Can I tell you a secret? No one wants sore and painful feet on the trail. A few days ago we chatted about how to take care of your feet in the backcountry and in that post we mentioned lacing your boots differently to prevent blisters. You can read that post by clicking here. 

Today, I’m going to share different ways to lace your boots to help prevent foot pain and blisters. You can read below or check out this short video.

Technique #1: The Surgeon Knot to prevent heel lift

If your problem is heel lift, meaning that as you hike, your heel lifts up in the back of your boot, that’ll cause some rubbing, and some friction and some blisters on the back of your heel. No one wants that, it’s miserable, it sucks. So what we want to do, is lock your instep down. So to do that, what we do is we tie a surgeon knot, which is basically a double knot before and after the curve right there, you can see kind of where the boot curves between the instep and the ankle portion. So we want to lock it down right there.

Technique #2: Skip the first eyelet to prevent toe pain

Now, if your problem is toe lift, so as you’re hiking, you lift your toes up. Some people lift their toes up naturally when they walk, or maybe your toes are being crunched, or you have a lot of toe box pressure, a good way to help your foot feel good if you’re having some toe pain there, is to skip that first eyelet, and then start lacing over the mid section of your boot. That just provides a little bit more room right there for your toes.

Technique #3: Skip eyelets to prevent foot pressure

If your problem is that you have top of the foot pressure, this could happen if maybe you have a high volume foot in a low volume shoe, some foot pressure there on the top of your foot, you can do what’s called window lacing, and this basically, that’s a fancy word for saying just skip the eyelet over the area that’s causing pain.

Technique #4: Create an extra eyelet for more ankle support

Now, if you need a little bit more ankle support, the final lacing technique that we have is to actually, as you’re lacing up the ankle, skip the eyelet, then thread the lace through, and lace the boot through the loop, so you go through that loop there that you created, and that’s essentially another eyelet. So that will give you a little bit more support and stability for your ankles.

Now, there are really a dozen ways to play around with lacing techniques, and these are just a few. If you’re out on a guided backpacking trip with me and you say you have foot pain, or maybe you’re starting to get some blisters, what I recommend doing is stopping, taking off your boots and your socks, changing out, switching out, putting a clean pair of socks on, and then playing around with some of these different lacing techniques, and trying to relieve pain and pressure.

Now, just play around. There’s really no correct way and incorrect way to lace your boots, and each foot is different. So you might have a different lacing technique on one foot than the other foot, and that is normal, that is common, and that is super encouraged. So just do what it takes to make your feet happy.

All right, so there you have it. There’s four different ways to lace your boots, so that your feet can be super duper happy out on the trail.

Want to learn more? Check out this video:

How do you lace your boots?

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