Custom Lace Your Running Shoes for Pain Relief

You spend a couple hundred bucks on a pair of “the ultimate” running shoes from a knowledgeable and respected runner’s boutique. The fit, the function and the design of the shoe all coordinate into a custom fit. After your first few runs, you blame the discomfort on the process of “breaking them in.” A few more runs go by, but the top is still rubbing or your baby toe keeps jamming into the side; perhaps your heel is slipping in and out just enough to create a really frustrating blister. Even if you didn’t invest in a pair of tailor-made shoes (you totally sub your yard work shoes for running shoes and errands, why not?), there are a few tricks you can play to relieve those annoying discomforts. Your laces are the key to smooth sailing.

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Heel slippage: Your heel slides in and out or rubs against the back of the shoes, creating a blister or raw spot. This can also make your footing unstable since the shoe and your foot are not working as one. The shoe will hit the resistance of the pavement before your heel does, or your heel of the shoes might hit the pavement when you don’t want it to!

The fix: Begin the laces per usual, looping the first criss-cross from underneath. Loop the rest of the crosses from the top. Once you get to the last two eyelets, send the laces through them without crossing. Start from underneath, loop down through the last eyelet, then cross it over the shoe and tuck it through the loop you made on the other side.

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Big toe whammy: Your big toe rubs against the top of your shoe or jams into the front of it with each stride. First, double check your size to make sure that’s not the issue. You should have a thumb-width distance between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.

The fix: Begin by lacing the shoes per usual. If you’re working on the shoe for the left foot, lace only the left shoe string. Pull the string out more on the left side for extra slack. First, take the right side of the lace and bring it all the way up to the top on the opposite side and loop it through the top left eyelet. Take the other end of the lace and loop it underneath and through the next eyelet on the opposite side and then straight across. Repeat this until you get to the top.

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Need more room: You have wide feet and a more narrow-fitting shoe. This also helps for sore arches. Adjust your laces first and see if it makes a difference. When you lace them this time, you won’t be creating the ”X” design like you usually see.

The fix: Begin the lacing per usual, then alternate going up and over until you get to the top. The connection loops will be underneath. The lace will start underneath on one side and go through the top on the other side.

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Narrow passage: Your foot width shrinks in the middle. This exact location is slightly different for everyone, so play around with the lacing until it feels just right. You might do the loop one connection before or after what is shown here.

The fix: Begin the lacing per usual and tuck the first set underneath. When you get to the second set, criss cross the laces over each other first. Cross them again and send them through the opposite side eyelets. This will create a nice “hug” over the narrow part of your foot for better support.

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High arches: Your inner foot is designed with a high arch that can create a higher instep on the top of your foot. The shoe might rub against the top of your foot, so instead of lacing over it, give it room to breathe and be.

The fix: Begin the lacing per usual, crossing the first set like a “X.” When you get to the second pair of eyelets, keep the laces on the same side and loop through the top into the second eyelet. At this point, the laces will be underneath. You can skip another “X” by keeping them on the same side and sending them up through the third eyelet, or you can go ahead and cross them like normal until you get to the top.

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