I’ve known for ages that people lace up their shoes in different ways, but always figured they were laced up by the most convenient way, or the way that looks most attractive, but the way you lace up your shoes can actually have a significant impact on the comfort of your shoes, and if you have certain foot features or are running into a particular problem with your shoes, it can sometimes be fixed by simply tying your shoes differently.
Discussed in this article is the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society recommended technique for minimizing heel slip.
First, thread the left lace down through the top-left eyelet. Then form a loop between the top and second eyelets.
Next, thread the right lace down through the top-right eyelet. This forms a loop between the top and second eyelets.
Finally, cross the laces by threading each lace through its opposite loop. Pull the laces tight and tie normally, securing the lace lock to complete.
The reason this method minimizes heel slip is because when you thread the laces through the loops before tying, you create an extra strong barrier at the top of the laces holding the shoe firmer to the foot as close as possible to the heel, thereby minimizing the give in the lace area that happens as you walk.
When you minimize this give in the lace area, while you are walking or running, the foot cannot push as deep into the laces allowing room for the heels to slip. As you know, the body uses counter forces to cause movement. When we walk, we push against the ground to create the force necessary for walking. When we are walking forward, our foot pushes against the ground with the ball of our foot and toes and our heel wants to lift to create motion. As it wants to lift, the top of the foot pushes into the lace area. The purpose of the laces is to resist against this push so that the shoe and by foot become effectively one object. As your laces loosen, your shoe and foot become separated. Consequently, instead of your foot and shoe pushing against the ground together (energy of your foot being transferred through the shoe to the ground), your foot pushes against the shoe, and pushes itself away from the shoe, thus causing your heel to slip out.
To minimize this effect, we want the best fitting shoes possible, and we want to have a tight cinch on our laces. Both of these remedies create a better fit between our foot and our shoes, making them more as one, allowing better transfer of energy from our foot, through our shoe, to the ground.
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