Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fit to be Tied: Lacing tricks that can save your shoes

Despite the painstaking effort that was (hopefully!) put into your shoe-fitting process, there may come a time when the harmonious future you had envisioned for your sneaks and your feet is suddenly, terrifyingly, in jeopardy. Maybe a seam in the shoe’s upper - nonexistent at mile two - likes to show up unannounced at mile four to literally rub you the wrong way.  Perhaps a long-overdue pedicure resulted in a considerable downsizing of your shoe-length requirements.  Or it could even be conceivable that you managed - like so many shoe-buyers who have come before you - to convince yourself (after much internal debate and several trips to the store treadmill) that the shoes that looked the best were also the ones that felt the best.  Whatever the case, before you haul your kicks to Goodwill or turn them into stylish planters, check out these common shoe issues and the lacing tricks that can solve them.  A simple twist of lace can customize your fit and have your shoes and your feet running happily ever after … or at least for 300-500 miles.  

Heel slipping?

So the nice people at Mill City Running insisted you go up a half-size in running shoes, but now your heel slips a bit with each step? Before layering on that third pair of socks, try a loop lace-lock.  With your shoes untied, insert the end of each lace into the shoe’s final eyelet (closest to your ankle) on the same side, leaving space to form a loop.  Then, insert each lace through the loop on the opposite side, and gently tug the laces until the loop has locked and the fit is snug. 

Hourglass foot?

When you’re “little in the middle” but you’ve got much, err, forefoot, some run shoe types may be too spacious and leave your foot feeling insecure.  “Just cinch it” may be a solution for a sweater from the Gap, but not so much for your running shoes.  In order to secure a narrow foot in a wider-width shoe, create a loop-lace lock at the midfoot, and then continue lacing as normal. 

Big toe blues (or blacks)?

A gross black toenail will impress your friends the first time, but make it a regular thing and watch your BBQ invites dwindle come sandal season.  Either move those freaky feet into some longer shoes or try this trick with your current runners:   Starting with them unlaced, insert one end of the lace into the first eyelet on the inner-side.  Pull through about one-third of the lace, then cross it to the opposite side and lace it through the eyelet closest to your ankle, leaving enough lace for tying.  Then on the opposite side, lace the shoe diagonally all the way down the length of the shoe, then tie as normal.

Here comes the high-stepper?

A high instep can be a real pain for even the most lyrical of gangstas.  So start by lacing the shoe normally, but after completing the second eyelet simply feed the laces up the next two eyelets – once over, once under - without criss-crossing.  Then tie them up and go, uh-oh!   

Little piggies need to wiggle?

While distance running may make your figure svelte, it can have the opposite effect on your feet.  Bunions, calluses and hammer-toe are just a few of the lovely side-effects of high-mileage training, and they often require a roomier toe-box to alleviate pain and give your toes some room to breathe.  If you’ve still got plenty of miles left in a narrow shoe, follow these steps:  Unlace the shoe completely.  Pull the laces through the first eyelet on each side, then pull the laces through the next two eyelets – first under, then over - without criss-crossing.  When you reach the midfoot, resume lacing as normal. 

Busting out the seams?

Before you put your feet on a low-carb diet (they’re just big boned!), try out this technique for giving your shoes an all-over roomier feel.  Remove your laces completely.  With one end, insert the lace through the first eyelet on the left, then cross it over and lace through the first eyelet on the right side.  Pull the lace through about halfway.  Next, taking the same end, skip the second eyelet on the right, and pull the lace up through the third eyelet.  Cross it directly over to the left, pull it down through the third eyelet. Continue this method of lacing directly across, then skipping down an eyelet, until you get to the end on both sides.   Have I got you in knots?  Check out this video for more help.  Then hit the road already!