How to Lace Up Hiking Boots (3 Techniques Explained)

Hiking is a great pastime that is especially fun in the summer months. But before you can start marching, you need to lace up your hiking boots properly to avoid blisters and other foot problems.

But what is the best technique for tying hiking boots so that you can fully concentrate on the hike?

Learn what to consider when lacing your hiking boots and what lacing techniques I recommend.

Why is the right lacing technique important for hiking boots?

In addition to choosing your new hiking boots, the way you lace them up is especially important.

If you get blisters while hiking or your boots don’t fit as well as they should, the laces may be tied improperly.

Fortunately, a handful of effective lacing techniques for hiking boots can help.

Unfortunately, these lacing techniques have been somewhat forgotten, as there are hardly any well-trained shoemakers left.

By learning these methods, you may avoid the painful bumping of your toes against the front of your boots, heel lifting, and sore spots on your foot from the laces.

But even if your hiking boots are too big, you can still get a good fit with the right tying technique.

If you don’t want to spend the money on a bespoke pair of hiking boots, you’ll most likely need to change the fit of your boots using the lacing methods outlined here.

Because of individual differences between feet, you’ll unlikely find a pair of boots that fit both feet perfectly. Therefore, it is necessary to have several tools, including these advanced lacing techniques, in your boot fitting bag of tricks.

#1 Lace the walking boots with the heel lock

Blisters on your heel are usually caused by the inside of your shoe rubbing against the back of your heel as you walk forward.

This friction causes friction burns on the top of your foot and leads to blisters.

However, you can prevent the heel from lifting by using a heel lock lacing technique.

Instead of the normal diagonal back and forth lacing that most of us are familiar with, this lacing technique uses the open hooks on the side of the shoe. This creates a pulley-like system to keep the heel firmly in place.

I often use this lacing technique on winter hiking boots, and it works well to prevent heel lift.

It takes a little practice to tie it, but it’s worth learning.

You can use this technique on any boots, trail runners, or regular shoes where heel strike is a problem – It’s best to watch the tutorial in the video.

#2 The surgeon’s knot for hiking boots

Another important lacing technique is the so-called surgeon’s knot. It’s similar to the simple overhand loop you normally use when tying shoes.

But instead of doing it just once and then pulling, you do it two or even three times. This creates a friction-based closure that won’t come loose.

With the surgeon’s knot, you can isolate different parts of your lace from each other, creating tighter or looser areas.

For example, suppose you have a sore area on the top of your foot above the arch. You can tie your laces underneath, finish them off with a surgeon’s knot, and then tie the area above the sore area looser.

How to do this exactly is also shown in the video.

#3 The window lacing on the hiking boot

Window lacing is another useful lacing technique.

Rather of threading a lace diagonally to relieve strain on the top of the foot, use it vertically from one higher eyelet to the next, forming a gap in the lacing that relieves pressure.

This is beneficial for people with high arches or those who have painful hot spots on the top of their feet due to tight lacing.

Again, check out the explanation in the video.

Of course, there are more techniques for tying shoes.

With these three methods, you are well equipped to tie any hiking shoe properly.

Try different tying techniques on your hiking boots

Have you ever gone for a walk and had your laces untie three times?

That can be frustrating, especially when you’re in nowhere. That is why it’s crucial to play around with different tying styles.

You should try different ways of tying your hiking boots to avoid blisters and pain on your feet.

You have nothing to lose. Just give it a try!

Maybe a different technique will suit you better, and you can provide more comfort while hiking with little effort?

Especially when hiking with beginners, it is important to know 2 to 3 different lacing techniques to provide more comfort for the individual foot.

In the worst case, the beginner gets painful blisters after the first stage, and the tour must be aborted. All because the shoe was tied incorrectly.

I am sure that in this article above, you will find a suitable technique that meets the requirements of your feet.

Pay attention to the right places for hiking boots

Hiking boots and the laces that go with them are available in various designs. The hiking shoe usually has lacing, which is then matched to it.

Therefore, do not be too hasty with exchanging your laces.

But especially with inexpensive shoes, the quality is unsuitable for the individual shoe adjustment using the selected tying technique so that a swap can be worthwhile.

Which laces to choose depends on the type of hiking you do.

Finding the right laces for your hiking boot is not that easy. Many manufacturers today offer mostly different versions.

With this variety of laces, the question arises: Which are the right ones?

  • The laces should be flexible but not too much. This is important so that the lace can adapt to the shoe.
  • Furthermore, the laces should be durable but also inexpensive.
  • The laces should not be too long. A length of 1 to 1.5 m (depending on shoe size) is ideal for most hiking shoes, as the laces can be tied together and do not drag on the ground or flutter in the wind.

These are the criteria you should consider for your purchase of new laces.

In the end, it’s just a simple lace that serves to keep your shoe from falling off your foot – so don’t make it a new science!

Tip: If you are still looking for the right hiking shoe for you, you should read my comprehensive hiking shoe guide before. Just follow the link to access the article.

An extra tip against blisters while hiking

The lacing is perfect if your hiking boots fit well, yet your feet tend to blister when hiking. The following tip may help.

I got a tip that if you put on another thin pair of socks (ideally made of cotton) under your normal hiking socks, the friction on your foot is minimized.

The socks then rub against each other, and the foot is mostly spared.

I have tried this tip for test purposes, and I do not get blisters on foot.

Here can only confirm that the feet sweat significantly more and that I did not get blisters.

Many hikers swear by this tip. You just have to be careful that your hiking boot is not too tight by the second pair of hiking socks, which would be counterproductive.

Tip: There are now manufacturers who offer two-layer socks from the outset.

Have more questions about how to tie hiking boots properly?

You can contact me on Twitter. I’ll be happy to help you out.

With that in mind, have fun hiking!

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Hi, I'm Dave. I'm an avid outdoors and sports enthusiast who loves to share my passion with others. I publish the experiences I've gained over the years on Outdoormeta to give beginners helpful tips and bring people closer to the outdoors.

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