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How to lace up your hiking boots

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Though the idea of tying up your shoes sounds simple, it isn’t all straightforward. Hiking is very different from walking down the street and for that reason you may need to lace up your boots a little differently. The benefits of this are vast because tying it up wrong can leave you in a world of blister pain and feeling like every kilometre is far further than it really is.

Today we will cover the three main methods of tying up your boots which are the Surgeon’s Knot, Window Lacing and Toe Relief Lacing.

Surgeon's Knot

This knot is intended to better secure your foot and tighten up some of that loose space around your ankle and foot. It stops excessive movement within your boot and is certainly helpful in reducing the friction on your foot. To apply it you need to:

  1. Tighten up the base of your laces .

  2. Find your hooks on the side of your boot, depending on your boots you may have multiple pairs.

  3. Tie the laces around each other like you would usually but with one extra twist.

  4. Do this for each set of hooks present on your boots.

  5. Finish off tying your shoes in the usual way.

The benefits of using this lace is the secure grip it places on your boot and is at the core of most of the lace up methods you will find below like the Window Lacing and Toe-Relief Lacing.

Here is a video which walks you through the steps.

Window Lacing

When pressure starts to build on your upper foot you may want to consider using a Window Lacing to relieve some of this pressure allowing for a nicer walking experience. To apply this lacing technique to your boot you need to:

  1. Unlace you boot right down to the area where you are feeling pressure.

  2. Relace your boot moving straight up each side with the laces rather than crossed.

  3. Once past the area of pressure, resume regular crossed lacing and tie up your boot with the surgeon’s knot.

The benefits of this method of lacing can be huge for someone who is experiencing some pain in their upper foot area. As you walk this should help relieve some of the pressure and allow for a more comfortable fit on your foot.

Here is a video which walks you through the steps.

Toe-Relief Lacing

Toes can be a huge source of pain for some hikers and that is why this ‘Toe-Relief’ Lacing can be such a huge winner when toe pain starts to hit. This very simple change to your boot can offer much needed space for your toes, giving them a little more room to wiggle and adjust to the terrain. To apply this one on your boot you need to:

  1. Unlace your entire boot.

  2. Relace the boot from the second set of hooks or rings, avoiding the pressure on your toes.

The benefits of these, as we stated above, is the relief on your toes by removing the constriction that the laces help create around the lower foot region. If your toes are starting to really feel the effect of a hike then consider retying your laces with this technique to take the pressure off.

Here is a video which walks you through the steps.

So before you set off on your next hiking trip try brushing up on your boot lacing so that when your feet start to get sore you know exactly how to relieve the pain and make them feel like new. It's also important to note that these are not all the ways you can tie your laces, in fact there are tons of ways but we have listed these three because they are the most useful and simple to remember.

One last thing to add is to always bring a spare set of boot laces with you as they can be very helpful while hiking and not just for tying up your boots.

Written by Josh Welch


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