How Do You Lace Hiking Trail Runners? (Find OUT)

Hiking trail runners are an essential piece of kit for anyone who appreciates their feet. They’re light, flexible, and durable and they can let you get away with wearing them in situations where your other shoes would be inappropriate. 

But if you lace up hiking trail runners incorrectly, they’ll fall apart underfoot. To keep your laces from fraying or coming loose as quickly as possible, here are some useful tips for tying them up properly:

How to Lace a Hiking Boot For Better Fit – YouTube
Lacing techniques play a crucial role in optimizing the fit of hiking trail runners.
Proper lacing can enhance comfort, stability, and support during hiking activities.
Different lacing methods can address specific foot issues such as heel slippage or pressure points.
Certain lacing techniques can improve downhill stability by securing the heel and preventing forward movement.
The choice of lacing technique can impact the overall performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
Lacing techniques can be adjusted to accommodate narrow or wide feet for a better fit.

Don’t Get The Lacing Wrong!

Lace your trail runners too tight, and you’ll be feeling every rock and pebble on a rocky trail. Lace them too loose, and they’ll give you blisters from being so sloppy. 

Get the lacing just right, however, and you’ll be able to run for miles without even feeling like your shoes are there at all. It’s possible to get this balance right with practice—and I can help you along the way!

Don’t lace your shoes too tight: When is a shoe not considered “too tight?” If it’s causing pain in any part of your foot or leg after running or hiking in them for more than 10 minutes at a time (or if they’re causing blisters). 

This means that if there are any signs of discomfort when wearing them (i.e., hot spots), then chances are good that something needs adjusting before heading out on an actual hike with those particular shoes laced up just so.

Don’t lace your shoes too loose: Again, this should go without saying…but we’re talking about proper fit here; so no matter how comfortable they might feel while sitting around doing nothing but watching TV or reading while still wearing those same exact pair of laces from earlier today—they won’t be ideal underfoot during activity.

Don’t lace them too high/low/tight on instep: As mentioned above regarding pressure points within each individual’s unique anatomy; some people need more room between their toes than others do; which means either leaving extra slack in those areas by using longer length shoelaces than necessary; OR putting less tension onto certain areas by using shorter length shoelaces than needed (or none at all depending on preference).

When it comes to lacing your hiking trail runners, it’s essential to find the right technique that suits your comfort and performance. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to lace hiking trail runners to optimize your fit and enhance your hiking experience.

Don’t Worry About What Lacing Method You Use

There are many ways to lace your shoes. This can be a source of confusion for hikers who have never laced their shoes before, so we’re going to cover all the different lacing methods you could use and how each one works.

One thing to keep in mind: no matter which lacing method you choose, it’s important that you get the lacing right! 

If you don’t tighten them enough, they will come undone and cause blisters on your feet; if they’re too tight, then it will be painful running around with snug boots on every day (and possibly cause blisters).

The main difference between each method is how many times each pair of holes are crossed over by the shoelaces so whether it’s three times or seven times depends mostly on what look you’re going for!

Lacing MethodDescription
Over-Under LacingCrisscross lacing pattern that evenly distributes pressure and provides a secure fit.
Straight Bar LacingStraight across lacing pattern that offers a simple and neat appearance.
Loop LacingCreates loops instead of crossing, improving downhill stability and preventing heel slippage.
Heel Lock LacingCreates a secure fit by locking the heel in place, reducing friction and preventing blisters.
Window LacingRelieves pressure on the top of the foot by creating additional space.
Quick-Lace SystemUtilizes a specialized lacing system with adjustable tension for fast and easy lacing.
Boa Lacing SystemUtilizes a dial system to tighten the laces for a precise fit and quick adjustments.

Tie A Double Knot

The next step is to tie a double knot. This helps prevent the laces from coming untied, which can be an annoyance when you’re hiking through rocky terrain or thick brush. 

Tie your laces tight enough that they don’t slip around on your feet, but not so tight that they cut off circulation and cause discomfort.

Be sure to remember to double knot! It’s easy to forget this step if you’ve been wearing sneakers for years, but you’ll be glad if you remember it here it’ll help keep your trail runners snugly in place without slipping too much or falling out of place.

Don’t Overwrap Your Ankle

You don’t want to wrap the laces around your ankle too many times, as it can lead to blisters. The best way to avoid this is make sure the laces are loose enough so that the shoe fits comfortably on your foot without being too tight.

Don’t worry about over-lacing your trail runners in the beginning, but if you find yourself getting blisters after a few runs and/or miles, loosen up!

Embarking on a hiking adventure requires proper preparation and the right equipment. Discover the essential gear you should pack by exploring our article on the 6 hiking essentials. Be well-prepared and ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Pull Tight, But Not Too Tight

Next, pull tight but not too tight. You want the laces to feel snug against your foot, but not so tight that they cut off circulation or cause discomfort. 

The best way to test this is with a few trial runs in the store before you buy your shoes and during regular use once you’ve bought them.

When laced correctly, you should be able to wiggle your toes in your shoes and fit two fingers between the laces and your foot but no more than that.

Cross Your Laces At A Low Point On Your Foot

It’s important to cross the laces at a low point on your foot. If you cross them at a high point, it will cut into your ankle and cause chafing. 

Crossing them at the correct height will help keep the laces in place without being tight or uncomfortable.

Lacing TechniqueDescription
Crisscross LacingTraditional lacing method that crosses the laces over each other at a low point on the foot for a secure fit.
Lock LacingLacing technique that creates a secure lock at a low point on the foot, preventing slippage and maintaining stability.
Diagonal LacingLacing pattern that forms diagonal lines across the foot, crossing at a low point to provide a snug and supportive fit.
Surgeon’s Knot LacingTechnique that involves tying an additional knot at a low point on the foot to secure the laces tightly and prevent loosening.
Footprint LacingLacing method inspired by the foot’s natural shape, crossing the laces at a low point to optimize comfort and fit.

Use A Lock-Lacing System

For those who want to keep their laces tight and secure, a lock-lacing system is the way to go. They’re easy to use with any type of shoe and will provide you with more support than standard lacing. 

A few different companies make these systems, but we recommend Five Ten’s Stealth Lace System because it comes with two sets of locking hooks and one set that can be used on regular shoes (you can also order additional locking hooks separately). 

You can even use this system with other types of lacing systems, like crisscrossed or raked ones.

Maintaining stability and balance while hiking is crucial to prevent falls and injuries. Learn valuable tips on how to keep from falling when hiking and make your outdoor excursions safer and more enjoyable.

Tuck The Lace Ends Up Into Your Shoe

Tucking the laces up into your shoe will keep them from getting caught on anything. This also keeps them from flopping around, which can cause dangerous tripping hazards. If you don’t tuck the laces, they will get caught and cause an injury.

Trekking poles can provide significant support and enhance your hiking experience. Discover different methods and techniques for carrying and using trekking poles in our informative guide. Get ready to conquer challenging terrains with confidence.

Skip The Toe Cap Lock

You can skip the toe cap lock, because it’s not necessary.

Hiking trail runners do not require a toe cap lock. This is because hiking shoes are designed to be worn as an outer shoe, protecting your feet from the elements and providing comfort while walking on trails or other unpaved areas. 

They feature a waterproof exterior and may have a Gore-Tex lining, which makes them ideal for wearing in wet weather conditions that cause other types of footwear to become wet and uncomfortable (e.g., rain boots).

Most hikers will find it easier to lace up their shoes without using a lock mechanism; however, if you’re worried about your laces coming untied during a hike (which could lead to tripping), then consider using one if needed!

Lacing MethodDescription
Crisscross LacingTraditional lacing method that secures the shoe without a specific toe cap lock, providing a balanced fit.
Straight Bar LacingLacing technique that skips the toe cap lock, offering a simple and clean appearance while still maintaining a secure fit.
Heel Lock LacingLacing pattern that focuses on locking the heel without incorporating a toe cap lock, ensuring stability and preventing slippage.
Quick-Lace SystemSpecialized lacing system that eliminates the need for a toe cap lock, providing quick and adjustable tension for convenience.
Boa Lacing SystemInnovative dial-based lacing system that secures the shoe without a toe cap lock, allowing precise fit adjustments with ease.

Skip The Heel Lock

An oft-recommended alternative to lacing your shoes is using the heel lock, which sounds like a great idea. 

After all, if you’re running on trails, and not roads, where you may encounter rocks or other obstacles underfoot that could cause injury to your foot or ankle if it were caught in an untied shoe (and don’t even get me started on how much I hate tying my shoes), wouldn’t it make sense to be able to secure the fit of your running shoes right at the back?

It’s true that a heel lock will keep your foot from slipping out of certain types of shoes during road runs in fact, they’ve been used by runners for decades. 

But they’re not suitable for off-road terrain because they can create friction points between the laces and material on either side of them. 

That friction causes unnecessary wear on both materials while also decreasing their lifespan over time due to fraying around those areas where there was contact between them during previous jaunts around town or through nature’s wildest parts.

Hiking can be a fantastic activity, but it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and conditions that may lead to injuries. Explore our article on whether you can get runner’s knee from hiking to understand the causes, prevention strategies, and how to maintain knee health during your outdoor adventures.


If you want to lace up your hiking shoes, we say go for it! We hope that this post has given you a few ideas on how to do so and help make the process easier for yourself.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the topic of lacing hiking trail runners and related information:

  • Lacing Techniques for Running Shoes: REI provides expert advice on various lacing techniques for running shoes, offering insights into different methods to achieve a comfortable and secure fit.
  • Trail Shoe Lacing Tricks: Trail Runner Magazine shares useful tips and tricks for lacing trail shoes, including specific techniques that can address common foot issues and enhance performance on the trails.
  • How to Tie Hiking Boots: Backpacker provides a comprehensive guide on how to tie hiking boots properly, ensuring a snug fit and preventing discomfort or blisters during your hiking adventures.


Here are some frequently asked questions about lacing hiking trail runners:

How important is the lacing technique for hiking trail runners?

The lacing technique plays a significant role in providing a secure fit, preventing foot movement, and increasing comfort during hiking activities.

Are there specific lacing techniques to address foot pain or discomfort?

Yes, certain lacing techniques, such as the heel lock or window lacing, can help alleviate specific foot issues like heel slippage or pressure points.

Which lacing method is best for improving downhill stability?

The loop lacing method, where the laces create loops instead of crossing, can help enhance downhill stability by securing the heel and preventing it from sliding forward.

Can lacing techniques affect the overall performance of hiking trail runners?

Yes, different lacing techniques can influence the fit, support, and stability of the hiking trail runners, thereby impacting overall performance and reducing the risk of injuries.

Are there any lacing techniques specifically designed for narrow or wide feet?

Yes, there are lacing techniques like the parallel lacing or skip lacing that can accommodate narrow or wide feet by adjusting the tension and distribution of pressure across the foot.