When engaged in the majority of sporting activity, stress and pressure radiates from the soles of our feet to the rest of our body. How we lace our running shoes enable us to customise its fit and comfort. Whilst the muscles and bones in your feet are cleverly adapted to absorb shock and maintain stability, ill-fitting footwear can result in imbalance and injury in the long term. Therefore, it is essential to ensure our athletic shoes adapt to the specific structural requirements of the individual. In this following guide, we profile four main foot types and the lacing techniques that are best suited to maximise comfort and wear for optimum athletic performance.

Narrow Heels


For athletes who experience heel slippage due to a narrow heel or wearing orthotics, it is necessary to compensate with a tighter weave at the top of the shoe. By adjusting the lacing to supporting the foot from the top this minimises the slipping movement at the heel and increases stability. It is important to secure the foot and eliminate unwanted heel movement to prevent abrasions, blisters or calluses. The ‘lock lacing’ technique is also recommended for high-intensity sport to increase ankle support.

Method


° Lace the shoe normally.

° As you reach the the penultimate set of eyelets, lace vertically then diagonally downward through the vertical weave.

° Knot and bow

Wide Feet


 

Athlete’s with wider feet can often find it difficult to find running shoes that fit properly. To avoid injury it you can widen the shoe and alleviate pressure from around the foot. This can be achieved by loosening the weave and lacing alternate rows. If you are still experiencing discomfort, there are also a number of brands that cater specifically for wider feet, fitting their trainers with gel cushioning and seamless constructions that hold the foot in place without causing pressure points.

Method


° Weave the first two rows of eyelets normally.

° From the third row of eyelets upwards, lace alternate rows vertically, creating a looser weave.

° Knot and bow.

 

High Midfoot


Athlete’s with a high midfoot often over pronate, making them susceptible to a number of sports injuries. Pronation occurs as weight is transferred from the heel to the forefoot when running, causing the foot to roll inward more than usual. This exaggerated inward movement causes the lower leg, thigh and knee to rotate internally increasing the stresses on the ligaments and muscles of the foot. Excessive over-pronation in runners is quite common and can lead to shin splints, anterior compartment syndrome, achilles tendonitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.

The following technique helps to support the foot and increase stability, particularly over long distances.

Method


° Weave the first two or three rows of eyelets normally.

° Lace one or two rows of eyelets in the middle vertically, giving more midfoot space.

° Knot and bow.

Wide Forefoot


Runner’s with a wide forefoot will often experience pressure across the top of the toes. With the forefoot absorbing tons of cumulative force as you run, the metatarsals are incredibly powerful shock absorbers. If weight distribution across the foot is uneven due to pressure at the front of the foot, this group of bones become inflamed, resulting in metatarsalgia. This pressure can be alleviated by rethinking the lacing and creating more space around the sides of the feet.

 

Method


° Weave the laces vertically up the first two rows of eyelets

° Continue to lace up the other rows as normal.

° Knot and bow.

 

TOE PAIN


For athletes who suffer from repetitive pain or bruising around the toes, this lacing technique focuses on creating space around the forefoot. Adjusting the laces to give the foot more space, enables better toe splaying and reduces the risk of painful cramping during running.

Method


° Take the lace diagonally from the eyelet closest to the big toe to the top opposite eyelet

° Weaving the loose lace through the diagonal lace, passing through all of the remaining eyelets.

° Knot and bow.


Pink Reebok Classics (Stylist’s own), Clae Bradley Leather Sneakers, Clae Bradley Steel Washed Suede Sneakers, Adidas Grete 30 Boost Shoes (Stylist’s own), Stella McCartney X Adidas Sneakers (Stylist’s own). Socks by Stance