Better Bow Knot Feedback

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Another secure knot variation, again based on looping around more than once. Begin as for the Standard Shoelace Knot, only loop around twice before pulling through the loops thus made.

Visitor Feedback

All my life, I've been using the Standard Knot (correctly, though reversed with respect to your instructions). In addition, for many years I've also been using Double/Shoe Clerk's Knot; I typically do this not to achieve a more secure knot, but simply to use up excess lace.

Thanks to your site, I've easily been able to transition from the Standard Knot to the Better Bow Knot, since there's only one extra step added to how I've always done it. I also now like to use the Double Starter Knot.

BUT! On top of that, I still also often like to turn the Better Bow Knot into a Double/Shoe Clerk's knot. That's when I realized the principle behind tying shoelaces (balance, alternation) and your own Ian's Knot (balance by alternating loops through the hole) can be applied to the Double/Shoe Clerk's Knot as well.

Essentially, I do an Ian's Knot as the double knotting of the Double/Shoe Clerk's knot: not just one loop and lace-end over and through the other, but both sets of loops and lace-ends over and through each other, each going opposite ways.

The result is a large and exceptionally difficult to untie, yet insanely secure and still very balanced, neat, symmetrical knot.

Thanks for the great resource and if you do choose to add this variant to your website, I'd be glad to see it added to the Ian's Knot family, since although it's technically my creation (as far as I know), it's my creation that relied on the Ian's Knot in order for me to think of it in the first place.

– Jim H., Feb-2023

The reason why the “better bow knot” is a superior knot. (Also called the “Parisian knot” on Kirby Allison's YouTube channel.)

Most standard shoelace knots fail because they are slipped versions of a square (reef) knot, which really needs to be under constant tension to retain its strength. Effectively, these knots are tied around your foot which is constantly flexing as you walk, so the knot eventually comes undone because the tension goes through a constant cycle of relaxing. The Better Bow Knot, however, is tied around a bight in the lace. It is tightened and the tension remains constant.

Thank you for the work you have done. I learned the Better Bow Knot from your web site several years ago and now I feel as if I have been using it all my life (being in my seventies.)

– Andy K., Indiana, USA, Sep-2022

My own preference is what you call the Better Bow Shoelace Knot. I don't remember where I learned it, or if I figured it out on my own, but I've been using it since the early-90s. My work involves being out in the bush often, and this is a good combination of secure, fast, yet still easy to untie.

– Neahga L., USA, Jun-2020

I notice you have a knot on there I have been using for nearly 35 years.

You refer to it as the “Better Bow Knot”.

I was taught it by a fell runner as it is a knot which is easy to tie, uses little extra lace, rarely (if ever) comes undone and is as easy as a normal bow to release.

I use it for running shoes, my every day shoes, trainers and mountain boots. As mentioned it almost never comes undone and even when wet or frozen, releases when required.

My friend called it the “Booth Knot”, though I can find no reference to it under this name.

– Ralph C., Feb-2016

Like the standard bow, switching the direction of the initial twist will give versions of either the reef (nice and neat) or the granny (twisted and messy).

– JMR, Aug-2014

Regarding the Better Bow Shoelace Knot (my daily knot), I forget where I learned it or if I adapted it myself, but my tip is to do Steps 4 - 6 looping around *both* right forefinger and middle finger. Then in Step 7, it is easy to grab the yellow lace between the two fingers and pull through the loop.

The only issue is, this makes a very large hole inside the loops, and it can be tricky to get the knot to come together nicely (especially with relatively short laces). My trick for this is that I secure the loose end of the yellow lace in the left hand. (Obviously then you have to pull the yellow loop a bit asymmetrically so as to snug down the knot without trying to yank on the loose end. Easily done with practice though.)

– Jeffrey V. M.D., USA, Jun-2014

I make a loop(right side) after the overhand starting knot and pinch the loop with my thumb and index finger, then take the other string and loop it around my pinching thumb twice, then make a tiny loop(left side)and ude the other thumb to push it through and tighten.

– Kyle L., Minnesota, USA, Feb-2010

I have tested it for many years of trekking and daily use and it never loosened, and if it sometimes did it never untied fully.

– Jordi L., Feb-2009

I’ve been using the “Better Bow” Shoelace Knot for over 15 years now.

While looking for it on the internet came to you site. Cool site!!

– Vincent, The Netherlands, Jun-2008

I'm a preschool music teacher, and mother of three. Another preschool music teacher showed me what you call the “better bow” knot, which I've taught to whomever would watch!

I'd put forward that this may be an easier alternate knot to teach and learn, after the standard or granny version has already been learned and found unsatisfactory. Cognitively, it has all the same motions (corrected for granny), with only the addition of another loop. With kids with executive issues in processing or sequencing, relearning an automatic skill can be very frustrating, so that can count a lot. However, if small motor difficulties outweigh the relearning difficulties, another knot may be better.

– Patty R., Maryland, USA, Oct-2006

When I was a kid I used the “Standard Shoelace Knot” but it would come undone much too often. I read somewhere about a way to make it better - do step 3 twice (two loops around the right loop). It takes a little more time, and isn't particularly elegant (not even symmetrical?) but it stays tight a lot better than the standard one. I might try to switch to Ian's Secure Knot, but old habits die hard :)

– Willis C., Aug-2006

I have tied my shoelaces with the better bow for more than four decades.

I can tie it very fast. Because I cannot provide pictures, I will describe my procedure in great detail.

NOTE: David then went on to describe his procedure in way too much detail to reproduce here. His key point is to use several fingers inside the double-wrap, which makes it that much easier to grasp the other side's lace end and pull a loop through.

– David D., Ontario, Canada, Aug-2006

Several years ago, I “invented” a better knot for shoe laces. I always suspected that I couldn't be the first to discover such a simple knot, yet, I often wondered if it could be patented, copyrighted, or at least named by me. Dreams of my contribution to ropework.

Tonight, I decided to see if I could find out anything about this knot. So I googled [knots double bow knot] and your site was near the top. So in less than five minutes, I found that Ian's Better Bow Knot is what I “invented.”

– Gene M., Texas, USA, Feb-2006

I just wanted to say thanks for providing such a cornucopia of information on shoe tying, it really helps my students and forces them to think a little more deeply about a skill they have ignored since they learned how to tie their shoes back in kindergarten. Several of my students have actually been asked to teach the faculty at local day-care centers how to tie shoes so they stay tied but are easily untied when it is time for the shoe to come off (i.e. no more of those damn double knots). Most of my students prefer what we call the “double swoop” knot (you list it as the “Better Bow”), but when lace ends are too short to double swoop the Ian knot is hard to beat J.

– Prof. Ken W., Idaho, USA, Sep-2005

The “standard knot” that most people seem to use comes untied quite easily, this is a variation on that knot that makes it much more secure:

It really does stay tied far better than the old standard knot (which is only wrapped once before pulling the second loop thru).

– Brent I., Idaho, USA, Aug-2005

I was searching the Web trying to find a “better bow” illustration for a co-worker and found your site. I had walked with several co-workers at lunch and one stopped to tie his shoe. He mumbled that he didn't have much luck with shoe laces. So I think that together we have made his life a little better now.

– Robert H., Massachusetts, USA, Apr-2005

Wow, your site is really great! I was looking for a schematic of the “better bow knot”, I've been using this knot for a while, as it's perfect for running...

– Pascal F., Apr-2005

One of the other knots on your site, the “Better Bow”, has been my knot of choice for years. It never comes loose. I show that to people all the time - both kids and adults. It's SO much better than the old school double knot thing. BTW I wrap the tag end around my THUMB twice, not my forefinger; I find it really easy to just push the loop through the “tunnel” with my other forefinger, following the thumb. Even though the forefinger has the added diameter of the lace on it, it passes through easily, since the thumb is bigger than the forefinger.

– Ken W., BC, Canada, Jan-2005

This is a pain in the ass to tie, but after 10 years of continuous testing I've never had one come loose, with any kind of lace. Every time I tie my shoes, I imagine trying to teach my kids how to do this, and I've only got about another year to figure out how to do it.

– Greg H., Oct-2004

The important thing with tying skates is to maintain the tension from pulling the laces tight, as well as avoiding slipping. To do this, I loop the starting knot through a second time, as with a traditional surgeon's knot, then I use the double wrap of the better bow to keep the knot from loosening. I haven't seen this variant drawn up anywhere, but it is useful when one is trying to keep the laces taut.

– Jeff M. (rollerblading instructor), Louisiana, USA, Mar-2004

I've been using “The Better Bow” for about ten years now, but thanks to you my shoes fit better and I no longer have to suffer the ignominy of crooked laces.

– Richard S., Mar-2004

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This page last updated: 05-Jun-2024. Copyright © 2021-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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