Have you ever wondered about that extra eyelet at the top of your running shoes? It's set back from the rest of the eyelets, so maybe you don't need to use it? Or maybe you do? And amidst this swirl of questions is yet another: Why is it there?
"The extra eyelet at the top of running shoes can be used for the runner's knot," says Dr. Scott Rand, sports medicine doctor at Houston Methodist. "This type of knot can help relieve foot pain — specifically pain over the top of feet that can be associated with running."
What is a runner's knot?
The runner's knot is a way of lacing your running shoes to create a tighter connection at the top of the foot, as well as to better anchor your heel.
"One of the most common causes of pain at the top of the foot is shoes that are too tight across the mid foot, which places constant pressure on the extensor tendons," explains Dr. Rand. "This can lead to extensor tendon tendinitis, which is annoying, painful and preventable."
Enter: The runner's knot.
"This type of knot decreases the pressure on the top of your foot by allowing you to loosen the laces lower down on your foot," explains Dr. Rand. "It also prevents your foot from sliding forward and slamming into the front of your shoe."
While shoe lacing may be at the root of your foot pain, Dr. Rand says there are a number of other things that are important to consider — such as your activity level, training loads and other mistakes you can make with your running shoes.
"If you have foot pain on the tops of your feet, try a runner's knot," says Dr. Rand. "But, no matter the cause, foot pain that occurs as your foot is striking the ground usually mandates a visit to the doctor."
How to tie a runner's knot
To lace your shoes using the runner's knot, follow these four steps:
- Starting with the lowermost eyelets, crisscross your laces as usual — but stop before lacing the last eyelet.
- Rather than crossing over to the eyelet on the opposite side, bring each lace to and through the eyelet directly above — creating a loop.
- Now crisscross each lace to the opposite side, lacing through the loop you just created.
- Pull tightly to lock the laces inside the loop and then tie your laces together tightly.