Hiking boots are subjected to more vigorous activity than regular flats or sneakers. This means that the traditional way to lace up your shoes may not adequate for your hiking boots. It’s not only about tying boots and boot lacing techniques, it’s also about the tightness of the laces. How tight should hiking boots be laced? We’ll cover that below and more.
Why Lace-Up Hiking Boots the Right Way?
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Why are boot lacing techniques important? At the end of the day, a knot is just a knot, right? This just isn’t true. Lacing the correct way will impact not only hiking shoes but running shoes too. The way you do it can be the difference between attempting a 10-mile hike comfortably and a 20-mile.
If you tie your laces in a way to equally disperse the tension across your foot, it can help relieve pressure and even give you more support. Most hiking boots and shoes come laced in a standard design, which is a criss-cross across the surface and the two laces meet at the top of your shoe.
There are different suggestions on how to lace hiking boots depending on the shape of your foot. We will cover some more intricate ways of lacing for different purposes and feet type.
Identify the Problem
To know which hiking boots lacing method is best for you, you need to first identify the problem. Do you keep forming blisters, are there uncomfortable pressure points, or are the laces continuously coming undone?
There are different ways to lace up your boot to cater to each of these problems. It doesn’t matter if you have lace to toe hiking boots or are wondering how to tie boots with hooks, each of our proposed approaches below can work with any type of shoe.
Best Ways to Lace Boots
1- Surgeon’s Knot
Perhaps one of the most common ways for how to tie a boot is the surgeon’s knot. While surgeons carry out complicated tasks, the implementation of this type of knot is anything but that. It’s simple to tie and quite versatile and is useful for hiking boots or shoes that tend to be looser at the heel.
The surgeon’s knot will allow you to adjust the tightness of the laces individually, isolating certain parts for a looser fit if necessary. To try the surgeon’s knot, it’s just a matter of intertwining your laces across certain parts of your hiking boot.
Not only can the surgeon’s knot create a more secure hold on your foot, but it’s also the desired option for those who have narrow or flat feet. In this case, you can identify all the loose points in your hiking boots and apply the surgeon’s knot where necessary. The surgeon’s knot is also created for laces that keep coming undone. However, you can also double-knot them for a tighter bind.
2- Window Lacing
This type of lacing is best for those who want to relieve some pressure off of the top of your foot. Instead of diagonally crisscrossing your laces, you will thread the laces through the eyelets vertically. The end result will be laced hiking boots with laces that cross every other eyelet, making the hiking boot a bit looser overall.
3- Heel Lock Lacing Hiking Boots
Exactly as it sounds, the job of the heel lock method is to eliminate heel lift. For those looking for ways on how to tie hiking boots for downhill activities, the heel lock method is our top recommendation. This method will not only secure the heel section of the shoe, but it also eliminates blisters you would get in that area from constant friction.
The heel lock method doesn’t change how you lace the boot. You apply the surgeon’s knot or use window lacing throughout, but leave the last eyelet open. What you do after you have completed lacing from toe to ankle is thread the left lace through the right eyelet by looping it outward than inward. If done correctly, you should have the lace thread through the right eyelet coming out on the inside of your shoe.
Do the same thing to the right place by threading it through the exterior toward the interior of the left eyelet. This is when you cross the laces and thread them each through the opposite loop. Once that’s done, simply pull them tight and secure them with a knot.
4- Open-Toe Lacing
Hiking boots aren’t open-toed shoes, but this method will loosen up the toe box for those who need more freedom for their digits. This method is very simple. Simply unlace your entire hiking boot and lace them up again except skip over the first eyelets at the base of your toes. This will give your toes more room. Those who should try this method are people who often experience toe pain.
This same concept can be applied to any area of the shoe. If you feel the arches on the top of your foot are often constricted, you can skip over the eyelets in that are to relieve pressure. You can also do that near the top of your shoe close to your ankles, but that could create more heel lift so secure the top with a heel lock.
If you skip the topmost eyelets, it’s a great way to help those with wider ankles or calves gain more comfort. If you often experience blisters from the rubbing of the top of the boot against your calves, this is also a great way to minimize that.
5- Lock Laces
Another very reliable way to lace up and ensure they never come undone is with lock laces. You can choose to lace them however you please but the pull lock at the end of the laces is what sets them apart and guarantee more security.
Play around with different methods of lacing. You may have more issues than one with your hiking boots and sometimes you might need to get creative and integrate 2 or even 3 of the aforementioned approaches. Remember to walk a good distance in your newly laced shoes to get a clear idea of how the method you chose works out.
You may have to go through a few attempts but you’ll get there. Make sure you don’t pull the laces too tightly as that can restrict blood flow and reduce performance. Laces that are too loose will not provide you with the support you need and can create aches and pains in your foot as you struggle to compensate for the lack of security.
The types of laces you choose will also impact the lacing of your hiking boots. For example, thin and very stretchy laces are by no means as tough as ones made from Kevlar.