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I use New Balance 840v4 shoes to do runs between 4 - 13 miles and reorder them as needed. For the first time a pair came with a new lace material and lacing style: laced across bottom to top (picture below). Of course I can switch to the included regular laces and "normal" lacing style, but am trying to figure out some things out:

  • What is this lacing style called?
  • Does lacing a shoe this way serve a specific purpose?
  • Is a "right" way to tie/tighten these as laced?

New Balance 840v4 shoes laced across top to bottom

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  • @mdfst13 I can't point to a competitive runner who laces this way. They came out of the box like this and never had before. I was confused so figured I'd post.
    – ahsteele
    Sep 2 at 15:17
  • @mdfst13 Running is for the most part fine here at any level, though I certainly could migrate it to PF.SE if they're okay with this kind of question - it might get more attention there, we don't have many runners other than me, as far as I know (and I know nothing about this). Pretty much any running level can be "competitive" - I'm not a fast runner, but I run in technically competitive races.
    – Joe
    Sep 3 at 0:03
  • Actually, realized I do know what they're doing here, and confirmed it on the website! You linked the women's version, but the men's version explains it on the product page.
    – Joe
    Sep 3 at 0:14
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That is a variety of speed lace, which is popular among runners because it makes the shoe unlikely to become untied (as there is no proper tie). Speed laces have a lot of varieties, but the common theme is that they are elastic - so they stretch as you put your foot in, and then hold the shoe closed.

That specific model (and only that specific model, from what I could tell on their website by filtering running shoes by "closure - alternative"):

Two lace options for a secure fit; regular laces and elastic bungee laces for easy on/off

Your shoes above are the latter. If you don't like them, you can switch them out for "regular" laces (by buying a new pair of laces that are meant for that size of shoe).

As far as tightening them - in theory you don't need to. They're meant to be the right size, assuming your foot is the shape that they anticipate for that shoe. Runners typically wear very tight shoes (my running shoes are much tighter than my normal every day shoes, for example), so that makes it a bit easier to do this kind of lacing; if you don't wear tight shoes, or your feet are a bit shorter than the average foot, you might need to knot the elastic a bit lower than where it's knotted now (on either end).

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