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Happy Trail Running Feet: Two Simple Ways to Help Prevent Blisters and Improve Shoe Fit

Blisters and running – Not so fun a combination.

Throughout my last 10+ years of endurance sports, most of those running miles have been on the road. Rarely did I get a blister. Simply toss on the shoes, snug them up a bit, tie the laces and go. Smooth and predictable surfaces – No worries.

The trail can be quite a different creature. The terrain is often quite varied and may contain rocks, ledges, roots, and wacky slopes, water, mud, and just about anything else you can think of that exists in nature.

Bandera 100 km – A sweet Texas race.

The forces placed on those cute footsies may come from nearly every direction which creates many new opportunities to develop hot-spots or the painful and visually stunning blister.

I have recently learned and been implementing two simple and quick ways to get the feet snugly tucked into those shoes.

Check them out.

Knock Three Times

Simply place your foot in your shoe and before snugging up the laces, raise your foot and confidently tap the outer heel portion of the sole three times against the ground.

This helps the heel get tucked into the back of the shoe and creates a more secure fit. I first tried this technique with a new pair of shoes and I probably gained a half inch of toe room. Crazy!

Lacing – Loop Lock High

Wendy has been using this unique lacing method to lock her heel within her road shoes and has liked the snug fit it provides. I also noticed INOV-8 recommends this and other similar lacing methods and states that it can prevent heel movement (can cause blisters) and help the toes from getting smashed in the toe-box during gnarly descents.

Fancy-dancy Loop Lock High How-To:

1. Feed the shoe lace into the lower of the two upper eyelets.

2. Loop that same lace in the upper eyelet.

3. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Guide the laces through the loops located on the opposite side of the shoe.

5. Snug up the laces and you will notice the suction-like fit through the heel / midfoot area.

The foot tap along with this fancy dancy lacing was a noticeable combination that blended and secured the shoe with the foot. I dig it!

Warning! You can over-snug up the fit with this or any lacing method due to putting excessive pressure to the top of your foot which can also create unhappy feet and discomfort. Gradually progress to find your sweet spot.


If your are looking for ways to reduce blister action and keep those trail running feet happy, both of these methods may be worth a try.

Are there any other shoe tips that have worked for you?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

4 Responses to “Happy Trail Running Feet: Two Simple Ways to Help Prevent Blisters and Improve Shoe Fit”

  1. on 14 Oct 2010 at 9:24 am Mark

    Interesting. I will have to try that out

  2. on 14 Oct 2010 at 11:18 am Harold Neiper

    Been using that lacing technique for about a year now and it works very well for keeping the foot locked in place. I couple this with the “Shoe Shop (technique 1)” lacing to help with big toe issues too. Demonstration can be found here: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1321372274?bctid=1325126871

  3. on 14 Oct 2010 at 6:49 pm Julie

    I am going to try this out at Palo Duro this weekend. Got my shoes laced and ready! Thanks for another great tip!

  4. on 16 Oct 2010 at 2:19 pm David Hanenburg

    Mark – When you give it a try, let me know what you think.

    Harold – Great to hear! Also thanks for the additional tip.

    Julie – Have a great PD! Look forward to hearing about it.