Contributed by M.W. Byrne
Our world is rife with mysterious objects. Take for example the pinkie toe. It does nothing but make shoes harder to wear, gets frostbite, and repulses your significant other because it’s either freakishly long or tragically short. However, for all the mysteries that abound, there’s a few that serve an actual purpose. One of these is the bonus hole you’ve likely seen on your shoes, and then never used. Well, if you’re ready to step up your footwear game, here’s how to use the extra shoelace hole on your sneakers and become the envy of all you know.
What the extra shoelace hole does
The thing to know about that additional hole is that it serves a very specific purpose. It is not, as you may have heard, to let the demons out of your sneakers, but rather to actually put a shoelace through. This is done in order to accomplish something that is known as a lace lock, or a heel lock. It is also called a runner’s loop, because it obviously deserves three names. Its whole purpose is to give your shoes a better hold so that your foot and its terrifying little toe don’t go sliding all over the place, creating blisters.
How to create a lace lock
Believe it or not, you, with only your fingers, have the ability to employ the lace lock right now. You won’t even need to unlace your shoes all the way. Here’s how you need to make the bunny get over and around so that you can employ this magical device:
- Lace your shoes, or whoever’s you happen to have, up to the top. You should have at least one extra eyelet open, sitting there looking weird and smugly mocking your ignorance. The laces should hang on the outside of the shoe, as if they’re about to be tied.
- Take the ends and thread them into the extra eyelet, going from the outside of the shoe to the inside. Do not cross the laces over, but go straight from the top hole to the additional hole. This should create a loop on the exterior of your shoe with the laces between the top hole and the extra one.
- Now cross the laces over, putting the ends underneath the loops on either side.
- Tighten the laces. What should happen is the lace loop will tighten over the lace body.
- Have a pale ale or a stout to celebrate your new status as maestro of the sneaker.
That’s it. You’ve now created a lace lock.
How the heel lock works
By using the extra shoelace hole to create this loop, you’ve devised a more secure lacing mechanism that will pull the top of the shoe more snugly over your foot. It will give your foot more support as it grips, and should offer a more comfortable fit, especially if you’re out there kicking ass and taking names. The more active you are, the more important this is. By holding your foot in place during motion, you reduce hotspots and the potential for abrasions during your parkour routine or as you move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator.
Should you use a runner’s loop?
While the runner’s loop is often used by marathoners and athletes, anyone can benefit from it. The lace lock will often give anyone a better fit for their shoes, even if they never move faster than a mosey. Those with flat feet will likewise get a superior fit from their sneakers by using this method.
In addition to giving your shoes a hold like a wrestling champ, you can also increase the lifespan of your shoes with a runner’s loop. Because your foot is no longer sliding around like a politician caught having an affair, it’s not wearing away the heel or footbed of your shoe. This means you often won’t have padding wearing away as quickly. Thus, your footgear will last longer, saving you money and sparing you the humiliation of showing your holey, mismatched socks to the sexy people who are inevitably looking when you try on new shoes.
Runner’s loop for high arches
Understanding how to make a basic lock is good, but it may not be right for every foot. Some people will find that it puts too much pressure up on the top of their foot. This is common with people who have extremely high arches. However, you shouldn’t just abandon the lace lock altogether and set your shoes on fire, vowing to only ever wear velcro henceforth.
It’s good to know that you can use the lace lock even if you don’t lace your shoes all the way to the top. Sometimes you’ll want to skip the top hole and make the loop by jumping right from the second hole down up to the extra eyelet. This will still provide a good grip, but isn’t as firm. If you find your laces biting into the top of your foot like your mother-in-law’s comments, this can give you a better overall fit. Often it will work better than even standard lacing for a nice mix of comfort and function.
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