How to Lace Your Shoes to Fit Right

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How to Lace Your Shoes to Fit Right

Lacing Your Shoes
Lacing Your Shoes. PeopleImages.com/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Shoe lacing techniques can help with shoe fit problems. You may think the shoes are the problem, but often you can change how you lace them and get a better fit.  Learn how to lace your shoes to correct common problems with a narrow heel, wide instep, narrow foot and heel slippage.

Changing your lacing pattern will affect the fit of the shoe, so use caution after making a change and test it over shorter distances.

Shoe Lacing Solutions

  • Lacing to Prevent Heel Slippage - Making a Lace Lock
  • Lacing for a Narrow Foot
  • Lacing for a Wide Foot and High Instep
  • Lacing for a Narrow Heel and Wide Forefoot

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Lacing to Prevent Heel Slippage

Shoelacing technique to avoid heel slippage
Shoelacing technique to avoid heel slippage. Wendy Bumgardner ©

To keep your heel in the heel cup of the shoe, lace your shoes to form a "lace lock" at the top of your shoe.

This will allow you to tie the shoe tightly at the top without narrowing the fit for the rest of the shoe.

  • Lace up from the bottom of the next to last eyelet.
  • Then lace over and down through the top eyelet on the same side to form a "bunny ear."
  • Do the same for the other side.
  • Now lace through the opposite "bunny ear" you formed between those two eyelets.
  • Now when you tie your shoe, you can get a good tight fit at the ankle but keep it loose over the rest of the top of the foot.

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Lacing for a Narrow Foot

Shoelacing Technique for a Narrow Foot
Shoelacing Technique for a Narrow Foot. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Use this lacing pattern for a narrow foot. If your shoe has two sets of eyelets on each side, lace through the ones farthest from the tongue. This will draw the two sides of the shoe together more snugly.

If that is not enough, then use the "lace lock" as with the heel slippage, only between the second and third eyelet. This keeps the laces from loosening.

  • Lace down through the next eyelet on the same side to form a "bunny ear."
  • Do the same for the other side.
  • Now lace through the opposite "bunny ear" you formed between those two eyelets.
  • Continue lacing diagonally. You will have formed a lace lock.

Changing your lacing pattern will affect the fit of the shoe, so use caution after making a change and test it over shorter distances.

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Shoe Lacing for a Wide Foot and High Instep

Shoelacing Technique for Wide Foot
Shoelacing Technique for Wide Foot. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Use this lacing pattern for a wide foot and a high instep. If the shoe has two sets of eyelets on each side, lace through the set closest to the tongue.

For more room, use the over and under technique pictured. This will give space for expansion, and tightening the laces won't overly tighten the fit.

  • From the bottom, lace up through the first eyelets.
  • Cross the laces over and lace down through the second eyelets.
  • Don't cross over, lace up through the third set of eyelets.
  • Cross over and lace down through the fourth set of eyelets.
  • Don't cross over, lace up through the fifth set of eyelets
  • Cross over and lace up through the sixth set of eyelets.
  • Continue until you have used all of the eyelets you wish to use, then tie your bow.

Changing your lacing pattern will affect the fit of the shoe, so use caution after making a change and test it over shorter distances.

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Lacing for a Narrow Heel and Wide Forefoot

Two Shoelacing Techniques for Narrow Heel and Wide Forefoot
Two Shoelacing Techniques for Narrow Heel and Wide Forefoot. Wendy Bumgardner ©

If you have a narrow heel and a wide forefoot, you are probably always frustrated. When the heel fits, the forefoot is too narrow, if the forefoot fits, the heel slips around.

Solution 1: Use two sets of laces. You should buy two shorter laces and lace the bottom 3 eyelets with one lace and the top eyelets with another lace. Then you will be able to adjust the width and tension for each set of laces. The drawback is that you have two chances now of having a "blowout" on each foot. You can probably do a permanent knot for the lower set of laces, or use Ian's Knot or a lacekeeper solution to keep them tied:

Solution 2: Use a combination of the wide forefoot over-and-under technique and the narrow heel lace lock technique.

  • From the bottom, lace up through the first eyelets.
  • Cross the laces over and lace down through the second eyelets.
  • Don't cross over, lace up through the third set of eyelets.
  • Cross over and lace down through the fourth set of eyelets.
  • Don't cross over, lace up through the fifth set of eyelets
  • Cross over and lace up through the sixth set of eyelets.
  • Don't cross over, lace down through the seventh set of eyelets, forming a "bunny ear"
  • Now lace through the opposite "bunny ear" you formed between those two eyelets.
  • Now when you tie your shoe, you can get a good tight fit at the ankle but keep it loose over the rest of the top of the foot.

Changing your lacing pattern will affect the fit of the shoe, so use caution after making a change and test it over shorter distances.

Sources:

1. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society Lacing Techniques for Proper Shoe Fit.
2. New Balance Shoes: Product Insert - Lacing for Better Fit.

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