Need to Know
  1. Different shoelace tying options resolve different issues
  2. Help for tight shoes, wide feet, heel slippage, high arches
  3. How you tie your shoes can make workouts more comfortable

Although the type of shoe you purchase can greatly affect the comfort of a workout, another important factor is how you tie those laces. Most shoes come pre-laced in zig-zag form, but there is an art and benefit to tying them according to your needs. There was even a recent video that went viral about that extra eyelet hole in many running shoes. Check out solutions for five common shoe and foot problems below and get those laces changed up!

Lingo to Know

  • Eyelets: these are the holes that you put your laces through
  • Over: when you insert your laces in the eyelets from the outside going toward the inside of your shoe
  • Under: when you insert your laces in the eyelets from the inside going toward the outside of the shoe

Explaining these in words can be complicated, so here’s a visual guide.

Need more info? Read the step-by-step lacing patterns below.

Problem: My shoes feel too tight

Shoelaces Too Tight

Solution: Lace parallel to loosen up the fit

  • Begin by lacing each end of the lace over one of the eyelets closest to your toes.
  • Hold onto one end of the lace, leaving the other aside for now.
  • With the lace end you’re holding, stay on the same side of the shoe and skip down one eyelet, re-entering the shoe under the third eyelet.
  • Take that same end, cross it to the other side of the shoe, and enter it over the third eyelet on that side.
  • Continue with the same lace on the same side and skip another eyelet, entering under the fifth eyelet. Leave the lace there for now.
  • Now, grab the other end of the lace and enter it under the second eyelet on its same side.
  • Cross that lace to the other side of the shoe, and enter it over the opposite second eyelet.
  • With that lace, stay on the same side, skip an eyelet, and enter under the fourth eyelet.
  • Cross to the other side of the shoe and enter the lace over the fourth eyelet on that side.
  • If you have more eyelets, continue this pattern, skipping an eyelet on each side before re-entering the shoe and crossing over.
  • Tie your shoes.

Problem: I have high arches

Shoelaces If You Have High Arches

Solution: Make a little room for the middle of your foot

  • Begin by lacing each end of the lace over one of the eyelets closest to your toes.
  • Cross both lace ends diagonally to the opposite second eyelets and enter over those eyelets.
  • Keep each lace on the same side of the shoe and enter under the third eyelet.
  • Then, continue zig-zag lacing as normal and finish tying.

Problem: My toenails are suffering

Shoelace Toenail Pain

Solution: Lace to pull the shoe away from your painful toe

  • Begin by lacing each end of the lace over one of the eyelets closest to your toes.
  • From here, measure out your laces so that one lace is about five inches longer than the other. Keep the shorter end of the lace on the side of the toe that’s the most painful. (For example, if your big toe is painful, the inside lace should be about five inches shorter than the outside lace.)
  • Take the longer lace and zig zag it through all of the eyelets.
  • Then take the shorter lace and cross it all the way across the shoe, reaching diagonally from the eyelet closest to your toes to the eyelet closest to your ankle on the opposite side.
  • Enter the lace under that eyelet and finish tying. If you end up with both laces on the same side, just take the zig-zag lace out of the final eyelet.

Problem: My heels slip

Heels Slipping

Solution: Use tighter lacing closer to your ankle

  • Begin by lacing each end of the lace over one of the eyelets closest to your toes.
  • Create a basic zig-zag pattern until you reach the top by your ankle.
  • Once you reach the eyelets closest to your ankle, take each lace end and hook it directly back down and under into the eyelet right beneath it.
  • Laces should end up in the second to last hole from the top.

Problem: I have a wide forefootShoelace Wide Forefoot

Solution: Skip some zig-zags to give the ball of your foot some space

  • Begin by lacing each end of the lace over one of the eyelets closest to your toes.
  • Keep the lace ends on the same side and enter each end under the next eyelet down.
  • Then, enter each end over the next eyelet down.
  • Zig-zag the laces as normal to finish tying.