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Trouble with boot eyelets


Cstone
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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

Edited by Cstone
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Premium Member
Aaron Zagrodnick

Welcome to the forum Cstone, sounds like quite a predicament! I have not had this issue as I'm either in trail runners or wearing something with gaiters in the winter and snow, but I think I might try either longer or shorter laces if you haven't experiemented yet there - for either shorter loops less likely to snag, or with enough length to find a way to wrap the laces around the ankle and tuck them in on an opposite side. I would think the laces should be loose enough to make that happen and/or the padding in this portion of the boot would allow for this.

Otherwise or in addition, perhaps crimping the lace hook in a bit could help? I know you said you prefer boots, and I was able to find a mid-height option in the Keen Aphlex that could help at least from the photos shown on that page...perhaps long pants that fit over your boots, or a softer fabric gaiter like the Dirty Girl option should make less noise (if they fit on your boot). Also came across an entirely different approach with something I have no experience with in a product called TacLaces, although they do use Velcro and if your socks turned over the laces solution was picking up too much debris in your case that could be something to watch out with the TacLace system as well. 

Good luck!

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It's never been a recurring problem for me but that brings back a couple funny memories for me when the same thing happened...my falls were soft, though, other than the weight of my pack on top of me.  My first thought echoes Aarons...bend in the hook a little if it looks like that will help.  Do it carefully so they don't crack (they're tough, but they can break, especially if you have to "unbend" them or do so repeatedly).  Sounds like you have cobblers at your disposal - less and less common these days - but that's a hassle and expense to replace those silly pieces of hardware.  Another simple DIY option to tuck your laces without the drawbacks you mentioned might be a simple small shock cord loop with a cordlock, attached to lower laces or maybe on an "outside" eyelet...feed your lace loops through and snug the cordlock.  Haven't tried that but it seems simple enough. 

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Hi Cstone. I've had that happen to me. It is dangerous and scary! I've triple or quadruple knotted my laces to shorten them and that has helped. Wearing long pants as well, has helped as it keeps the laces under the pant legs. I also wear various gaiters. OR has some tighter fitting gaiters. I assume that Dirty Girl Gaiters might either be too small for the boots or wear out too quickly, but you could give those a look.

https://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/ultra-trail-gaiters-32654.html

https://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/stamina-gaiters.html

https://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/sparkplug-gaiters.html

https://dirtygirlgaiters.com/

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  • 4 years later...

In reply to CSTONE,

Six years ago I had an accident on a walking holiday where my hooks attached themselves to each other.  I hit the ground at speed face first, breaking teeth and injuring my shoulder.   It cost me plenty in emergency dentist bills but I was grateful it wasn’t worse.  The day before I was at the top of Malham Cove, in Yorkshire and I dread to think what the outcome would have been had the accident happened there.  I thought the whole incident was a fluke as I’ve been a serious walker for over 40 years.  I accepted, mainly due to the teasing of others, that somehow I walk differently to other people.   I got rid of those boots, and bought others - a different make, still with hooks. I walk a few days every week, nothing major as I’m nearing 70 but depending on the terrain anything from 4- 10 miles at time.  

Moving on to my point.  I had a similar accident yesterday.  Walking with my husband less than a mile from home.  Again my lace or hook on one boot attached itself to the other…. The speed at which you fall is far greater than when you trip or stumble on uneven ground.  I was on a pavement, so landed hard on my face. Luckily this time I didn’t damage my teeth This time it was my forehead, nose, shoulder, hands and knees.   As my husband was with me he expressed his amazement at the suddenness of it all, whereas before, he thought like everyone else, that  it was me being careless.  

Needless to say this has changed how I feel about hooks on boots.  No longer was it a fluke, for it to happen twice is telling me that it’s a problem.   Only through researching for new boots have I come across other people here and overseas who’ve had similar accidents.  Hearing this has made me realise that it’s worse than I first realised.   This isn’t just walkers, it’s people wearing safety boots at work.  There’s even a company who have a campaign to get these hooks banned.   

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  • 10 months later...

I am so glad I stumbled (:)) on this discussion. Two weeks ago, wearing hiking boots with hooks as described in other posts, I fell on a trail near my home, broke my shoulder. I have been a runner most of my life and the foothills near my home are tame so I usually just wear running shoes for my hikes. However, the snow had melted and it was sloppy so I decided to wear a pair of boots I recently bought for this kind of weather. I always double knot my running shoes and did so with the boots too. The laces, however, were long. I never once thought about how they could catch on the hooks. I agree with the previous poster who observed that the speed you hit is harder. I have tripped over rocks or slipped on ice running and it was never like this. Until I read these posts I was mystified about how it happened as both shoes were still tied and as I was almost home, the ground was flat and dry. There was nothing to trip over.  How I wish I had worn my running shoes. Had no idea what safety hazards the hooks could be.

Edited by Barb
typo
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  • 2 weeks later...
Michael aka Mac

Hi, I am a Freelance gear reviewer and professional outdoor survival writer.  It is amazing how the two seem to go hand and hand.  When a company comes up with a new innovation, for arguments sake , boot hook eyelet, and it becomes a hit with a certain type of outdoorsman,  other manufactures copy a variation of that technology to use for their own products.  The main problem is that inventions tend to lack foresight, and although the innovation may solve numerous other issues, it is the issues that are not foreseen that eventually popup on the web in the form of a post or review.

In this particular case,  the person that invented the boot eyelet hook neglected to realize that in the end, his or her invention was prone to snag and hook the other boot's shoelace for those that have a narrow gate.  A hook's function is to snag and latch onto something, it is part of its functional design.  It is why the fishing industry came up with the weedless hook ( a thin piece of metal connects to the barb part of the hook preventing the hook from snagging vegetation in the water. 

For Cstone's case, a low cut military gaiter would be one of his best option. These gaiters are much more tear resistant then commercial gaiters.  Another solution would be to get shorter boot laces and double knotting them. If shorter boot laces cannot be found, cutting the boot laces then putting a lighter under the lace where it was cut to melt the lace to prevent the strands from unraveling, and then getting heat shrink tubing and using a hair dryer to shrink the tube over the lace tip.

A temporary solution (again with shorter shoelaces) is to put a piece of Duct tape over the boot hook eyelet to prevent it catching. 

A small Ranger band could also suffice. 

There are elastic shoelaces that are not tied but connected together so there is nothing for the boot hook eyelet to snag on.

Helpful Tip Hopefully there will not be a "next time you fall"  but incase there is,  as you are falling and are hitting the ground, roll into the fall. The process of rolling into the fall redirects and distributes the force of impact on your body. This is  a Kung Fu technique that they practice every day in their Dojo. The act of rolling into the fall can prevent you from breaking bones.

Edited by Michael aka Mac
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thanks for tips, very helpful. Especially the "how to fall'  guidance. I was thinking about that, hoping it never happens again but if it does, to learn how to fall. thanks again.

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  • 6 months later...

Just wanted to share this idea that may prevent the tripping up problem with laces snagging in opposing boot lace hooks.

You can clip the lace loops using a small bag clasp off eBay (8mm size in the picture) woven through the bottom lace of the boot which keeps them tethered…

Boot 1.jpg

Boot 2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

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