Those who wear running shoes as a fashion statement more than with a functional purpose in mind may have long been baffled by an extra hole at the top of the shoe. However, those who wear them for their intended use are well aware of its key role. More than mere decoration, it actually plays an important part in keeping feet free from blisters.
A video uploaded to YouTube in April 2015 demonstrates a method for tying shoes utilizing the “extra” holes. It was posted by a company called Illumiseen, which specializes in visibility equipment for runners and cyclists. The clip has more than 58 million views with around 1,000 comments, many along the lines, “I’ve finally learned how to properly tie my shoes.”
The shoe-tying method is called the “lace lock” or “heel lock.” When you tie your shoes, instead of crossing the laces at the top, you utilize the additional hole. Push the laces from front to back through the second hole, and create a loop on each side of the shoe. These loops will form the basis of the lock.
Then, cross the surplus lace over the front of the shoe and insert it through the loops you have just created. Continue pulling the laces back until the loops have tightened against the shoe. Then, just tie the shoe as you normally would. And that, very simply, is the lace or heel lock. So what is the idea behind the method?
Well, the benefits for the lace lock method are twofold. Firstly, it prevents movement of the shoe against the heel and other parts of the foot and therefore lessens the likelihood of blistering. Secondly, it stabilizes the foot inside the shoe, stopping the toes cramming to the front, generally making running shoes or hiking boots more comfortable to wear.