How to properly tighten and lace up long distance hiking boots?

For your comfort and safety in the mountains, properly fitting and lacing your boots is essential so you are well supported throughout the hike, both on the climb and descent.

It's not enough to have good boots, they must also be correctly fitted and laced up.

STEP 1: put your boot on properly

Putting your boot on properly means keeping a comfort zone above the toes so they don’t rub on the front of the boot.
To do this, we recommend you wedge your heel well into the back of the boot by using a sloping surface or tapping lightly a few times on the ground.

STEP 2: adjust the tightening of the bottom section

It’s very important to start lacing beginning with the lowest lacing rings and not pulling on the ends of the laces. Ring by ring, re-tighten the boot while keeping some flexibility inside.

Be careful not to tighten too much and risk cutting the blood circulation in the foot. To reduce the pressure from the laces on the instep, you have the option not to cross your laces there.
It's very important to feel comfortable in your boots and to find the fit that suits you best!

STEP 3: separate the bottom and top lacing

This means you can adjust the lacing to your foot shape giving your ankle more or less freedom. To lock this first fastening on the bottom section, make a simple knot at the instep or use the blocker on your boots if they have one.

STEP 4: tighten the top section

Cross your laces in the conventional way on the bottom hooks.

TIP: for the top hooks, don’t thread the laces from bottom to top but from top to bottom!
This tip has 2 advantages: the lace knot will be lower and won't bother you on steep inclines. What's more, if your lace know loosens a little then it will be more difficult for the laces to escape the hooks.

What's the right way to lace up your trekking shoes?

STEP 5: knot the laces with a more efficient knot than the double knot

Begin your knot as if you were going to make a classic knot but before pulling on the 2 buckles, put one of the buckles inside the knot.

This knot means your laces won't loosen on their own and it has the advantage of still being easy to undo at the end of the hike.

What's the right way to lace up your trekking shoes?


On high boots with hooks, the hooks of one boot can get caught in the lace buckles of the other boot depending on your walking style, the terrain, etc.

To avoid falling, check that your hooks aren't damaged or distorted, there is more risk if they're too “open”.

You can also cover the top of your boots with your trousers or a pair of gaiters or tuck your laces inside the boot (this last option isn’t the most comfortable).

How to adapt boot lacing depending on your foot shape?

There are different tightening techniques for the bottom section of the boot, find the one that suits you!
- For those with a wide foot, loosen the lace well beforehand so the foot maintains its mobility and isn’t squeezed when walking.
- For those with a narrow foot, double cross the laces to tighten the boot more.
- For those with a strong instep, on the instep we use a so-called straight lace.
- Finally, for those missing volume in the boot, add an insole to make up for it.

Once you have adapted the bottom of your shoe to your body shape, lock in the setting with the auto-blocker hook. If your boot doesn’t have this hook, just put the lace over and under the hook. Finally, put it over and under again to tighten it fully.

How do I know if my hiking boot is tight enough?

Now, how to test your tightening?
Find a slope and twist your ankle sideways to check that the support is right for you.
Lacing done well should be comfortable.

What's the right way to lace up your trekking shoes?

The hiking, bivouac and backpacking editorial team

The Forclaz team shares its advice and experience to help you prepare for your backpacking adventures.


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