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How to Lace Running Shoes for Numb Toes and Other Conditions

Equipping yourself right does not end at buying the right kind of running shoes. Most running shoes come pre-laced, but most runners are unaware that it is essential to re-lace them before wearing them.

There are many lacing techniques for various foot structures; hence, we’ll show methods on how to lace running shoes for numb toes, toe pain, and different foot structures.

Why Does the Feet Numb?

The numbness of the feet is never a normal condition, but people commonly experience it. It may cause other foot problems such as foot ache, knee injury, improper posture, and even long-term injuries.

If you constantly complain about your shoes feeling too tight, you could suffer from feet numbness. This might be because your shoes are putting too much pressure on the top of your foot or to your toenails.

The numbing of the foot or toenails is most likely related to the shoe lacing, fit, and shoe style.


Buying a good pair of running shoes or any pair of shoes is not enough to run in comfort and at best. Experts recommend that the shoes must have a thumb width from the longest toe to the front of the shoes.

It is also necessary to consider wearing running shoes with a high-volume foot, as low-volume foot shoes can cut off the blood circulation.

For high-arched foot, shoes with high-volume foot space are recommended. This is because this kind of foot structure is usually the one that suffers numbness of toes and claw toes.

The way how you lace your running shoes can also have a big effect on your comfort and performance, as well as the overall fit of the shoes. There are various lacing techniques for high arches, shoes that feel too tight, toe pain, numb toes, slipping heels, wide forefoot, narrow foot, and high midfoot.

How to Lace Running Shoes for Numb Toes and Toe Pain?

1. Numb Toes

Numbing of toes is caused by tight spaces in the toe area of the shoes. While choosing the right shoe size, this is unavoidable especially for runners with big toenails or wide front foot. In order to adjust the shoes for the toes, here is an easy lacing technique.

  1. Start the lacing from the big toe to the top of the rear side.
  2. Then, thread the other end of the shoelace through each bottom diagonally and through the top parallel to the succeeding hole.
  3. In the end, tie the shoelace up as usual.

In this shoe lacing technique, the toe cap will be lifted, and there will be more space for the toes.

2. Toe Pain

The shoe lacing technique below relieves pressure on the toe cap. The front portion of the lace is easily adjustable because the loop nearest to the toe is attached diagonally to the eyelet at the ankle of the shoe. To do this lacing technique, here are the easy to follow steps:

  1. Thread the shoelace through the eyelet nearest to the toe.
  2. Grab the end and string it through the opposite eyelet closest to the ankle.
  3. Using the opposite end, thread the lace across the other eyelet that is close to the toes.
  4. Keep doing the criss-cross lace as usual.
  5. On the final stage, you should achieve a diagonal lace that can be easily adjusted or lifted to provide more space for the toes.

Other Shoe Lacing Techniques

Aside from toe numbness and pain, there are other types of foot pain that can be solved with proper lacing techniques. Here are some of them:

1. High Arches

Foot with high arches usually places the tension to the front foot or heel. Runners with this arch type can also experience toe numbness and toe pain. This problem can be solved by a lacing technique where the middle section of the shoe can ease the tightness and increase comfort to fit. To achieve this shoelace, here is the step-by-step method:

  1. Thread the shoe in a standard crisscross pattern.
  2. Next, string the shoelace through the sides only.
  3. Finally, tie the shoe up through the consecutive two eyelets or more as usual.

2. Shoes That Feel Too Tight

Whether you have big feet, big toes, or other undetermined issues that make the shoes feel too tight, the shoelace should be equally distributed to improve comfort. For shoes that feel too tight, do this lacing technique:

  1. Thread the shoelaces in a parallel fashion starting from the top.
  2. Thread by lacing under every other eyelet.
  3. Finally, tie up the shoe as usual.

3. Slipping Heel

There are also instances that the shoe is a bit huge and is not tight enough to support or cuddle the foot. In this situation, the ankle needs more support and secure the heel from slipping. The shoe lacing technique for this is the following:

  1. Lace the shoe as usual up to the second to the last hole.
  2. String it straight up into the last hole.
  3. Thread the lace through the hole on the opposite side.

4. Narrow Foot

For the narrow foot, the shoe needs to be tightened more than usual. This is to secure the foot and keep it in place. To do the shoe lacing technique for this type of foot structure, here are the steps:

  1. Start by threading the shoes in a traditional criss-cross pattern beginning at the top.
  2. Skip one eyelet and continue lacing in a criss-cross fashion.
  3. Finally, tie up the shoelace.


It is essential to properly lace the shoes in accordance with the needs of your feet. How to lace running shoes for numb toes can be easily achieved with the aim to lift the toe cap; hence, giving toes more space.

If you are suffering other uncomfortable issues with your running shoes, it is best to determine your running style and foot structure. With this information, you can identify the right shoe lacing technique to help you adjust the fit of your shoes in accordance to your foot structure.

Buying the shoes that best match your biomechanical physiology is the ultimate key to running at your best and achieving your goal. This is especially important for long-distance runners and marathoners. If you are a beginner, this is the smartest way to start with, so you will love running and keep you on the right track.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner