A Running Coach's Heel-Locking Tip to Avoid Blisters and Black Toenails

The joys of running — the scenery, the endorphins, the awesome playlists — sometimes come with uncomfortable byproducts. If you've ever experienced black toenails or blisters, run coach Alysha Flynn says lacing the top hole of your sneakers can help because it locks your heel in place. Heel-lock lacing will prevent "slippage" that causes friction, which, in turn, often leads to bruises (black nails are not fun!) and foot blisters.

In the TikTok below, Flynn says this works better than repeatedly tying your laces tighter during your run. That, she notes, will only make your foot go numb. Here's how to lace up your heel lock:

  1. Loop your laces through the top hole on either side.
  2. Thread your laces over to the opposite side through those loops.
  3. Pull your laces through, and tie your sneakers like you would normally.

Flynn says she uses the heel lock when she's training hills to avoid slippage on her downward descents. In the video comments, she credits fellow running coach Andrea Williams for posting a viral video about heel-lock lacing last year.

Give this tip a try when you're tackling some indoor or outdoor miles! And as always, if you have aches and pains while you run that you're concerned about, contact your doctor.