Learning to tie shoe laces is often one of the first skills we are taught as a child and is ingrained in many of us as an automatic process we do on a daily basis, yet often entirely depending on the size and shape of the foot a different lacing technique may be required, especially when it comes to walking footwear. At Webtogs.com Gear Guru we know from experience that each individual person has different sized and shaped feet and even with premium technical footwear, if laced incorrectly you may find pressure, slippage and strain develop as you walk.
As everyone requires a different lacing technique that depends on the individual foot we have put together a guide on How to lace up a Hiking Boot.
Small & low volume feet with a Low or no arch
If you have low volume feet and little to no arch (flat footed) it is best to utilise lacing techniques that places pressure and tension on the top of the foot and around the ankle zone and collar. If you have a higher volume of foot or high arch these methods can add uncomfortable pressure and even restrict the circulation so may not be suitable.
By using a Double Overhand Knot you have the advantage of it holding tension wherever needed so if you have a low arch tie one of these by crossing the laces underneath for three times as you begin and pull it tight thus creating a ‘lock’. You can create different areas that have varying levels of tension so for example it can lock off from above the ankle so you can tightened that area more, or alternatively the forefoot and not the ankle zone and even around the top of the collar.
So as a recommended Hiking Boot Lacing technique use the Double overhand knot to start with around the top of the foot around the ankle (above the tongue) so that the lace below won’t move and allows for movement in the forefoot and base area of the boot and remains comfortable. This will also help to secure the ankle to the rear section to avoid forward slippage if there is too much room in the toe box, or even too little which can be secured by a second double-overhand knot around the collar.
After either option if you have a speed or quick lacing system on your footwear this may become tricky so rather than crossing the laces as you normally would, feed them through the eyelets/hooks on both sides so in effect they have been ‘skipped’ then at the top, cross the laces over and thread them beneath the lace in place on either side and pull tight. This will tighten the top and bottom of both double overhand knots to a central point and you should notice this secure the ankle area and prevent your foot from moving around.
Finally with the remaining free length of boot lace, do another second overhand knot, pull tight for more tension, then tie a regular knot as you normally would, tighten again and finish with a double knot to secure it all into place. This should maintain the tension on the lacing on your hiking boot throughout a walk.
Large & high volume feet with a higher arch
You may find if you have a higher arch, or larger ‘volume’ feet that hiking boots may be too narrow and create too much pressure, especially around the top of the foot, or after a long hike or walk your feet may swell and have the same issue so there is a different lacing technique that may help.
Thread the laces as normal through the first two eyelets then for on average the next three (depends on the size of the area that you feel pressure), run the laces straight through in the same way as with speed lace eyelets as mentioned above. Create a double overhand knot around the top of the foot near the ankle area and finish with the same technique as the last step for smaller volume feet or however you prefer to normally tie a boot lace. This technique will allow for plenty of movement inside the footbed, will greatly reduce any pressure yet fit securely.
Alternatively the simple method of parallel lacing has also been found to lessen pressure across the top of the foot, particularly when breaking in a new pair of boots or shoes for the first time before trying out a more secure method of lacing.
Should you have a broken eyelet before you can affect a repair or replace your boots, there is a method that is useful until you can change into another pair. The lacing method is basically to skip the broken eyelet(s) by creating a ‘window’ like a square/rectangle shape by feeding through the surrounding eyelets and locking it off with a surgeons knot before continuing with your chosen lacing method.
Please be aware that by skipping any eyelets and trying out different lacing techniques may not always work and can lessen the ability to secure a boot around your foot so try different techniques until you find the one that works best for you. Subtle variations of these techniques listed may also work for better as well.