To lace hiking boots properly, begin at the front of your shoe by cinching the laces over the top of your foot (the instep) just enough to prevent the front of your foot from sliding side-to-side. Do not overtighten them or you will begin to compromise circulation.
Once you reach above the instep, where the top of your foot curves upward, pull the laces as tight as possible without causing pain or discomfort. This most directly locks your heel into position and prevents it from sliding up and down, the most common cause of blisters. You can apply a surprising amount pressure here without affecting circulation or pinching nerves.
If your footwear has a high ankle collar, tighten the laces over the ankle as snug as is comfortable to maximize support.
Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.