Shoe Laces

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How To Tie Your Shoes

If you’re like me, the only time you really paid any attention to your shoe laces was when they  untied during a run, knotted up or cause rubbing or pressure on the top of your foot.  It was only after I began working at The Running Well Store when I realized just how underestimated the importance of shoe laces actually are. Just how important are your laces? Every time your foot strikes the ground there is a force of approximately half of your body weight moving in the forward direction.  This means there is a lot of momentum which causes your foot to move forward in the shoe. It is a combination of laces, lacing pattern and tongue that aid in resisting this force and potential injury.  If the laces, lacing pattern and tongue are inadequate the foot will move forward in the shoe and your toes will jam into the end of the toe box and can cause frictional loading on the dorsum (top) of your foot.

About Laces

There are several shapes of laces from flat to round to oval, and they are constantly evolving to become better. The evolution started with flat laces.  Some shoes still come with them, but with their increased surface area they can cause issues to the tendons on the top of your foot especially with running and walking which involves moving in one direction in a repetitive action.  Flat laces have been found to be better for shoes which are used in multidirectional activities like sports which happen on courts.  Next on our list are round laces. Because of the smaller surface area of round laces, they can cause a greater concentration of force on the top of the foot and they can untie easier than the other shapes.  Finally, there are the oval laces.  Oval laces are typically constructed of a synthetic mesh which are  welded at the sides.  The major advantages of oval laces are their ability to conform to the contours of the top of the foot which allows the load of the laces to be spread evenly and as a bonus; they have excellent grip coefficients so they stay tied.


One of the easiest ways to customize your shoes to make them fit uniquely to your foot is with different lacing patterns.  There are several methods and a person is only limited by their imagination.  The three most popular methods we have used at The Running Well Store are the Lace Lock (Heel Lock), Parallel Lacing, and Window Lacing.

Lace Lock

The Lace Lock is also known as the “heel lock” and helps secure the heel in the shoe and helps prevent the heel from sliding up and down.  Have you ever noticed those extra lace holes in the tops of your shoes?  They are there to assist with the lace lock, or heel lock tie technique.  It is by far the most popular lacing technique we use at The Running Well Store as it helps prevent the heel from slipping out of your shoe.

Parallel Lacing

Parallel Lacing is really useful with people with wider feet, bunions or issues with the top of their feet.  If you notice that you feel tend to swell during a work shift or a long event, this lacing system may help carry you through.

Window Lacing

Window Lacing is great for people who have a “hot spot” on the top of their feet or high instep.  There is a nerve that goes right up the middle of your foot and for some people this area is more sensitive than others.  These people tend to get a “hot spot” on the top of their foot.  The window lacing does a great job of securing the shoe and avoiding that hot spot sensation.


Types of Laces

10 Seconds 54″ Round

The round laces are the godfather of shoelaces.  Perfectly symmetrical for those who love an even aesthetic.  Perfect for casual or dress shoes.  They tend to untie easily so runner beware.

Shop Round

10 Seconds 54″ Flat

Pickleball players take note, this lace is a fantastic option for those who have multi-directional movements.  So, those of you who are headed to Zoomba, pickleball or crossfit this is the lace for you!

Shop Flat

10 Seconds 54″ Bubble Laces

Bubble laces are known to stay tied no matter what! If you hate having to stop mid-race to re-tie your lace then you need to grab yourself a bubble lace.  We think they look like sausage casings…do you agree? 😉

Shop Bubble

SofSole Oval Laces

The is THE runner’s lace.  Not too flat, not too round, juuuuuust right. Oval laces are designed to contour to the top of your feet which doesn’t create additional friction.   Additionally, with the edges it has a good grip coefficient to stay tied!  This is your lace runners!

Shop Oval

Lock Laces

We like using the lock laces for our clients who have dexterity issues as once you set the lace in the shoe you can slip the shoe on or off easily.  These laces were primarily created with the tri-athlete in mind, however many others use them due to their set it and forget it functionality. We have two different options when it comes to lock laces.



Final Thoughts

Different lacing techniques help customize the shoe to fit your foot better.  However, lacing is no substitute for getting the right fitting shoe initially. For that you need to see a FIT GURU at one of our three (Northland, Lee’s Summit and Mission) Running Well Stores.   Feel free to come in, or schedule an appointment here. 

Additionally, you can always try our online “Find My Fit” tool to help narrow down the wide variety of footwear options to research.

About The Author

Mike Pfannenstiel is the Manager at The Running Well Store in Mission.  He and his wife, Kelly, have enjoyed running for the last 12 years.  Since 2009, they have completed a marathon in every state and along their journey, have made life- long friends with runners from around the world. Mike has completed over 100 marathons and ultra-distances up to 100 miles.  Mike enjoys running but he really loves sharing his experiences with others and hearing about people he has helped accomplish their goals.