How to Lace Running Shoes: Get the Perfect Feel for Your Toes and Heel


Running is, in many ways, one of the easiest sports to get into. You don’t need lessons, minimal equipment is needed, and you can do it virtually anywhere.

Running shoes are a great investment to run comfortable and to avoid getting hurt. But before starting, it’s a good idea to learn the different ways you can tie running shoes.

Lacing can help make a comfortable shoe even more comfortable. It can help lock your feet into the shoes.

There are a lot of techniques that one can use to lace a pair of running shoes, so let’s discuss them and determine which ones are best.

How to Lace Running Shoes: Different Techniques

A lot of runners may not realize that there are a lot of comfort-related issues that can be addressed by just changing the lacing on their shoes.

Different lacing techniques will influence the shoe’s fit, so it’s important to tailor the lace of the shoe for the various problems that it might cause. For instance, one might feel that the heel is loose in the shoe or might feel more pressure on the toes than on the rest of the foot. These can all be solved by switching lacing methods.

  • Loop Lacing for a Heel Lock

This is the best solution for those who find that their heels have too much room in the running shoes, which can cause blisters and foot pain. The loop lock will seat the foot tightly in the shoe. This is very simple to achieve too, just make sure that there’s enough lace left to make a couple of bigger loops.

Running shoes often have an extra eyelet that’s unused. Take the lace and place it backward on its corresponding eyelet, and not opposite as one would normally do. Make a big loop on each end that will serve as an anchor point for the opposite side of the lace.

Then, take the laces, pass them through the opposite loops, and tighten them down. After that, just tie the lace as one would naturally do and feel the superior fit.

  • Cross-Over Lacing for Those with a High Instep or Arch

Runners with high arches can bring a lot of problems to people when shopping and wearing shoes. Some even buy a half or a full size bigger to avoid dealing with this problem. While this may be a “fix” for casual shoes, running shoes must have a tight fit. This is where the cross-over lacing kicks in.

Cross-over lacing is definitely a life-saver when it comes to athletes with a bigger arch. Start from the bottom, as one would normally do, and make the lace in a zigzag pattern. At the second or third eyelet, depending on how big the arch is, take the laces and skip an eyelet by lacing them in a parallel pattern.

Doing this type of lacing will relieve pressure on the arch area while also keeping a good lock on the foot. Afterward, resume the classic zig-zag pattern and finish lacing.

  • Relieve Pressure from Toes

In order to relieve pressure from toes, there is a simple trick that anyone can do. The trick is to reduce the pressure that the lace puts on the specific toe by not threading it through the particular eyelet.

For instance, if one would have problems with the pressure on the big toe, one should remove the lace and thread it from the affected toe to the opposite eyelet at the top of the shoe.

After that, make sure to leave enough lace at the top of the shoe to tie a bow and start threading the opposite end through each of the eyelets. This will keep the shoe tight-fitting and relieve pressure from the affected toe or toes.

  • Parallel Lacing (or Straight Bar Lacing) to Relieve Pressure from the Whole Foot

Parallel lacing is similar in result to the cross-over lacing method described above. Now, we all know that some runners have large feet. These people can have access to the same comfort and tight fit as any other runner by just using this particular lacing technique.

First off, remove the whole lace. Start threading in the lace in the bottom two eyelets. Then, place the lace so that it comes out under the eyelets. Now, take one of the ends and place it in the first eyelet and lace it straight across, on the adjacent eyelet.

Make sure that the lace is running over the eyelets. This allows the wearer to skip a lot of the lacing and relieve a lot of pressure. Make sure to do the same with the other end, just on a different eyelet (one above or one below).

One downside to this kind of lacing, though, is that there will be a lot of excess lace left after using this method. Make sure to either pick a pair of shorter laces or make a knot that takes care of the excess lace to avoid accidents while running.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to learn how to lace running shoes if you are interested in or you are already practicing running on a regular basis. A lot of pain associated with running can be completely removed from one’s life and routine by just adjusting the lacing style to fit the foot.

Make sure to keep the laces and shoes clean and replace them when the time comes, as old footwear can get rigid and lose a lot of its spring.

Photo of author


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.

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