Just about all boots rely on them, so make sure you’re get­ting the best out of your laces.

Trail (UK) - - Skills -

Walk­ing boot laces need to be tight­ened enough so they are firm, but do not re­strict foot move­ment or cir­cu­la­tion. So they should feel com­fort­able and al­low an­kle move­ment, while keep­ing the heel in place to pre­vent blis­ters.

Laces of­ten in­cor­po­rate syn­thetic fi­bres, which make them slip­pery and less prone to wear from fric­tion. Such fi­bres al­lows the laces to slip a lit­tle through the eye­lets and move with your foot for com­fort. The draw­back, though, is that they can loosen dur­ing a walk.

Var­i­ous lac­ing pat­terns and tech­niques can help hold your foot in place and pre­vent laces slip­ping.

Sur­geon's knot

Lace your boots as usual up the fore­foot, but be­fore con­tin­u­ing on to the an­kle, wind the laces around each other two or three times (left). This cre­ates ex­tra fric­tion and pre­vents the laces loos­en­ing be­low this point. This is great for main­tain­ing a snug fit around the fore­foot while leav­ing the an­kle more mo­bile.

Re­versed eye­lets

When wind­ing the laces through the hooked eye­lets near the top of the boot, thread them from the top down, then back over them­selves to the next eye­let (above right). This also in­creases fric­tion for a snug­ger fit and less slip­page. It’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that on easy ter­rain there may be no need to lace your boot all the way to the top, fur­ther im­prov­ing an­kle mo­bil­ity.

These lac­ing tech­niques can be used in com­bi­na­tion to cre­ate the per­fect bal­ance be­tween a ro­bustly laced boot, with min­i­mal lace slip­page and free­dom of an­kle move­ment, for blis­ter-free com­fort.

Learn­ing to lace up cor­rectly helps en­sure com­fort and safety out on the hills.

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