‘I love the shoe but my heel slips.” Oh, those dreaded words.
Here are the top tips to try the next time your heel is slipping
Initially, a brand new shoe is stiff and the outsole doesn’t flex with your foot. Once you break it in – usually a few days – the flex point of the shoe starts to bend or break every time you take a step. Once that shoe flexes with your foot, then heel slipping will decrease. So if there is a ‘tiny’ bit of slipping initially, that will probably disappear with a few days of wear. If it doesn’t then check out the tips below.
- Going to a shorter size. Shorter shoe may reduce heel slipping but the downside is that it will jam your toe joints and compress the forefoot. This approach solves one problem but causes others and is never the answer.
- Tightening the shoelaces. Tightening laces pulls the upper tight around the foot and may help a tiny bit with slipping but it will, again, sacrifice the fit of the rest of the shoe and cause compression of the forefoot.
WHAT REALLY WORKS:
1. Lace locking – there are two excellent methods of lacing that will significantly reduce heel slipping. The rabbit hole method is probably the most widely used and because of this, shoes will often come with an extra hole along the collar of the shoe just to make this method more effective.
Rabbit Hole Method
Step 1 – Pull laces out of top hole and lace into the same side hole as shown, leaving two loops
Step 2 – Take ends and put through opposite loop
Step 3 – Tighten and tie bow as usual
Hiking Boot Method
This technique, borrowed from the hiking boot industry, works so well on hiking boots that we now use it for running shoes and well, all shoes!
Step 1 – Pull laces out of top hole and cross once
Step 2 – Cross laces again so they are looped or twisted around each other
Step 3 & 4 – Lace back into top hole.
When you tighten this, hold one lace firmly and pull hard with the other lace. This easily pulls the collar of the shoe snugly around the ankle.
The advantage of this method is that once this looping of laces is done, you don’t have to do it every time you tie your shoes. Another advantage is that it tightens only around the ankle. You can leave the rest of the laces as loose as you want and your heel will not slip.
2. Tongue Pads Another option it to adhere tongue pads to the underside of the tongue. These are usually felt and and are ‘peel and stick’. The purpose of this pad is to force the foot back into the heel counter of the shoe. This prevents the foot from shifting and the heel securely in the heel counter.
3. Forefoot Cheaters. Forefoot cheaters are thin, soft foam pads that are placed into the front of the shoe underneath the insole. It works the same was as the tongue pad by trying to fill up some volume of the shoe which prevents the heel from slipping.
For some, they simply need to accept that their heel is going to slip. There are some feet where no matter what fancy lacing or padding you try, it just doesn’t work. It’s important to remember that there is nothing negative about heel slipping – other than slightly annoying. There are so many important factors in shoe fitting and heel slipping is simply one of them. Slight heel slipping does not affect the performance of the shoe and the worst thing to do is to sacrifice the entire fit of the shoe just to prevent heel slipping.
There you go! Next shoe shopping trip, try these techniques so you will not be that customer complaining about heel slipping.