How to Lace Running Shoes for Numb Toes? (5 Amazing Lacing Techniques)

Running is an intense exercise for the body in which you always desire to strive for comfy fit shoes which enhances your comfort. A perfect lacing of running shoes may help runners cushion and comfort their feet and provide a good fit for them with specific foot types.

It’s evident that most runners suffer from numbness in the feet, whether it is a result of overrunning, a change in the running surface, new running shoes, poor training, etc. Amateur runners don’t exactly know how to correctly lace their running shoes so that they don’t squeeze or crumble their feet, which can cause numb toes. This is because too much pressure under the forefoot can compress the nerves, affecting blood flow. In this guide, I’ll explain a step-by-step method to your running shoes up in a manner that would avoid numb toes.

Also Read: Can Adults Wear Junior Running Shoes

Why Do Feet Toes Numb in Running?

Having numb feet or toes can be caused by several reasons, but the most common is poor circulation. Numbness is the sensation your body sends you to let you know that there is no blood flow to the area. This could be because of poor circulation, neuropathy, or even an infection.

If your feet or toes are numb while wearing your new pair of running shoes, it can be caused by a few different factors. One of these is the shoes themselves. If you are experiencing numbness, the shoes are too small for your wide feet. This can cause your toes to stick out of the shoes, putting constant pressure on them. To prevent this, get shoes that are one size bigger than you normally wear. Runners suggest that there should be a spacing of thumb width between your big toe and shoes front.

If you feel pain and excessive pressure on your foot, you might have Morton’s Neuroma and numbness in your foot. Morton’s Neuroma is painful condition occurs when the nerve in your foot is damaged, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. This can cause numbness in your toes, but it can also cause pain. This may be caused by shoes that have too tight space.

To prevent this, first, you need to select the right category of running shoes with the correct fit and proper shoe lacing. To determine your foot type, you can consider the following points.

  • With a regularly laced shoe, if the bone on the top of your foot is a bit down from the ankle and too snug in the shoe, you’ve a high instep.
  • If the front third of your foot is constricted, you’ve wide forefoot
  • If the front third of your foot moves around, you have a narrow forefoot

Furthermore, the fit of your feet depends entirely on the shoes last. Your foot is a three-dimensional structure. It’s not about only length and foot. The last of shoe is a mold around which the shoes upper is pressed to give a shape. So, you need to find a running shoes brand that makes running shoes perfectly matching your feet. For large and wide feet, New Balance, Brooks, Altra, and ASICS running shoes might be the choice for you. Nike running shoes generally run small.

Another common reason for numbness in the foot is a side effect of a poor running form.  This is particularly true if you’re a heel striker, which most runners are.  According to the research, heel striking causes a higher impact and vertical loading on your feet, which can cause numbness to set in. 

If you’re a forefoot striker, you’ll cause less impact to your feet and lower vertical loading.  This would not cause numbness to set in.  To find out the extent of impact to your feet, you can use a running shoe with a metatarsal pad.  The metatarsal pad can be inserted into your shoe in a manner that allows you to feel the way your foot impacts the ground when you run.  If you’re a heel striker, it will feel harder than if you’re a forefoot striker. 

Buying the Right Shoes to Alleviate Toe Numbness

Before explaining the lacing technique for numb toes, you need first to buy a suitable running shoe pair based on your foot shape. If the shoe design doesn’t conform to your foot’s structure, the lacing technique solution will be vain.

You also need to consider that your shoe size cannot be identical across the board. If you’re 8.5 in dress shoes, you might be 9 or 9.5 in running shoes or athletic sneakers. For more info, you can check my article on dress shoe size vs. running shoes.

If you’ve high arches, it is better to buy a pair of shoes with a deep toe box. A deep toe box means the shoe liner is spacious, so your feet could be more relaxed, and the lacing technique solution won’t be constrained.

Similarly, if you’ve flat feet, the excessive weight of your body is not equally distributed, due to which the nerves of your feet become compressed, resulting in numbness. So, you need to select running shoes with lateral and orthotic support to distribute your body weight evenly.

Also Read: Can Women Wear Men’s Running Shoes

How to Lace Running Shoes for Numb Toes

Before you’re going to read the lacing technique, I’d suggest you first find the running shoe that fits perfectly to your feet. You should measure your foot width and size on the Brannock device. If you’ve confusion regarding foot widths, you can check out my article on the difference between foot widths to get the correct width of running shoes.

There can be different scenarios for numb toes, as everyone has a unique foot shape. So, I’ve discussed all possible approaches for lacing techniques of running shoes you can adopt for numb toes. The

1. Lacing Technique for Numb Toes Due to High Arches

The firsttechnique is for runners who have high foot instep, due to which the upper of shoes exerts excessive pressure on the foot. It is shown in the figure below.

Lacing Technique for Numb Toes Due to High Arches

This method was recommended by a runner whose feet used to go numb after running more than 2.5 to 3 miles. If you’ve high instep and the running shoes don’t offer a deep toe box, you can apply this technique. It can offer more forefoot space. In this method of running shoe lacing technique for numb toe, apply the following steps:

  • Start with the crisscross lace as usual.
  • Skip the mid part i.e. pass the lace through the sides only.
  • For the next set of shoes eyelets, again follow the usual pattern.

2. Lacing Technique for Wide Forefoot

If you’ve wide forefoot, there are the chances that the sidewall of the shoes apply pressure to the lateral sides of the foot. In this case, the counter-pressure may cause parts of the foot, including the little toe, to go numb. This lacing technique gives more room for the forefoot to expand while running for long distances.

You can follow this lacing style in the picture below to prevent your numb toes due to the wide forefoot.

Lacing Technique for Wide Forefoot
  • Start with crisscross lacing as usual up to the set of eyelets at the forefoot.
  • This time, skip the part at the forefoot for a relaxed fit in the forefoot.

3. Lacing Technique for Wide Forefoot and High Instep

If you have a wide forefoot and very high instep, you need to apply the combination of the above two lacing methods for numb toes, as shown in the picture below.

Lacing Technique for Wide Forefoot and High Instep

4. Lacing Style for Fat or Swollen Feet

This lacing technique is called “parallel lacing style.” Numb toes can also be caused, if you’ve throughout fat feet due to which your running shoes exert pressure on your foot from all sides. The lacing technique is shown in the image below.

Lacing Style for Fat or Swollen Feet

Instead of the usual crisscross pattern, you need to string your shoelace in a parallel pattern to each set of eyelets. In this way, this parallel fashion of laces will create an overall relaxed fit in your running shoes.

5. Lacing Technique for Black Toenail/Toe Pain

This lacing technique helps to relieve the pressure on the top of your toe. Use this technique if you don’t have a wide foot or high instep issue. The lacing technique is shown in the image below.

Lacing Technique for Black Toenail/Toe Pain
  • Using the eyelet closest to your toe, pass the shoelace through.
  • String the end through the eyelet closest to the ankle on the opposite side.
  • Pass the other end of the lace over another eyelet near the toes.
  • Keep doing the crisscross lace as usual.
  • To finish, you should have a diagonal lace that can be easily adjusted or lifted for more room for the toes.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this about how to lace running shoes for numb toes. Toe numbness is something that most runners have experienced at one time or another. If your toes are numb, the best first step is to try and improve your circulation by first moving your feet around and wiggling your toes.

The goal is to get the blood flowing and to start waking up the nerves and getting them firing again. If this doesn’t help, you should try to buy shoes that fit correctly. Shoes that are too big can rub up against your toes and cause problems. Shoes that are too small can put pressure on your toes and cause numbness and other foot problems such as blisters and corns.

The different lacing techniques for running shoes will help adjust the fit of your shoes according to your foot structure.

If the issue still persists after trying each technique for numb toes, I’d recommend you should see a podiatrist who could diagnose your feet.

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