Getting the Most Out of Your Shoes

Lacing for Performance

When looking at your shoes, have you ever wondered what the purpose of the nearest eyelet to your ankle is? Many individuals, using this eyelet, state they feel added support. In order to get the maximum amount of support, utilizing this eyelet, there is a specific lacing pattern called the “high 7-eyelet lacing pattern.” According to Hagen and Hennig (1), this pattern for tying your shoes, with a moderate amount of tension, significantly reduces pressure underneath the heel and outer forefoot, as well as reducing the loading rate and the velocity of pronation associated with walking and running. Depending on the running mechanics and strain experienced with walking or running, this technique may reduce the risk of related injuries. Below is a picture series to help guide you through lacing with the high 7-eyelet. 

Shoe Lacing Start Shoe Lacing Middle Shoe Lacing Final

Starting from the Bottom

There are three main shapes of a shoe’s bottom molding that are important to consider when buying your next pair. Manufacturers typically develop shoes in three categories: motion control, stability, and cushion shoes, designed for low, neutral and high arched individuals respectively.(2) 

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(A)The curvature of these shoes mimics the footprint typically found in high arched individuals. There is an increased curve from the back of the heel (rearfoot) to the tip of the toe box (forefoot). 
(B)These shoes have a slight curve and are seen with neutral foot individuals.
(C)There is no curvature associated with these shoes; best suited for flat foot individuals.

An easy way to identify the angle of your foot is by looking at your footprint on a rug, after a shower. If there is no curve, a straight or motion control shoe might be right for you (C). If there is a slight curvature, a stability shoe might be a good fit (B); while an excessive curve (don't over analyze here), might match best with a cushion shoe (A).

Manufacturers are starting to produce more shoes which utilize a combination of these features, in different parts of the bottom molding. It is great having more options, but without the expertise of a trained expert to help guide you in the variety of choices, more problems may arise. And let’s be honest, we tend to buy what looks great over what is functional. Hopefully, these two tips help guide you when purchasing and maximizing your shoes’ potential.

 

1) Hagen M, Hennig E, Effects of different shoe-lacing patterns on the biomechanics of running shoes. J Sports Sci. 2008; Dec 24: 1-9.
2) Michaud T. Injury-Free Running: How to Build Strength, Improve Form, and Treat/Prevent Injuries. 2013; 126-127