Hello, I am trying to find out if anyone has ever run into this problem or knows a good solution for it. I hike about twice a week and own a pair of Lowa, vasque and scarpa boots as well as a couple pairs of lighter trail shoes, but I really prefer heavier your more supportive boots. I have a problem with the lace of my boot catching on the backward facing open eyelet hook(for the laces) of my opposite foot when my feet pass each other. In the last five years I have fallen from this four times and when I fall I fall extremely hard and broke my arm pretty severely once and injured my hip in another fall. It happens extremely unexpectedly and my feet are essentially tied together. I know that I have an unusually narrow gate base and that my feet past closer when I walk to one another than the average person. I always talk my laces into the boot is much as I can between the tongue and the edge of the boot, which causes some pressure points that I can get over but this sometimes works its way out after walking a couple hours and this is when I fall. I have also tried talking the laces back under the tied laces like cyclists do to keep their laces out of their chain but to be able to get the lace under the tied lace I cannot lace my boots comfortably tight.I was is a figure skater and had this problem there as well and always wore over the state tights to keep my laces away. I have cut up a couple pair of skating tights and used them over the top of my boot on occasion and they ended up shredded and not completely useful by the end of a hike, plus they run about $20 a pair and I could not afford to use a pair every time I went hiking. I have bought three different pair of gaiters and for some reason they absolutely drive me crazy in their bulkiness. Because my feet do you pass close together the excess material always kind of rubs the other boot and makes noise and I know it's probably stupid but that along with the general bulk on my feet just drives me crazy after a couple hours of walking especially with the silence. Hiking is how I get away from stress but it just sets off a sensory annoyance that builds and builds and stresses me out a lot more than getting out to hike de-stresses me. I have also tried turning my socks down over the top of my boot but have just completely ruined quite a few pair of nice hiking socks when seeds and burs get so tangled in the looser looping of the inside lining of the sock and are absolutely impossible to remove. this sock trick is a perfectly good solution in certain seasons and for certain trails though. I want to know if anyone has run into this problem and knows some sort of solution that I'm not thinking of or a product that would solve this, they make tight fitting neoprene figure skate covers that would be absolutely perfect if they fit over my hiking boots and didn't have the issue of the Tye in under the skate. Is there any sort of tight close fitting gaiter available that would cover this top part of my boot or some sort of boot cover that would do the same thing possibly even that is meant for some other sport or discipline that I could just make do with that anyone has come across? I have also extensively searched for any type of these eyelets that are closed and maybe clip and somehow or sit extremely close to the boot but I do not know the technical name of this boot feature so searches have yielded very little. I've asked two cobblers if they could remove them and put in grommet eyelets and they both told me that just the way the ankle boots were made it definitely would not provide ideal support anymore and would make the boot break it down much more quickly and neither of them knew of closed Eyelets avalable. This is an issue that I feel like I have reasonably solved and I have tried to think of every option and I often forget about it but when my methods fail it can be extremely catastrophic. I usually hike alone and a good portion of most of the trails I take do not have phone service, I hadnt fallen in probably a year and a half but fell again this morning and know that I obviously just need to start wearing the gaiters that bother me and get over it but wanted to see if anyone had any other solutions because I would prefer not to wear them. Thank you for your time
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Maybe my Civil War reenactment experience can help a little. Especially for children (who outgrow their shoes a couple of times a year so that reproductions of 1860 footwear are beyond "too expensive"), it is suggested that the speed lacing hooks on normal boots be removed (since they weren't used in the 19th century) and replaced by regular eyelets, to make the boots look more like those of the Civil War period. Many reenacting parents do this. So it can be done; just look for more shoe repair outfits.
On the other hand, a properly supportive pair of trail running shoes with supportive insoles may work better if you get the right combination. I know they do for me!
Of course both the above are only possible short-term solutions.
I recommend that you look for an orthopedist or podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine to analyze your gait and prescribe a solution. Runners do this all the time! It may take a combination of physical therapy and orthotics and time, but that's better than broken legs or hips!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Thanks so much for the suggestion, I think that things like posture and movement are things that are often very overlooked by people and even doctors and a lot of people could improve issues like pain and alignment and physical health by looking to correct underlying issues. I have done work with the way I hold my weight extensively because I have a connective tissue disease that affects laxity and changes bone insertion and proportion somewhat slightly similar to Marfan syndrome which most people are familiar with, so the way that I keep my weight very much under me compensates for differences in my hip girdle but honestly overall none of that really gives me many problems. I will try emailing some cobblers about my issue, both of the ones I spoke to had very small practices so maybe someone else would know more.
I second the suggestion of trying trail shoes or trail runners. You said you prefer a sturdier/heavier boot, which I assume means a high top that covers your ankle; I've not seen the back-facing hooks on low-tops (which I now wear exclusively.)
Trail shoes tend to be more sturdily built; trail runners tend to be more tennis-shoe-like but with better soles. It's a spectrum, not an either-or, so shop around and give lower tops, with no backward-facing hooks, a try. (If you prefer waterproof-breathable boots, you can find WB in shoes, too.)
The sturdiest shoes I own are Vasque (I forget the model) trail shoes. They were my first step (pun intended) into shoes, from the Vasque Sundowner leather boots I wore exclusively for two decades. I found them just as supportive as the boots, and a lot cooler and more comfortable.
I also own three pairs of Merrell Moab - FST is a very light, running-shoe; Ventilator is a sturdy trail shoe with a boot-like feel, and GTX are waterproof-breathable, about halfway between the other two Moab models in sturdiness.
It might be worth an hour in an outdoor store to see if shoes, rather than boots, are the best solution for you.
Just a quick thought might be something like dirty girl gaiters. If I remember correctly they cover the top part of the laces and so would at least keep the laces from catching on your other boot. I think they are more designed to be used with trail runners than boots, so there might be less material/bulkiness to rub against your other boot, although I can't guarantee it. If someone has more experience with dirty girl gaiters maybe they can clarify whether this would be a good solution.
I routinely use Dirty Girl gaiters and mostly I'm not even aware that I have them on my feet. I use them with trail runners though and am not sure how they would work with higher boots. They are not expensive so are certainly worth a try.
Loc: Tacoma, Washington
in the past, I've been bothered by branches tripping me up. found that if I lace 'em up to the top, and continue on lacing back down. so that the last lil bit of cord results in a small bow and lower. not as likely to snag on branch debris ( or other foot) I would think that it would also work for your problem as well. another idea.....a few years ago I saw a running accessory, that was in effect a small bag that was held in place by the shoe lacing. in to the bag the bow and excess lacing was stuffed. Velcro closed the bag. doubt if enough of these ever sold in quantities to yield a profit to the maker- but could be a DIY improvement for your problem. P.S. I have some Velcro that is used to secure wiring/cable ...a slit on the end (the tail end is threaded thru the slit to form a loop & double sided( hooks on one side and the other-loops)could be a nice n cheap system to tame ends from fouling- should be lighter that the bag approach