Learning to tie your own shoes is a big accomplishment when you are a child. It can take hours to figure out the loops and knots, and how to move your fingers in the right way. When you finally get it, you are so proud! Now that you are older, you may not realize that how you lace up your running shoes can have an impact when it comes to preventing injury. You might even need to unlearn a habit or two and follow a new lacing technique to keep your feet healthy.
A few years ago, Marco Hagen at the University of Duisberg in Germany conducted a couple of studies on different lacing styles. The first looked at the effect on how quickly your foot pronates and absorbs the impact of the ground when you run, and the second at how lacing affects pressure on the tops of your feet.
Findings indicate that snug lacing is better for your feet. It slows down how quickly your foot pronates, and it also reduces the impact loading rate, meaning you don’t have as much trauma from each stride. Even though some runners thought tighter lacing was a little uncomfortable, it actually ended up causing less pressure on the upper foot bones.
So how do you do it? Start by using all the eyelets—including that seventh pair at the top. Start taking out the slack at the bottom and work your way up the shoe, making sure that the laces are snug, but not painfully tight, all the way up. You could also try “heel lock” lacing, which skips just the sixth eyelets.
Finish it off with a reef knot. If you learned a granny knot (the bows lie up and down the length of the shoe), you may need to change which lace you cross over the other, or loop the lace around the bunny ear in the opposite direction. The goal is a nice flat bow that lies perpendicular across the top of your shoe. Use double knots if your laces come loose while running.
Now you know the right way to tie your running shoes! If you need any other running hints, or develop foot pain, call Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, Ontario, at (705) 444-9929. As an avid runner, Chiropodist Tony Abbott can handle your questions and your foot problems.
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