Equality Knot

Knot (icon)

Created in conjunction with PUMA in Sep-2017 in support of marriage equality in Australia. Consists of my Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot (with its central “Equality” symbol “=”) symbolically tied at the side of the shoe.

Preliminary Step:

Lacing (diagram) Lacing (diagram)

Begin by re-lacing the tops of your shoes so that the shoelace ends emerge from the sides of each shoe – preferably towards 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.

Step 1:

Begin with ends on same side of shoe

Begin each shoe 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.

Step 2:

Pass lower (yellow) end behind upper

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

Step 3:

Wrap right (blue) end around back

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.

Step 4:

Feed through gap and pull tight

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

The result is a regular left-over-right Starting Knot – only oriented vertically.

Step 5:

Fold both lace ends into “loops”

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

Step 6:

Pass left (yellow) loop behind right

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.

Step 7:

Wrap right (yellow) loop around to front

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

Step 8:

Wrap upper (blue) loop around to back

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.

Step 9:

Feed both loops through the “hole”

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.

Step 10:

Pull tight vertically to complete the knot

Now, simply pull the loops vertically to tighten the knot. The whole twisted mess of the previous drawing will rearrange itself into the vertical equivalent of my Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot.


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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.

Technical Details

The Same Knot?

Knot (icon)

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.

Knot (icon)

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

The Equality Knot incorporates three important symbolic features:

  1. 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).
  2. Despite the unusual arrangement, the knot is still totally secure. This is symbolic of an unconventional marriage being just as binding as a more traditional one.
  3. The knot sits perpendicular to the usual alignment, allowing the double wrap to appear as an “Equality” symbol “=” in the middle of the knot. This is symbolic of gender equality.

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.

Visitor Feedback

Passed it on to the pastor of my church and her spouse. Remember, here in North Carolina we are only a few years into Marriage Equality, since 2014, when a US District Court judge threw out North Carolina's existing laws.

– Chuk G., NC, USA, May-2020

If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2017-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

Website created by Ian Fieggen (aka. “Professor Shoelace”), inventor of the Ian Knot.

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