Introduction: World's Best Shoe Knot

Picture of World's Best Shoe Knot
If you could find the perfect shoe knot what would it be?

1. It has to be easy to tie.
2. It has to stay tied - always.
3. It needs to be as easy to untie as pulling on a string.

Well, here it is. The perfect shoe knot.

Knots are hard to demonstrate in words and pictures. May I suggest that you watch this video for a short demonstration of the technique.

Step 1: Tie an Over-Hand Knot

Picture of Tie an Over-Hand Knot

Start as you would with most ordinary shoe knots by tieing an over-hand knot.

this demonstrational video is is probably easier to understand than the verbal description.

Step 2: Make a Loop

Picture of Make a Loop

We are still following the normal shoe tying method.

make a loop with one hand.

Step 3: Wrap the Loop

Picture of Wrap the Loop

Wrap the other string around the loop.

Step 4: Wrap the Loop a Second Time

Picture of Wrap the Loop a Second Time

This step is where we diverge from the standard shoe tie method. This is also the step that turns a standard knot into the perfect shoe knot that will never come untied.

Essentially you will be repeating step three by wrapping the string around the loop a second time.

Check theDemonstrational Videoif this doesn't make sense.

Step 5: Push the String Through the Wrap

Picture of Push the String Through the Wrap

Push the string through he double wrap just as you would with the standard shoe knot

Step 6: Crank It Down Tight

Picture of Crank It Down Tight

Pull tight on both loops to tighten the knot.

Step 7: Finished - Untying

Picture of Finished - Untying

That's it. I have never had my shoes come untied with this knot. Even laces that tend to slip a lot - like leather laces - stay tied.

To untie, just pull on one of the ends of the laces. It will take a little more force than you would need to untie the standard knot, but it is still just as simple.

Here's the demonstrational video again in case you still have questions.


paqrat (author)2011-04-20

I am looking forward to trying this I have had trouble with my shoes coming untied for years and I double knot but it may be I'm tying one of those granny knots. Congratulations for making a clear, concise instructible

bumpus (author)2008-05-09

i wear vans slip-ons, i dare you to tie those!!! haha

Colonel88 (author)bumpus2008-05-27

That is a terrible sense of humor

bumpus (author)Colonel882008-05-27

my humor is quite twisted

ComplacentBard (author)bumpus2010-10-21

not twisted, just unfunny

ComplacentBard (author)2010-10-21

just do a double knot and stop wasting time

killinme77 (author)2009-07-27

LOL That's called a highwayman's hitch. A highwayman (or stickup guy) would hitch his horse near to the crime scene. The horse couldn't get loose, but when the highwayman jumped on, a quick tug on the other end and he was in the wind.

GeeDeeKay (author)2008-05-01

There is really only 1 thing that anyone needs to be aware of when using the "typical" knot that everyone uses to tie their shoes. The knot most people learn is a square knot, or reef knot that is slipped twice, sometimes called a double-slipped reef knot. It's a symmetrical knot that is very secure, yet easy to spill, or untie. It is used to reef, or secure, a sail to a boom on a sailboat. The danger is in tying a "granny" knot instead of a reef knot. Ian Fieggen warns about it on his site, and it's something I have shown people for years.

Some may have heard the mnemonic, "left over right, right over left" to learn a reef knot. A granny knot ends up being, "left over right, left over right" and results in a knot that is not secure and easily comes untied on its own. The "standard knot" shown here is a perfectly described double slipped reef knot. When properly tied, it's all one needs to keep their laces secure. I think all these other variations might be overkill, but if you like them, then by all means use them.

I have found that about half of the folks I have observed tie a reef knot, and the other half tie a granny knot. Those who tie a reef knot never worry about their shoes coming untied, while those who tie a granny always have their shoes come undone. Just reverse one of the over-under pairs, and a granny becomes a reef knot.

The reef knot leaves the loops laying to the sides of the shoes, while the granny leaves the loops in an up-and-down orientation. It's easy to spot because it really doesn't look like it would hold, and with a little time it almost always loosens up.

However you manage to keep your shoes tied, stick with it. But I say that simpler is better. Learn the double-slipped reef knot and you should never have to worry about all those other variations. I've found that, with knots, learn the right one for the job and stick with it. All those variations only make sense (in my humble opinion) if there is a significant reason for the variation. Otherwise it's just more things to have to remember. I like Ian's page in principle because I like knots. Everyone should know 4 or 5 good basic knots. But all those variations seem like an awful lot to have to remember. Learn one way to do it, learn it well, and stick with it. Practice it over & over until it's just muscle memory, no thinking. There's too much in this world to have to remember to try to keep 17 different shoelace knot variations in your head...

DUDE. That isn't a comment. That is a wikipedia article for goodness sakes. Keep it terse, dude.

So? Why should they be terse? more (relevant) information = more good.

JohnJY (author)GeeDeeKay2009-04-10

I see you've put tying your shoes into a science. Negative b plus or minis the square knot of b squared minis four a c divided by two a. (For people who don't get the joke it's a quadratic formula.)

ummmmmmm..... I get around with tied shoes and i dont even know what a reef knot is.

That's right, many people have no idea there is an issue with shoelaces coming untied. The knot most of us learn when we're little is a double-slipped reef knot, but nobody ever actually names it. The problem comes when someone learns it incorrectly, and then continues to tie their shoes ineffectively. They can then go on and propagate that incorrect process to their kids... Like I said, there are lots of ways to keep one's shoes tied, but the tried & true double-slipped reef knot is simple, lots of people already know it, and it's easy to help someone adjust their method and get their shoes to stay tied.

You could tie your shoes... or you can engage in a pointless, lame discussion for an hour, wasting your time, when you could perform a three-second maneuver and get on with your life! Just call 1-800-NO-POINT now!

Dude, be nice... It looks like I'm not the only one with something to say here, so it seems to be a subject that people are interested in discussing. I'm sorry if you're not happy with the information in this Instructable. There are lots of people who find them interesting and informative. I've met many people for whom that "3-second maneuver" is a constant issue, hence the point of this Instructable. If it were as small an issue as you seem to think, then there would be no need for this discussion. You must be one of the lucky ones who learned an effective process the first time. I hope that wasn't to loquacious for you...

Unit042 (author)GeeDeeKay2008-07-26

I don't mean to insult anyone here, but... I think that the best knot is velcro. It has all the advantages of the shoe-knot, but is easier to engage ie "tie". The problem is that velcro shoes just aren't built right. Velcro has the potential to completely replace the shoe knot, but usually are places at the wrong point on the shoe sides (They don't take into account that more velcro area is required the older the shoe gets/stretches), don't have enough velcro engage area (often just two itty bitty straps). I think that when I have some wide velcro and old shoes, I'll show how it's supposed to be done. Heh, heh.

JoeAAbernathy (author)GeeDeeKay2008-05-06

I never did learn to tie my shoes correctly....thank god for work at home...clogs and those velcro-close remedial shoes. m

hammer9876 (author)GeeDeeKay2008-08-06

GeeDeeKay - Captain Kangaroo (TV) taught me how to tie my shoes. I had two parents and three siblings who couldn't point out the "under" part of the lace to become the second loop. So I learned from Captain Kangaroo, but he didn't teach me the correct way. I was tieing a granny bow for 35 years. Someone pointed out my problem and I have been tieing what I call a square bow ever since. This knot also fixes the crooked bow at the back of little girls' dresses. It there a video on this?

Stingray (author)GeeDeeKay2008-06-26

The surgeon's knot is like the square knot but has an extra "right over left" on the second part. This makes an EXTREMELY strong shoe tying knot. It is a little more complex than the square knot but practice this knot for about a week and you won't have to think about it anymore.

GeeDeeKay (author)Stingray2008-06-26

Ahh, muscle memory. As I said, find something that works and stick with it. Way back when, I had to unlearn the knot I was using (a granny knot) and reverse the first 1/2 so I ended up with a reef knot. It took all of a week to get the feel for the new pattern, then it was mechanical and second nature.

bumpus (author)GeeDeeKay2008-05-09

big comment, lots of words

killrsheep (author)GeeDeeKay2008-05-02

Yes, Ian's site is great, i learnt the The "Ian Knot about a year ago, i have been using that one ever since, i always begin basic knots with right over left, and i always ended up with a crooked ian knot, until i switched that, and it DOES make a huge difference... once you learn the Ian knot its just faster to tie, and its secure :)

urbanmari (author)GeeDeeKay2008-05-01

GeeDeeKay, I was forced into the realization that my laces came undone for the reason you laid out, about 10 years ago. After a couple years to percolate in my brain, I became a woman on fire to spread the message. Everywhere I went, I told people about this. On public trans., as a substitute teacher, everywhere. By the time I had exhausted myself with this work, I estimated having spread it to 3000 people. I like this instructable because it looks like it would be very useful for those special laces made of silky stuff; such slippery material that the reef knot does not solve the problem. [It would be a better world if shoelace manufacturers and/or shoe manufacturers were sensitive to this.] Knowing this will mean less accidents on escalators, less ridicule from kids, higher regard from teachers, and the life-applicable skill of tying knots. Right on! Thanks Shoemaker!

bobobob1230 (author)2008-11-02

nice kicks

iamthemargerineman (author)2008-05-31

i will most definetely have to try this out sometime...

onestaff (author)2008-05-18

You can accomplish the feat of keeping your shoes tied by simply doing a second over hand loop before tying the shoe string. Much quicker and just as effective!

Ben Vigil (author)2008-05-14

Wow, this really works! As a career skateboarder, it is important to have my shoes on tight enough so that they don't fall off when I flick my board. I always just made two loops then tied them into another knot.

fatboi (author)2008-05-06

I dont really want to tie my shoes, so i dont think this is a good instructable for me.

Morpheus (author)2008-05-04

I have been tying my shoelaces this way for 35 years. The only drawback is if the one end of the lace is caught in the loop of the bow as you pull the other end it to untie it, it collapses into a gnarly knot. Solution: pull both ends at the same time after making sure the lace ends are free of the loops in the bow. Great Instructable!

crispyjones (author)2008-05-04

One additional mod that I find useful. Start with a double overhand knot instead of the single, it holds better on some laces.

moGuyver (author)2008-05-04

I really like this knot -- have used it on my boots and shoes for the last ten years or so. I think I learned it from a Klutz book on knot-tying.

stuffman366 (author)moGuyver2008-05-04

I did This knot rocks yay

MasterShrub (author)2008-05-04

My shoes used to always come untied unless I double-knotted them, but that was a pain to untie. Now I always do this and it really helps.

fooman (author)2008-05-04

The knot works great! I have been using it for about 35 years since a friend and sailor taught me to tie it! Most people tie a reef knot with a short turn around the loop of the knot, when you use a full turn around the loop it is called......ready for it?.....A BOW KNOT! Since Fred (Mr.) Rogers stated teaching kids to tie their shoes on television every day they have been using reef knots. A bow knot is designed stay tight even if the standing part slacks off and re tightens (like when you take a step in your shoes). The reef knot does work great though for things that do not slack and tighten like sails reefing. P.S. make sure to make the knot absolutely snug and and it will stay all day even with laces that slip like braided nylon boot laces. I work construction at height as depend on my boot laces not to come loose since it is impossible to retie them when standing in an I-beam 55 feet in the air.

drtnation (author)2008-05-02

It works

Brennn10 (author)2008-05-02

This is such a great knot. I use this not every time I tie my shoes now! Thanks!

Big Ugly Mich (author)2008-05-02

This comes untied more easily if you pull on both ends at the same time.

f3 (author)2008-05-02

Can you add less risque videos. Wolverhampton Libraries deem them inappropriate, so I can't view.

shoemaker (author)f32008-05-02

I thought that in most places it was okay to show skin up to your mid wrist. Weird.

Fozzy Vis (author)2008-05-02

Funky shoes ;)

thisxisxstephanie (author)2008-05-01

I like your shoes :)

mimsmall (author)2008-05-01

Wooden Boat magazine described a knot called the 'Turquoise Turtle Knot" because the author first saw it in a gift shop called the Turquoise Turtle. That was 10+ yrs ago and It has performed well since. It stays tied and is loosed the as the the double wrap knot. Now that I have told about the TTN I should post a video. It'll be my first so It might be awhile.

biggirlssweets (author)2008-05-01

Gosh. I do covet your shoozies, Delicious turquoise laces. And thank you for sharing your tricky knotting. Will endeavour to try it out next time I'm wearing laceables.

caligirl (author)2008-05-01

Thank you, this really works. I have a pair of shoes that I had nearly stopped wearing because they would not stay tied. Today I wore them and tried your method and low and behold they didn't come untied all day.

Charger_06 (author)2008-05-01

Elementary Watson, Elementary -Sherlock Homes

kellimaier (author)2008-05-01

It seems a simple thing until I went around and around with my six year old ( now 8) about learning to tie her shoes. She finally devised her own way to do it that works fine so problem solved. I being an uncreative adult failed to consider there could be more than one way to do it..

jwberti (author)2008-05-01

Thank you Sister Mary Austin. She taught me this in 7th grade. Now if only my children would listen to me on this one.

Creamaster (author)2008-05-01

Who doesn't know how to tie their shoes? I learned this when I was an infant.

ataraxy (author)2008-05-01

I am another whole-hearted believer in Ian's Secure Knot. In Chicago's incessant winter of 2007-8, I never had a problem with the laces on my winter boots, thanks to Ian's brilliant knot, even when they were stiff with salt and street grime.

However, I will say this simple extra-loop-around knot is a lot easier to teach to little kids than Ian's secure knot, so I would suggest calling this one the World's Best Shoe Knot to Teach to Kids. I taught it to my charges when I was an au pair and when I was a nanny, and more recently to my godkids as well.

bmschech (author)2008-05-01

I also suggest a visit to Ian's Shoelace Site. It might take some time to master "Ian's Knot" but it is indeed the world's fastest way to tie shoes. It's also fun--I feel like a magician every time I use it.

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