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Lacing hiking boots seems like a straightforward activity, doesn't it?
Except that if your feet are prone to problems, how you lace your hiking boots is one of the most effective weapons you have against foot issues on the trail.
These How To tips will help you get those hiking boots laced up correctly.
And these foot injury prevention strategies can be used, too.
You have my permission to play around with the different "zones" of lacing on your boots: ankle, top of foot, toes.
Because that's how you're going to get into the best hiking terrain, right?
Blisters are at the top of the list of most common foot problems plaguing hikers.
Here is an entire page of blister prevention ideas.
Followed by blister treatment ideas.
But rest assured, there are specific boot lacing tricks for blister prevention, focused on the zones of your boots.
Here's a great overview in an entertaining video. It takes you through which areas of the boot to pay attention to, and gives you some lacing tips to prevent blisters.
Every hiker has a particular set of foot issues, including unique shapes and volumes:
You know you have boot issues when you get feedback from your feet in the form of aching, pressure, sensitivity, bruising and cramps.
You don't want to compress tissues and slow down blood flow into, and most importantly out of, your feet!
Here's a boot lacing trick if you have a high arch that presses the top of your foot against your boot:
Long steep trail descents also make you a candidate for this pressure relieving technique.
As do swollen feet near the end of a long hard hike.
Don't overlook it!
Another pressure relieving approach:
Sometimes you need to lock your foot down tight into your boots, whether due to terrain, the hiking socks you've donned, or a boot that is too big/long or has a short toe box for your foot.
Use the well named heel lock approach to make sure your heel doesn't slip inside your boot.
Here's a written, and visual, explanation of exactly how to keep your foot from slipping inside your boots.
Note: If your feet are sensitive to pressure due to high arches, try something different. The heel lock techniques are for what is referred to as "low volume" hiking feet.
What can I say?
Punishing your toes and toenails because you didn't lace up your hiking boots properly is something you'd be smart to skip on the hiking trail of life.
Read this whimsical description of how to beat up your toes, and be sure to do the opposite of his advice to prevent ugly toenails.
Don't ignore the customization features on your hiking boots called laces.
Some boots have eyelets.
Other hiking boots have a combination of hooks and eyelets.
And some will have boot lacing systems, like a set of cords acting as pulleys.
When you shop for boots, consider which lacing method is best for customizing the fit of the boots.
If you get to know your feet well, this will be make boot buying decisions much easier.
Tip: For the most control over slippage, pressure and hot spots, choose a boot which features old fashioned boot laces and eyelets.
And don't be afraid to get inventive with the scientific method of trial and error.
One last word of wisdom: Give up the myth of the perfect hiking boot. It ain't out there. Work with what you've got!
And read these boot buying tips to be sure that what you've got is the best fit for your hiking feet.
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