Recently, I have seen 3 ankle sprains occur and all 3 had something in common…the last eyelet was not used to tie their shoelaces. Could poorly tied shoelaces have led to the sprains?
Well, as with most injuries, ankle sprains can be multifactorial and maybe the missed eyelet was only one factor. However, it is a factor that could have minimised the risk. The other thing we know about basketball and ankle sprains is that sometimes, they just happen despite doing everything to minimise risk. Landing on another players foot can be game over despite doing everything to minimise risk. Meaning that just tying your shoelace properly will not suddenly result in no risk of ankle sprains. However, why take the risk?
When I asked ‘why have you tied your shoelaces like that?’ One of the 3 players was actually quoted as saying ‘I prefer the look without them tied up properly!’ Insert facepalm emoji here. Now…I know I am about to sound like an old man here (probably because I am an old man) but I would definitely prefer function and minimising risk over style.
If you have had recurrent ankle sprains could the way you tie your shoelaces be one of the factors for you? Read on to find out how to secure your ankle better. I will also cover off other common foot pain issues and their shoelace solutions.
Missing the last eyelet when tying your shoelaces
Notice in the picture below (on the left) how missing the last eyelet reduces support around the ankle. This flaring at the top of the boot reduces support and creates the potential for heel slip. Weaving your shoelaces through the last eyelet (on the right) secures the boot/shoe around the ankle.
Using a heel lock to tie your shoelaces
Are you still struggling to get a snug fit even using the last eyelet? Find your boots or shoes slip and cause heel blisters? Use a heel lock.
This shoelace technique ensures a snug fit around the circumference of the boot/shoe. However, it can also put additional stress on the Achilles tendon so be wary of how tight you keep your shoelaces.
Once you’ve weaved your shoelaces through the second to last eyelet, insert the shoelace into the last eyelet on the same side. Then, extend that same lace across and through the loop you’ve made on the opposite side. This method locks your heel into place and keeps your shoe snug all around the top of the shoe.
Other foot issues and shoelace techniques
Today’s mass-produced basketball shoes often don’t accommodate individual feet. Feet which may be wide or narrow or have arches that are high or low. In these cases, the footwear can cause pressure on various parts of your feet. Potentially leading to foot pain. Simply retying your shoes can make adjustments for these individual differences, and in some cases, ease your pain.
Below breaks down various methods beyond the basic shoelace techniques.
Shoelaces for toe pain
The diagonal lacing can lift the toe box and follows the natural curvature of your foot.
This shoelace technique reduces pressure on your toes and can lessen the chances of black toenails. Although, somebody landing on your toes when rebounding is a sure-fire way to still end up with a black toenail.
Start off by taking one end of the shoelace, feeding it through the bottom eyelet and then diagonally up to the top eyelet. Then, with the other end, weave your up the shoe. Once you get to the top, you then tie the shoelaces as you normally would.
Shoelaces for a wide forefoot
Missing out the weave near the toes can open up the shoe and gives your forefoot more space.
Feed the shoelace through the first eyelet and then lace directly up to the next eyelet on the same side. From here you can then weave the shoelace normally.
Shoelace for a generally wide foot
If you are someone with wide feet in general. This technique may be best for you as it can loosen out the entire shoe and give your feet space. Start from the beginning, and weave your laces through the first eyelet as you usually would. Then, skip an eyelet each row, and tie normally at the top.
Shoelace for a high arch/mid-foot
Notice the gap in the mid-portion of the tongue. This reduces pressure above a high arch or midfoot. Use the bottom and top eyelets as normal while skipping the middle. The foot should stay snug and in place while offering relief above your arch.
However, please do not leave your shoelaces untied like in the pic. That is a very quick way to injure yourself! Probably should have noticed before I uploaded the picture.
For other shoelace techniques and methods (including for narrow feet), as well as video tutorials, visit run repeat.
Remember, these resources should not replace diagnosis and management from a medical professional. Always check before you follow the guidance. Shoe lacing techniques may not provide a long-term solution to your foot problems. If pain persists, seek an assessment from your chosen therapist/ rehabilitator/ medical professional.
If you have any questions…feel free to leave a comment or drop us an email.
Finally, we are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Kyrie 7s or Nike.