock or The Bunny-Ear Tie.
How to tie your shoes: The heel lock or bunny ear tie

Ever wonder what those extra eyelets in most shoes are for? Well, we can use them in THIS solution. First, laces shoes as usual. Second, thread the lace through the extra eyelet on the same side (see picture #1). Third, thread the lace ends through the opposite sides loop (picture #2). Finally, pull tight and tie laces (picture #3). This should help to lock down that heel and prevent sliding forward or slipping out of the shoe. This is PERFECT also for preventing black toenails while trail running (especially mid-run, if you feel those toes sliding too far forward).

Complaint: “No matter what, I get black toenails!”
Solution: The Up-and-Away Tie.


How to tie your shoes: The-up and-away tie

The general idea with this tie is to pull the upper material of the shoe Up-and-Away (get the name??) from the big toe. First, thread the lace through the eyelet opposite to the big toe and leave a sufficient length to be able to tie your laces later. Thread the longer end of the laces through the eyelet above your big toe (picture #4). Second, continue threading the lace to the opposite sides eyelet (to the right in this case). Third, thread the lace to the next eyelet on the left side, then to the next eyelet on the right, in a zig-zag pattern (picture #5). Finally, continue all the way up the shoe (picture #6)!

Complaint: “It feels too loose across the top of my foot.”
Solution: The Mid-Foot Lock Tie

This is very similar to The Heel Lock Tie but instead of having the lock at the top of the laces, its in the middle. First, lace the shoe normally, until the middle of the eyelets. Then, make a loop on the same side for each end of the lace (picture # 7). Second, thread the ends the laces through the opposite sides loop (picture #8). Pull to the appropriate tightness. Third, continue threading normally up the shoe (picture #9).

How to tie your shoes: The Mid-Foot Lock Tie

Complaint: “It feels too tight across my arch” OR “It feels too tight across my forefoot.”
Solution: The Open-Box Tie

The best time to use this tie is when you need a little bit of extra room in your toe box. People who have a wide foot or don’t like to feel the shoe on the tops of their toes will find this useful! First, thread the laces through the bottom eyelets (the Mizuno Wave Rider has a fabric loop, I thread the laces through that also). I crossed the laces for extra security in the upper. Second, thread the laces up each side however many eyelets you need to feel comfortable (picture #10), then continue lacing up the shoe normally (picture #11). To relieve more pressure across the forefoot, skip the first crossover of the laces at the bottom of the eyelets and just lace up the shoe.

how to tie your shoes: the open-box tie

Complaint: “When I run, the shoe feels too tight all around.”
Solution: Parallel Laces or Quick Laces

Always keep in mind when choosing a shoe that your feet will swell when you’re pounding the pavement. But in case you were diligent but still feel like that shoe is just too much you can purchase Quick Laces (at Salt Lake Running Company, we sell YANKZ) which are elastic laces meant to give a little when you run. The tension is completely determined by you. These are also great for triathlons because they help you slide your shoes on quickly. Another way to combat this is to tie parallel laces. First, thread through the bottom eyelets in towards the shoe so that the laces are pointed inside. Second, and this is slightly tricky to describe, take one lace end and thread out and then directly over across the shoe and in. Now, with the other lace, thread it out two eyelets from where it went in, over, and in. When you’re done, you should have parallel lines across the tongue of your shoe (picture #12). It takes a bit of finesse and forethought to get the laces to be even at the end.

How to tie your shoe: parallel laces of quick laces

Voila! There you have it. Five techniques for how to tie your shoes that will revolutionize your race experience.

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