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How to tie your Running Shoes to avoid pain

If you're suffering from pain in your foot then there might be a simple solution in the way you tie your shoe laces. Giles Gyer from Osteon explains how.

Depending on where the pain is on your foot and how it's manifesting itself, you can try a variety of shoe lace techniques to relieve pressure on the problem spot and, hopefully, alleviate the problem.

Pain is focused on one point on top of the foot

Trigger point, hot spot, focused pain, pressure point; we have so many names for what is essentially a really sore spot on the top of your foot, that little nagging area that gets more painful as you run.

So what can you do? Well it may sound simple, but you should lace your shoes in a way that you miss that spot out all together. Miss out the eyelets in line with that nasty sore spot by following these steps:

  • Lace the shoe up to the eyelets before the painful spot
  • Take the lace back under on the same side and through the next eyelet. Do this on each side and you have that empty spot allowing that painful spot some room, and taking away the pain at the same time.


Black Toes

Don't worry, you haven't caught the plague! If you're wearing the right running shoes and have taken into account that your foot will swell when running, but the toes are still blackening, then you should look to lift up the shoe above the toes and give them some much needed space.

Lacing in this way is a little complicated:

  • Thread one of the ends of the shoelace through the eyelet next to that sore big toe
  • Pull the end of this lace right up to the last eyelet on the other side
  • Bring the lace through to the outside, leaving enough lace to actually tie the shoe up
  • With the rest of the lace, take it across towards the outside of the running shoe and then lace diagonally up towards the inside of the shoe, lacing up all the eyelets as in the diagram
  • Give the lace a pull and, hey presto, there is space above that nasty nail


My shoe is far too tight on the top of my foot

Similar to that little pressure spot but covering the whole foot. If the whole of the top part of your foot is feeling the strain as your shoe is too tight it would be nice to get rid of the laces altogether, but seeing as that's not an option you we can use parallel lacing to secure the shoe without putting any pressure on the top of your foot. Here's how:

  • Start by lacing the first two eyelets on the big toe side of tongue, check the picture if you're unsure, but were going off road here so hold on
  • Bring the lace from the first eyelet straight across to the first eyelet on the other side and push it through
  • Pull the lace straight up the side, missing one eyelet, and thread it through the third eyelet
  • Now pull the lace straight across the tongue and push it through the third eyelet on the opposite side. Repeat until all eyelets are laced and tied


Your toes have no space

Cramped toes can be so painful and can really hamper your running, so let's look at reducing this cramped forefoot and giving you some space to move.

Have a good look at the diagram. OK, so you won't win any fashion awards, but this will really help.

  • Buy some more laces, a pair per shoe
  • Use the first lace for the bottom three eyelets and the second lace for the upper three eyelets. the end result will be two bows on each shoe, allowing you to tie the bottom laces looser giving your feet more room without reducing the support for the whole shoe