Don't be so strait-laced, especially if your fitness shoes don't fit quite right. That's the word from Tom Brunick, director of the Athlete's Foot WearTest Center in Naperville, Ill.
The basic lacing system, called the crossing style technique, doesn't always address such common foot peculiarities as a heel spur, bunion, wide forefoot, high instep, narrow heel and foot or having one foot shaped slightly different than the other. Perhaps one of the following four techniques described in Better Homes and Gardens will help you get the fit you need:
* For a high instep: Cross-lace through the bottom eyelets. Don't cross again until you're at the top eyelets, where you cross-lace and tie.
* For a wide forefoot: Cross-lace through the bottom eyelets. Don't cross at the next two eyelets--the widest part of the shoe. Higher up, use the standard crossing style technique.
* For heel slipping: Use the crossing style technique until you come to the top two eyelets. Lace from the second to the top eyelets on the same side, which creates a small loop on each side. Run each lace's free end through the loop on the opposite side, then tie the ends in the normal fashion.
* For a narrow foot: Use the loop-lace technique for extra support at adjacent eyelets in the midfoot area.
Brunick warns that these techniques are for "fine-tuning, not for replacing a bad fit."
To help you get a good fit, pick up a free pamphlet, "How to Choose Footwear," at any of the Athlete's Foot stores in Mission Viejo Mall, Westminster Mall, Buena Park Mall and Fashion Island Newport Beach, or write to the Athlete's Foot WearTest Center, 450 S. Brainard St., Merner Field House, Naperville, IL 60566.