Are you one of those people whose shoes always get untied in the first ten minutes of a run? Do you get unexplained foot numbness or black toenails? If so, it might be time to upgrade your old-school shoe-tying methods with one of ours. Sure, it might take a few more minutes to master, but the price is right—free is always cheaper than a trip to the podiatrist’s office. (And you’ll finally learn what that mysterious top lace hole is for.)
The Heel Lock
Best for: Slippery soles
The heel lock holds the rear foot securely, a boon to those with narrow feet or when running steep climbs or on technical terrain. Lace up to the penultimateeyelet from the collar on each side. Create a loop by running the lace directly up to the last eyelet and lace it through, crossing over the tongue and through the loop you created on the other side in the same manner, then tie with a standard knot.
The Double Lock
Best for: Unruly laces
Got round-shaped laces that tend to untie themselves? Or laces made of a high polyester content or some other slippery material? Start with a normal bow knot, but before you pull the two loops together, take the lead loop for a second pass around the back of the steady loop before pulling the loops tight, as you would normally. This knot will stay locked but comes untied with the simple pull of either lace, as with a standard bow knot.
Best for: Sore feet
This lacing technique allows you to take pressure off of problem areas in your foot and can be used in a variety of ways. Use crisscross lacing to just below the problem area. Lace up, toward the collar, so that the lace from either side doesn’t cross over sensitive or susceptible spot of your instep by creating a gap. Resume crisscross until you finish with a standard bow knot.
Flex Laces and Lace Locks
Best for: Poky T2s
Not into knots? Never tie your shoes again. A wide variety of elastic, bungee-like laces that are inexpensive and come with easy-to-use and lightweight lace locks make shoe-tying an ancient skill. Simply slip on your shoe and pull the lock taught. That’s it. T2 PR, here you come.
This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Triathlete magazine.