You just lace ‘em up and off you go… Surely, we learnt all we need to know about tying laces when we were kids. However, hiking boots and mountain boots are a bit different, and often have complex lacing systems. This makes it possible to adapt the fit to the shape of your foot, to prevent rubbing or for different types of terrain.
See our expert advice on how to tie walking boots properly. Don’t worry – it’s not difficult, you won’t need a degree in shoe design. The following tips and tricks can make a big difference.
Of course, your walking boots or mountain boots should fit well without using any lacing tricks. When it comes to fit, the size and also the width are decisive. (–> Find out more here: 4 tips for a perfect fit)
Once you have purchased your boots, you can use the lacing system to adjust the fit or to adapt to different situations. Most hiking boots and mountain boots fit over the ankle and are equipped with two-zone lacing. You use them to set different lacing tensions at different sections of the foot.
Before you set out on a tour, you tie your boots and check your laces – obviously. In the following gallery you can see how you should ideally proceed:
No two feet are the same. However, using the right lacing and lacing tricks can help make your boots fit your feet better. Here are the top tricks:
As lock lacing is a bit more complicated, we’ll show you here in the video:
You’ll be familiar with the situation: you tied your bootlaces securely before you set out, but after fifteen minutes they start to feel loose. “This is perfectly normal,” explains Andreas Settele. The force every time you step causes the lacing and the padding inside your boot to give slightly. The solution: simply stop for a minute and tighten your laces.
In addition, the shape of your feet alter during the course of a day’s hiking. Generally, they swell slightly. This can cause pressure points. The solution: Loosen your laces from time to time, to relieve the pressure.
Want to know how to lace hiking boots to prevent heel blisters? The solution is a simple one, tighten the laces at the area in question, to prevent your foot rubbing against the inner lining. (–> Find out more: How to avoid blisters when hiking)
“Adjusting the lacing is the quickest and easiest way to customise the way your boots fit”, says Andreas Settele. You can even adapt to different terrain by altering the fit in the middle of a hike.
The lacing system on hiking boots allows you to set different lace tensions at the two different zones. This allows you to adapt your boot according to the terrain. Here’s how you do it:
It’s not just how you lace your boots that determine fit and comfort, but also the type of laces you use. Depending on the boot type, laces will have different lengths and different shapes (round or flat). They also have different stretch properties. It’s best to use the original laces supplied with your boots, as they are designed to match the boot construction, the hooks and eyelets and the area of use.
It’s a good idea to waterproof your bootlaces when you clean your boots. If they are really dirty, wash your laces in warm water. This will also help them last longer, as dirt and sand can get inside the laces and cause the material to wear out faster. (–> Find out more: How to clean hiking boots)
Conclusion: It’s worth experimenting with different styles of lacing to see what works for you
It’s just such an easy way to improve the hiking comfort of your walking boots. And if your boots become uncomfortable, adapting the lacing can make all the difference – and save you having to invest in a new pair too.