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The Big thread about Lacing tips for shoes and boots

#1
OK so we all know about buying a pair of shoes/boots half a size or a size bigger for walking - to allow for your foot swelling and so your toe nails don't bang into the front of the boot going downhill.

The problem is sometimes this means your foot can slide around.

One thing I found v useful is to ensure that my heel is in the very back of the boot/shoe before lacing. Best if possible to have the back (rather than the bottom) of the heel against the ground or a step when doing this.

Then lace the boot/shoe firmly but not too tightly and voila your heel stays at the back, no (or fewer blisters) and plenty of room for your pinkies

Also a tip for handling smelly footwear before you go, I bought some "Sneaker balls" which I keep in my shoes when not using them. They keep 'em smelling ok(ish)
I don't however seriously expect anyone to tke them on the Camino - extra weight and all that.

Have a good weekend

Mercury
 

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#3
My life has been immeasurably improved with Coilers/No Tie shoelaces from...erm can't immediately remember, but I had to get them from somewhere in the US. I have the site somewhere, if anyone is interested. They are elasticated coiled laces (like coiled telephone wire) that don't need to be tied. When they are pulled to a comfortable fit, they stretch as one walks, before returning to their original position. For all I know, they may be anathema to purists, but I love them.

I am not the most serious hiker, but am doing regular 20 miles hikes on varied terrain at the weekend, then speedy 4 mile hikes on the flat after work during the week, and find the laces keep my feet snug in my boots(Brashers - a fantastic buy in a charity shop - £2.99, and they were hardly worn...) without any slipping, but provide some give when needed.

Any thoughts?
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPDP - Santiago); Via Podensis (Le Puy en Velay - SJPDP); Via Francigena (Canterbury - Rome); Via Portugues (Tui - Santiago); Via Francigena del Sud (Rome - Bari).
To Do Via Egnatia (Durres - Thessaloniki); INT & Jerusalem Trail (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem)
#5
Wash laces so they can slide a little

FWIW, my laces get gunked up with shoe cleaner and dirt, and then they don't slide readily in the little D-rings on the boot.

I find this not only makes the laces harder to tension correctly when putting the boots on, but it also makes the whole binding too inflexible while walking over broken terrain. I like to have some "give" in the binding.

So I take out the laces and wash them before a long trip.

Regards

Bob M
 

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#9
Dear XM,

The company I bought from are Furthers: http://www.furthers.com - sorry, I haven't worked out how to paste the link in. I think they are in Michigan. They do shoe and boot lengths in a variety of colours. They are a strange concept at first - and do not make for tidy lacing for those who worry about such things, but I like the way they provide some 'give' when the foot is flexed and extended, but otherwise keep the foot snug in the boot without slipping. I find I walk with a more natural action as a result (I have a low- cut boot).

Very best wishes,

Pip
 
#10
Hi. I'm experimenting with my Merrells (both the boots and the shoes) on a daily basis, and I'm finding that as Wonderful as these are for my feet, the laces don't stay tied well. Maybe they're new. Maybe they have S-cubed, a Stiff Synthetic Something that keeps them from gripping themselves...

But does anyone have a solution? A trick? Another lace they'd recommend?

Thanks :)

Almha
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
#12
Yes if all else fails it's the double bow for you.
Me & Scarpa boots for the last 20yrs double bows.
However just switched or spent a small fortune on Meindl Burma Pro GTX,
& guess what their laces don't come undone, but to be honest, a double bow is good,
& you don't have to yank them like you do a single & I think that makes it easier to get undone!

It's annoying to have to find a spot to retie ones laces :lol: , however I also feel we should retie them a few times during the day anyway.

Good Luck
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#13
My boots have flat laces and I am not familiar with Merrells. Are their laces round or flat? We find that round laces untie but flat ones are more secure. Having said that we still tend to tie them double, and also to retie at times during the day, especially before walking downhill, as they do 'ease' a little.
 

+@^^

Active Member
#14
i tied my trainers with NewBalance Bubble laces
and can highly recommend
they give you tying options
see link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000IBDO6I/?tag=ivarrekve
the upside was that the bubbles hold where ever they are positioned, allowing a looser toe-box tighter in the mid section, and looser at the top, for eg
it\s the only item i carried a spare of, and didnt need
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#15
A fellow pilgrim recommended that rather than just weaving the laces round the hooks at the top of your boots you should turn the lace a full 360 degrees round each hook. This keeps them from slipping, rubbing and eventually breaking. Frankly, I couldn't be bothered, but it could be worth a try.

I'm not sure about the technical names, but some laces seem to have an inner cord and an outer fabric coating. These can be quite hard to knot together if they do break and you just need to get to the next shop for a new pair.
 
#16
After doing the bow try passing the free ends of the lace under the tensioned lace between the nearest two hooks or D-rings. I do this with both flat and round laces and the friction is usually enough to stop the bow coming undone.
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
#17
sharmuk said:
After doing the bow try passing the free ends of the lace under the tensioned lace between the nearest two hooks or D-rings. I do this with both flat and round laces and the friction is usually enough to stop the bow coming undone.
When one wears gaiters/spats this probably a very good idea :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (9/2012)
#18
My Oboz boots have round laces which I do believe slip much more than flat laces. I try to secure them at the break between foot & ankle with a preliminary tie (no bow) and then use a double bow at the top. Once I have been walking for a while I usually need to re-adjust as the laces tend to slide & settle with time. Good luck.
 
#19
Shoelaces and tying are a subject dear to my heart! My new favorite is xtenex laces, which are elastic with little bumps in them about every half inch. They can be set to give the perfect tension for whatever shape feet and you never have to tie them. I have run two marathons in them and use them for everyday walking as well. They have a little give which is great to accommodate any foot swelling. For long-distance running they have minimized sore feet in the later miles perhaps by softening the impact of foot hitting the top of the shoe. I am planning to use them on the Camino next summer. (It will be my first camino and summer is the only time I have available. I hope it isn't too hot or crowded on the camino frances...) The xtenex laces are pricey but worth it. Here is a link to their website http://www.xtenex.com/lace-choices.php There are other secure ways to tie shoes and the Runner's World website has a great article about that. Hope this is helpful.
 
#20
If your shoelaces are coming untied, you are tying a granny knot, not a square knot. Yes, the same distinction applies to tying a bow. I put right lace over the left and then back under before tying the bow. They never come untied.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#21
Greetings from Jerusalem and Shalom!

Shoelace problems can be easily resolved as you see from the many responses here and are not the real problem. Several months of training and a couple of hundred kilometers into the Camino and ZBANG! One breaks. I have always worn Salomon 3/4 walking shoes/boots and wouldn't dream of anything else. Try and find a pair of 180 centimeter laces in say Carrion de los Condes? Or Melide? Or Puente la Reina? Take along an extra pair no matter how you solve your shoelace issue!
 

na2than

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2012)(2013)
#22
one solution could be the following;every hour or so take a ten minute break...remove your pack and footwear....try to elevate your feet if it is possible(not on the table top of a cafe).After the break...put footwear on and retie laces...this way you costantly have perfectly tied laces that do the job of supprting your foot inside the footwear hence reducing blisters.you tube has a number of films giving advice on how to lace up boots for max support
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#23
Somewhere on the forum is a thread about tying laces, but I am not sure where so will add my method here.
Pull the laces tight through the rings and tie once (no bow) then pass round the hooks upwards, except for the top hooks. Pass the laces over the top of these and downwards, then tie the laces tightly below the hooks. Double bow so that they don't slip. If the laces are over long then either find shorter ones or tie to stop a dangerous loop forming which could result in the problems posted at top.
Always check, and tighten the laces if necessary, before going downhill. Part way down too if your boots start to slip at all. Laces do stretch so this might be needed at first quite frequently, but less often the further you walk.
There are other variations on this but I have found it works for me, even on a pair of boots with a 'locking' hook above the rings.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#24
Somewhere on the forum is a thread about tying laces, ...
I recall someone posting a couple of good youtube videos demonstrating some lacing techniques, but I also recommend Ian's Shoelace Site, and also the knot tying page from that site. The method @Tia Valeria describes sounds like a combination of the segmented lacing and lock lacing methods described on the lacing page. The knot page describes a variety of secure knots. My personal favourite is called the freedom knot. and it is described on the page.

Regards,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#25
Sounds painful and potentially dangerous. Glad to hear you were able to recover and continue. I triple tie my laces so there no hanging laces but still haven't found a perfect formula for lacing that does not cause blisters on my small toes during an extensive and steep downhill hikes.
When tighter lacing and thinner socks cannot stop the problem, there is a point where one would have to conclude that you need to consider a larger size. I have been in this situation where my favourite pair of boots was getting marginal, and even wearing thinner socks, I needed to tighten them before every steeper downhill slope to keep my toes from hitting the front of the shoebox. I have subsequently replaced these with a larger size :(.

Regards
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#26
When tighter lacing and thinner socks cannot stop the problem, there is a point where one would have to conclude that you need to consider a larger size. I have been in this situation where my favourite pair of boots was getting marginal, and even wearing thinner socks, I needed to tighten them before every steeper downhill slope to keep my toes from hitting the front of the shoebox. I have subsequently replaced these with a larger size :(.

Regards
I second Doug's input above. The importance of "proper" hiking boot / shoe sizing cannot be discussed enough. As a basic rule of thumb, consider that your feet will increase by at least 1/2 size when you place two pair of socks on (liner + outer sock). They will increase a further 1/2 size - or more - by swelling by day's end.

So, at a minimum, figure on obtaining hiking shoes / boots at least one full size larger than your street shoe size. Also, it is critical to have a roomy "toe box" up front. You need to be able to wiggle and separate your toes when the boots are fully laced. Manolos are not recommended for the Camino...;)

Some people, myself included, are compelled to buy boots that are even larger. I wear a Keen Targhee II mid-height boot. My street shoes are a US size 11 (EU 45). However my feet swell more than others. So, I needed to add - say 3/4 size for the swollen feet, plus the standard 1/2 size for socks. That put me at an unattainable 1.25 sizes large than my street shoe size or a size US 12.25 (@ EU 46.5?).

However, two things conspired to put me into a size US 13 (EU 47) hiking boot. Keen, on their website (www.keenfootwear.com), advises that this particular model runs about 1/2 size SMALL. So that meant that each advertised size was actually 1/2 size smaller. So, the size 12 boots I thought I needed were actually a size 11.5 - too small. I actually bought them in size 12 and wore them around the house and the toe box DID feel constricted. That is when I checked the Keen website and learned about the model running small. So, back to the shop I went with the printed page from the web to share with the sales person.

Plus, as the boots were only available is whole sizes - no half-sizes, the math worked out like this: the size 13 / 47 boot is really a size 12.5. I actually needed something like a 12 1/4 (US) size. So, I exchanged the size 12s for the size 13s. They were perfect. I am very glad that I bought the larger size. On my Camino, while I did have serious issues with heel calluses (not related to the boots), I had not one blister.

In my experience, civilian law enforcement, military, and the Camino, it was MUCH better to have to cinch my boot laces more snugly or in a different pattern to hold my feet snug at the heel or instep, than to deal with bloody and crushed toes in too short boots. On my first Camino I encountered too many pilgrims wearing trainers / running shoes in their standard street shoe size. The results were always the same: blisters - lots of blisters - as they could not wear multiple or even thicker wool socks (too many people were wearing cotton crew socks), and bloody - mashed toes with lost toenails from the toes constantly bashing into the front of the tow box on down hills segments. All in all, this was not something that added enjoyment and value to their Camino. It is one thing to suffer, but another to suffer when it is easily preventable for most people.

Regardless of the style (high or low) or size boot / shoe you choose, you must allow room for additional socks and foot swelling. Lubricating one's feet using various methods is also talked about frequently across the forum in many conversations. I will not repeat it here.

However, if you find yourself in this predicament, Doug's suggestion above is the only short term solution. Lubricate your feet. Put on the thinnest socks you have, Silk or Cool Max polyester fabric seem to work best. Then knock your heel all the way back in the shoe / boot and tighten your laces so as to secure the heel in place, without restricting criculation of course.. This results in giving your tows the most clearance possible in the shoes you have, until you can obtain a better sized sock and shoe/ boot combination down the road.

As always I hope this helps someone.:D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#27
Wash laces so they can slide a little

FWIW, my laces get gunked up with shoe cleaner and dirt, and then they don't slide readily in the little D-rings on the boot.

I find this not only makes the laces harder to tension correctly when putting the boots on, but it also makes the whole binding too inflexible while walking over broken terrain. I like to have some "give" in the binding.

So I take out the laces and wash them before a long trip.

Regards

Bob M
Now, why did I not think of washing my laces.....by the end of my walk, I found them almost too stiff to pull through the loops, plus, with my arthritic hands, they were so hard to tie up....I have now freed them from the boots and washed them....such a huge difference....smiles.
 
#28
Here are two lacing videos on boot lacing from REI.


As for laces, you can take a spare pair with you and use them as a cloths line. Then you have the spare pair in case you break one on your boot, or so you can wash a pair and let them dry through the day. Remember, a wet pair of laces will tighten up as they dry and a dry pair will loosen up as they get wet, so you need to be aware of how you boot is fitting throughout the day and adjust as you go.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#29
Here are two lacing videos on boot lacing from REI.

As for laces, you can take a spare pair with you and use them as a cloths line. Then you have the spare pair in case you break one on your boot, or so you can wash a pair and let them dry through the day. Remember, a wet pair of laces will tighten up as they dry and a dry pair will loosen up as they get wet, so you need to be aware of how you boot is fitting throughout the day and adjust as you go.
Thank you sharing these. Other than one point on which they contradict each other over how to tighten 'lock lacing' (which is incorrectly called a sherpa knot in the first video if you follow the nomenclature on Ian's Shoelace site) they usefully demonstrate or discuss several useful techniques. I prefer the lock lacing technique demonstrated in the second video, ie pull the laces towards the front of your foot first. If you then find the opposite laces meeting in the middle, then pull back towards you heel to pull out some of the slack and then pull towards the front of your foot again.

Regards,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#31
http://www.wimp.com/shoestie/
This may help in keeping the laces secure
Great video, but the resulting knot is not secure. The knot collapses if just one end is pulled, and offers no special resistance to that, just like the knots demonstrated in the REI videos.

A simple secure knot is the Freedom Knot (http://www.freedomknot.com/) and there are others like the Surgeon's Knot or Sherpa Knot on Ian's Shoelace Site. The Freedom Knot will not collapse until both ends are pulled out. The Surgeon's Knot will collapse if just one end is pulled out, but it is far more difficult to do so than with a standard shoelace knot.
 

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