Boot Lacing Technique

The relentless downhill grades at Grand Canyon and throughout canyon country can be pure torture on your feet—and especially on your toes! How do you tie your boots so that your feet don’t slide forward, causing you to hit your toes and toenails at the tip while still allowing some room for the swelling that naturally occurs? There is a way! Read on and view instructional images below…

You’ll notice that there are generally two types of eyelets on a good pair of hiking boots. The ones along the top of the foot are usually closed metal rings, and the ones going up from the inside of the ankle are the quick-release type.

What you’ll want to do is lace your shoes with some give through the lower eyelets—not snug but not real loose either. Then do a single very snug overhand loop with the laces just before you start lacing through the quick release eyelets. Lace through the first pair of quick release eyelets and then do another snug overhand loop. Lace through the next pair, and again, do another loop. Do this all the way to the top of the eyelets. Once you’ve tied your bootlaces, I recommend taking the two loops and tying them together—just like you do kid’s shoes.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.

Tying your boots in this manner allows some give for your feet to swell while snugly holding your foot towards the heel of the boot. If you want to know how effective this is, just tie one boot as you normally would and tie the other in this special way. You will be amazed—and very pleased! Now this isn’t the only effective method of tying your boot laces, but it is the one I have had so much success with while leading trips in the Canyon. Hope you find it useful as well.

One final note. Don’t tie your boots too tightly near the top of the ankle; you don’t want to cut off your circulation or give yourselves blisters near your ankle!

Important tip: Clip your toenails as short as possible just before your hike, and ladies, I don’t mean a manicure at the beauty salon! You need to clip them so there is no extra nail length at all. If needed after clipping, file down until your nails are flush with the skin. (Straight across, not curved, to prevent hangnails.) They will grow back. But if you don’t get them as short as possible before your hike, it is possible to lose them and they could take up to a year to grow back!

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