They link to these photos:

shows different lacing techniques for running shoes: 1. Black toenail, 2. Heel slipping, 3. High instep, 4. Narrow forefoot, 5. Overall roomier fit, 6. Wide forefoot

lacing diagram: left lace goes from aglet to toe, right zig zags through every hole

The claim is that this lacing technique is effective at protecting the toenail on your big toe from being blackened (subungual hematoma).

Is this true?

The most authoritative source that I found was (Adams, Brian B. "Traumatic Injuries to the Nails and Toes." Sports Dermatology (2006): 262-281), which says:

Lacing techniques can prevent the foot from freely slamming into the toe box, especially on downhill courses when there is a great deal of force pushing the toenail into the end of the shoe.

However, he simply asserts that without reference to empirical evidence, so it seems to be just a restatement of the claim.

I also found a chapter/article (Werd, Matthew B. "Athletic Shoe Lacing in Sports Medicine." In Athletic Footwear and Orthoses in Sports Medicine, pp. 79-87. Springer New York, 2010.) that repeats this claim, and calls the technique the "Distal–Medial Eyelet Lacing Technique", but again, there are no references or any mention of empirical evidence. He says that the purpose is to "pull the upper material off of the big toe and decrease the pressure on the great toe and joint".

  • @nomenagentis The lacing pattern is shown in "Mathematics: What is the best way to lace your shoes?" Nature 420, 476 nature.com/nature/journal/v420/n6915/full/420476a.html , but that still doesn't answer the question.
    – DavePhD
    Jul 2, 2015 at 15:22
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    and also in "The Shoelace problem" cs.unc.edu/techreports/92-032.pdf where it is referred to as "shoe shop quick lacing" or "shoe shop lacing", but that doesn't answer the question either.
    – DavePhD
    Jul 2, 2015 at 15:32
  • The first paper mentions nothing about subungual hematoma. Jul 3, 2015 at 13:57
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    @nomenagentis: You show 7 different shoe lacing techniques in screenshots, which one are you asking about? Jul 4, 2015 at 10:28
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    Wonder how much trimming toenails back would impact this condition. Oct 18, 2018 at 20:23


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