Two Magical Lacing Tricks That’ll Transform Your Running Shoes in Seconds

Image: Mateo Rojas

You probably thought you had mastered that whole shoe tying thing back in kindergarten, but there’s more than one way to tighten those kicks. Back in September, Big Peach Running Co.‘s Karen Kay shared the nine biggest mistakes people make when choosing their running shoes. Now the footwear expert is back to reveal  lacing tricks that’ll help with two common issues: dealing with high insteps and moving around in your shoe despite wearing the correct size.

Your running shoes are going to be as much as a size and a half larger than your dress shoes. That extra room lets your foot flex and allows for the foot swelling that happens during a run, but it can also make you feel a bit lost in the shoe. Karen Kay explains: “Especially when you’re in a bigger size, your perception — or what we call proprioception — of how it feels to your body is out of your comfort zone. You feel like you’re in this ginormous shoe.” The fix is not to just lace things tighter. Doing that can cut off circulation, causing your feet to go numb during a run as they expand. Instead, try Magical Lacing Trick #1. We’ll call it the Loop o’ Snugness and it is especially useful for women. Says Kay, “Women tend to have what I call v-shaped feet. They’re wide in the front and very narrow in the back, so to get that proper fit in the toe box, you may have more room than you need in the heel, and your heel bobs up and down and causes blisters. We don’t like blisters.” Here’s how it works:

When most people lace up, they ignore the very tippy-top hole. You know, this poor neglected fella:


But you’re gonna need him to perform the Loop o’ Snugness. Lace up as you normally would, but when you get to the top, take the lace on the same side and go into that hole, leaving a little loop there.


Then, take the lace from the opposite side, thread it through the loop, and tie as usual. “When you tighten this up,” says Kay, “you’ll feel it grab your heel. You can still keep it relatively loose and comfortable everywhere else. You give that a yank and suddenly your foot feels really secure in the shoe. This is the best magic trick I know.


For our next trick, we shall overcome the dreaded high instep! Kay explains: “A lot of people whose feet go numb, it’s because their instep is very high. You can feel a big bone there in some cases. Some people just have a foot that’s high volume, tall. So what you want to do is free up that area so there’s no pressure causing the foot to go numb. This lacing secret is awesome. It doesn’t look pretty. But I tell everybody this: There’s no rule that says you have to lace up your running shoes the way your mama taught you. As long as they’re laced, that’s all that really matters. Here’s the magic way to bypass that high-volume foot or high instep or bone that sticks up.” It’s as elementary as it is effective: Lace as you normally would, but when you get to the hurt-y bit, lace around it rather than over it. Simply put the lace into the next highest eyelet on the same side instead of crossing over, then continue to lace as usual. It’ll look like so…


Kay says, “Now there’s a place for that foot to go, and you just lace it to wherever the foot goes. In most cases, if you lace it this way, you’re gonna need two lace tricks for the price of one. But this thing has relieved more foot pressure than anything. It’s magic. [What you see above] is the double-whammy. I am now not going to have any foot pain but I’m still gonna be locked in my shoe.”

Ta-daaaa! Happy running!