The Equality Knot

In Sep-2017, I teamed up with PUMA to create the Equality Knot for their initiative in support of marriage equality in Australia. The knot is tied at the side of the shoe with a secure shoelace knot, forming an Equality symbol "=" in the middle of the knot.

Before You "Knot"...

Side Knotted Lacing diagram – right Side Knotted Lacing diagram – left

Begin by re-lacing the tops of your shoes so that the shoelace ends emerge from the sides of each shoe – preferably the outside so that the Equality Knots will be more visible to others.

These diagrams show basic Criss Cross Lacing modified for side knotting, but other lacing methods can be similarly adapted.

Next – Tie the Equality Knot

Equality Knot diagram 1

Step 1:

Begin with both ends emerging from the same side of the shoe. This diagram shows the ends emerging out the right side, as they would be on the right shoe.

Equality Knot diagram 2

Step 2:

Pass the lower (yellow) up behind the upper (blue) end.

Equality Knot diagram 3

Step 3:

Begin to wrap the right (blue) end around the front of the upper (yellow) end to finish up at the back of the gap between the laces.

Equality Knot diagram 4

Step 4:

Feed the right (blue) end through the gap to emerge at the lower front. Pull both ends tight to complete the Starting Knot.

The preceding four steps produce a regular left-over-right Starting Knot – only oriented vertically.

Equality Knot diagram 5

Step 5:

Make both ends into "loops" by simply doubling them back onto themselves. People often refer to these as "Bunny Ears".

Equality Knot diagram 6

Step 6:

Pass the left (yellow) loop behind the right (blue) loop. The yellow loop is now the "right" loop while the blue loop is the "upper" loop.

Equality Knot diagram 7

Step 7:

Begin to wrap the right (yellow) loop around the upper (blue) loop to end up in front.

Equality Knot diagram 8

Step 8:

At the same time, begin to wrap the upper (blue) loop around the back. You will end up with the ends of both loops on opposite sides of the "hole" in the middle.

Equality Knot diagram 9

Step 9:

Feed both ends of the loops through the hole in the middle. The right (yellow) loop goes out the back and the upper (blue) loop comes out the front.

Equality Knot diagram 10

Step 10:

Now, simply pull the loops vertically to tighten the knot. The whole twisted mess of the previous drawing will rearrange itself into a neat finished knot. Trust me, it works!

Finished Knot

Finished Equality Knot picture 1

The finished knot should be a tight, closed knot with a symmetrical, double wrap around the middle, as compared to the single wrap of either my Ian Knot or any Standard Shoelace Knot.

When viewed from the front of the shoe, the double wrap around the middle resembles an Equality "=" symbol.

The knot will naturally sit along the side of the shoe rather than across the top.

NOTE: If your finished knot looks uneven or twisted, it may easily be "worked" into a neat result as follows: Pull on the loose ends slightly as though untying the laces – this will bring the outer wraps of the knot together. Then, pull on the loops once again to re-tighten the knot – this will neaten up the inner parts.

Equality Knot Notes

The Same Knot?

Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot

The Equality Knot is identical to tying a regular left-over-right Starting Knot followed by my Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot. However, being tied at the side of the shoe requires either twisting the foot awkwardly or using slightly different hand movements.

Equality Knot

This page therefore has the diagrams re-drawn with the eyelets above each other and the shoelace ends starting on the same side. It also has modified instructions to suit the vertical orientation.

Equality Knot Symbolism

Unlike conventional shoelace knots that have one end coming from each side of the shoe, the Equality Knot has both ends coming from the same side. This is symbolic of two partners of the same gender – who nonetheless wished to "tie the knot" – but who were unable to marry in Australia at the time of the Equality Knot campaign (Sep-2017 to Oct-2017).

In addition, the knot sits perpendicular to the usual alignment, allowing the double wrap to appear as an equality symbol "=" in the middle of the knot.

With the bow sitting at the side of the shoe, the idea was that the Equality Knot would gather more than the usual attention – hopefully sparking conversations about marriage equality.

Equality Knot Shoelaces

Finished Equality Knot picture 2

For a limited time, PUMA Australia was giving away free shoelaces in one of six rainbow colors and printed with the #LetUsAllTieTheKnot hashtag. They were encouraging people to tie their shoes with the Equality Knot and post a photo with that hashtag to really help spread the message.

The website for PUMA's Equality Knot initiative can still be viewed at

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