A little too loose? Not quite snug? Learn the right way to tie running shoes to keep your feet securely locked in while you put down miles.
Thought the art of tying knots was just for sailors and hobbyists? Think again. As it turns out, learning how to lace running shoes (the proper way!) can make a ton of difference when it comes to scoring the perfect fit. And let’s face it—running in comfy shoes makes it that much easier to get up and get out on days when running motivation is a little low.
Once you get heel lock lacing down, loose rear foot regions and frustrating slippage will turn into problems of the past. Whether you need to learn a runners knot for a loose heel or want to take some tension out of your laces to accommodate a high foot volume, we can help. Read on for everything you need to know about lacing running shoes; you might just be able to salvage those sneakers you thought were stretched beyond repair!
What is a runner’s knot?
Ever notice the two extra eyelets at the top of your running shoes? Yeah, they’re not for nothing. You can use each extra hole to create a runner’s knot, sometimes known as a runner’s tie, runner’s loop, or simply lock lacing. Heel lock lacing helps prevent heel slippage, which can be incredibly frustrating and distracting. You’re gaining momentum, building grace, all of a sudden your heel starts sliding around the back collar, and soon all you can think about is making micro-readjustments on almost every foot fall. Or maybe your shoe fits you perfectly… except not during descents, in which case your heel slides down and forces your toes to slam into the front of the toe box. Again, and again, with every repeated landing. Yeah—not our version of a fun time.
Luckily, this is totally preventable! Lacing running shoes with a runner’s knot helps ensure your best fit by keeping your heel firmly locked in place with a super snug fit, protecting against not only heel slippage, but also blisters caused by friction and irritation. It keeps the heel area nice and tight without constricting the rest of the shoe, meaning you can finally say bye to those black toe nails. To perform heel lock lacing on running shoes:
- Begin with the crisscross method from the bottom up, but stop before the final eyelet.
- Take the left lace of each shoe and use it to create a loop in the top-left eyelet.
- Repeat the same process with the right laces and top-right eyelets so that each shoe has both a left and right loop on the outer, upper, eyelets.
- Crisscross the remaining laces and insert them through the loops.
- Pull tightly to create the actual “lace lock” and then tie a balanced knot to keep the laces in place.
Heel lock lacing might take a bit of trial and error until you find the perfect balance between too-tight and too-loose, but with a couple tries, you can enjoy a much comfier ride.
Techniques to lace running shoes
Heel lock lacing and runner’s knots aren’t the only strategies you can try to secure a better fit; whether you have high or low insteps, there are a few different ways you can make small tweaks to your laces to better accommodate your unique foot shape.
Lacing running shoes for high insteps or high-volume feet
If the top of your foot falls asleep or gets irritated, you probably have a high instep. Your shoe isn’t providing your foot with the volume it needs. This lacing pattern will create the extra room you need for a less irritating fit.
If you need to alleviate pressure points on the tops of your feet, you can also try window lacing (AKA “box lacing”), in which you skip an eyelet to reduce tension across tight areas. Just unlace your running shoes down to the eyelet that’s giving you grief and retie them, skipping over the problem area.
Lacing running shoes for narrow or low-volume feet
If your foot slides around too much in your shoe and tightening the laces doesn’t help, just follow this lacing pattern. This lace lock system will reduce excess volume in your shoe for a more secure fit.
Tips for the best running shoe fit
Of course, heel lock lacing and knot-tying prowess are no fair substitutes for a pair of properly fitting running shoes! If you’ve outworn your current threads a need some new running shoe laces, be sure to get a similar shape (oval or flat) as your originals and use the lacing method best suited to your feet. If you can’t dial in a comfy ride—free of pain and irritation—it might be time to ditch your current trainers in favor of a better-fitting pair.
- Choose the right pair. If you’re not sure how to choose running shoes based on your ideal cushion level are pronation style, be sure to read up on it. Learning about your target underfoot sensation and arch type can help narrow down your selection, as well as solve any pain you might have from overpronation.
- Know the right fit. Are you sure you know how running shoes should fit? Enough room up top for your toes to play the piano, if they could, with a snug wrap around the midsole? If you don’t know the right size in length or width you should be shopping for, you could miss the mark altogether, and heel lock lacing won’t even matter.
- Wear insoles. Runners who could use a little more arch support in their trainers might be able to purchase orthotic insoles for a more supportive fit without shelling out the big bucks investing in an all-new pair of trainers.
If you’re still struggling with finding the right running shoe or don’t what to deal with the hassle of knot-tying and heel lock lacing, enlist the help of Road Runner Sports 3D Perfect Fit System! We’ll fetch you a few suggestions based on your unique needs so you can start to enjoy running in a shoe that feels tailor-made just for you.