If you think tying your shoes is something you should stop considering once you've got it down, think again. There are an estimated two trillion different ways in which you can lace up your shoes, and guess what? Not all of them are created equally!
While shoe tying may seem like a trivial discussion, it can actually make a huge difference in your comfort level, especially for runners. In fact, when it comes to running shoes, the way you tie your laces can mean the difference between numb feet and black toenails or a comfortable stride for the entire distance of your course.
When you consider the impact, then, that shoe lacing can have on your feet, it may not surprise you at all the innovation being devoted to this realm. Check out these three new lacing systems, vying to kick aside those good ol' bunny ears for good!
New Lacing Devices to Consider
Quick Shoe Lace
Quick Shoe Lace is so simple, it's genius. Here's the deal: it's an elastic lace, so it can stretch to fit through almost any shoe, and the ends of the lace are designed to fit into a metal clip on cap, so they never need to be tied. No more over, under, around and through. Just stretch, clamp and go is this product's theory. I actually like the idea of this lacing system, since sometimes the spot where laces are knotted is actually the place that ends up pressing too firmly on your feet, causing pain and rubbing. The only caution I would give to users is to watch how tightly you pull the elastic laces through your shoes, as lacing too tightly can cause your feet to go numb in patches, especially over the course of a long run or workout.
Like Quick Shoe Lace, this product is an elastic, no tie shoe lace. Where it differs from the previous product, however, is in its capping system. The cap for expand laces actually has a sliding function, so that your laces can expand to accommodate foot swelling throughout the day.
I love this idea for so many reasons, but most especially for my diabetic patients. Pressure is a big deal for people with diabetes, as it can lead to foot wounds and other problems. With an expandable lacing system, some common shoe pressures could be eliminated, giving diabetics one less concern during their day to day activities!
Hickies is a different model than the previous two systems I'm highlighting. First of all, this brand has done away with the single-lace model. Instead, they've created a bunch of elasticized bands that you can anchor through the eyelet's of any shoe, turning a lace up model into a slip-on as if by magic! Because the individual bands are elastic (are you sensing a theme here yet?), they stretch enough to let you easily slip in and out of your shoes. And if you need another reason to look into these laces? They come in a lot of cool styles--some even featuring glittery Swarovski crystals!
Now that you know all the new, exciting ways to tie your shoes, let's get back to basics. Even if you don't buy a new lacing device, you can re-learn ways to tie your shoes that will minimize discomfort.
Smart Shoe Lacing Techniques for Runners
Sometimes, the solution to your foot pain may be as simple as tying your shoes in a different manner. I have seen so many runners give up on the sport prematurely because of discomfort that could be relieved with some of these simple techniques.
PROBLEM: Your Shoe Rubs the Top of Your Foot
My solution: Re-lace your shoe so that they tie around the sore spot instead of over it.
How do I do that?:
Mark the spot on your foot where you are experiencing discomfort—lipstick or something else that will rub off easily will work well for this. Next, slide your bare foot into your shoe and quickly remove it. Look for the spot where your lipstick rubbed off on the tongue of your shoe. When you go to lace up, proceed as usual until you reach the eyelet just before the marker of the sore spot. Instead of threading through that opening, bring your lace back under, pulling it through the eyelet above the marker on the same side of the shoe; once past the marker, return the lace across the foot and proceed as you usually would. Do this on the other side as well. Hopefully, the empty spot created by this technique will take pressure off your sore foot and make running more comfortable.
PROBLEM: Your Toenail Turned Black
My Solution: Get the material of the shoe up and off of it.
How is that possible?
I know this problem looks really gross, but don’t let it turn you off running—the discomfort of a black toenail can actually be alleviated with special lacing. Just thread one end of your lace through the eyelet next to your big toe. Then pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side of your shoe, pulling it through to the outside. Be sure to leave enough slack at the top to tie a bow. Next, take the rest of your lace straight across toward the outside of the shoe. Keep going until all of your eyelets have been laced. Using this technique will help get the material of the shoe up and off your big toe when you tug on the outside lace.
PROBLEM: Your Toes Are Squished
My Solution: Add a set of laces to minimize constriction.
Will that really work?:
Yes! Start by taking out your original laces and measuring them. Then, buy two sets of laces that are half the length of your original set. On each shoe, use one lace on the bottom half of the eyelets and a second on the top half. While this might look a little crazy, with two bows on each shoe, the technique works because it lets you tie your bottom laces a bit looser, giving those cramped toes some extra wiggle room.
Now that we've reviewed the purchases you can buy, or the techniques you can try, let me remind you of one thing: tied or untied, your shoes should always feel good on your feet. From the moment you slip them on until the moment they come off for the day. And if they don't? Stop in to your podiatrist's office to see what could be causing the problem!