Granny Knot Feedback
Do your shoelaces sit crooked? Do you retie your shoes several times a day? These are both signs of a Granny Knot. Learn the “one simple trick” for keeping your shoes neatly and securely tied.
What Others Have Said
Before coming across your website, I had tied the granny knot my whole life. So now, in my forties, I finally learned how to tie my shoelaces properly. Previously I had perhaps wondered a bit why I was always tying my shoes when I was out and about, but never researched the problem.
I started to learn knots for camping, and learned the usual suspects (bowline, taut line hitch, trucker's hitch, Prussik etc.) but it never dawned on me that shoelaces are also tied with a knot. But after googling for knot information I stumbled on your website and your page on the granny knot explained to me why I had always had shoelaces come undone.
I settled on reversing the starting knot on the “normal” shoelace knot, and now my shoelaces come undone only very rarely.
I also like very much the spirit of “the old web” - your own website on perhaps a bit obscure but valuable information. Very well done, and a big thank you from the other side of the world - Helsinki, Finland!
Ps. After raving at work about learning how to tie my shoelaces properly, others perhaps thought of me a bit bonkers but a coworker also realised he had been tying his shoelaces wrong, and I pointed him to your website for more information!
– Jani P., Helsinki, Finland, Apr-2021
I didn't realise that my first knot is the reason my laces often come undone. Not anymore! And I have beautifully horizontal bows.
– Anne E., Oct-2020
I am agog in regards to my tying a Granny Knot for the 51 years that I have been on this planet, minus my formative
preschool years. Thank you for the well written and info-graphed instructions on the correct way to fix my problems (I
suppose that I was taut incorrectly as a child, to boot).
From here on out, I will look to you, Ian, to tell me what “knot” to do!
– David H., Chicago, USA, Sep-2020
For 60+ years, I have been tying my shoelaces the wrong way. For 40+ years I have been cursing out an outmoded technology for fastening shoes, every time they came untied, which was often. I have double-knotted my laces and bought footwear that didn't need tying, to avoid the problem (as well as traditional shoelace footwear).
I am a former Boy Scout and sailor and have long understood, and certainly understand even today, the importance of tying a square knot rather than a granny knot. But until I tripped over an untied shoelace and fell into your website this week, it never occurred to me that the shoelace knot could also be a square knot, or a granny knot. Now I have finally discovered the true source of and corrected my problem. It feels awkward to start the knot the opposite way, but I smile and remember you each morning.
– David A., Nov-2018
I am 23 years old and found your site looking for different ways to lace my shoes and make them look unique. But then I found the page on how to tie your shoes. I didn't realize I had been tying my shoes wrong for years. Thanks for setting me straight.
– Joshua H., Dec-2006
My bows always pointed north & south instead of east & west, and always, always came undone. Now I know why!
– Henry T., Feb-2005
I'd been tying granny knots in her hair ribbons! Maggie thought I'd gone crazy, tying her hair bow this way and that and laughing. Now my poor child with the perpetually untied shoes and crooked hairbows will be much more well turned out, thanks to your site.
– Jill A., South Carolina, USA, Jan-2005
imagine, learning to tie your shoelaces properly at age 53! and be about as excited as I was at age 5 when I learned to tie them improperly.
– Elliot M., Dec-2004
For over thirty years, I've had problems with my shoelaces coming undone. Some friends claimed that it was because I used the “rabbit ear” method of tying, but I never had any luck with the “standard” method either. Other friends suggested that I wasn't pulling tightly enough, but sometimes I pulled the laces so tightly that they broke -- yet my shoes still did not stay tied. Every day I wore shoes with ugly, bulky, crooked “double knots” that never failed to come undone. Interestingly, when my husband (who never had this problem) laced and tied my hiking boots, they stayed tied, but when he retied my street shoes (without re-doing the starting knot, as I'm sure you've guessed), they came undone just as quickly as ever. I was starting to think that there might be something wrong with the way I moved my foot when I walked. Then I came across your website, and sure enough, I had been tying “slip” knots every time. Your site also explained why my husband could sometimes tie my shoes (when he started from scratch) and sometimes not (when he used my starting knot, which apparently had the same orientation as his second knot).
– Susan D., Switzerland, Dec-2004
I am a 60 year old Grandmother of six! None of my offspring, including myself have ever had laces that stayed tied. My Mother had no clue either, nor did hers, I am certain. Imagine three generations or more, tripping over their laces! Finally we found you to solve this dilemma for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
– Brigitta, Florida, USA, Nov-2004
I was taught the two-loop method by a kindergarten schoolmate who saw I could not execute the one-loop method and took pity. For 50 years I have assumed that my laces came untied because the two-loop knot was inferior. I felt I was paying the price for taking the “easy way”, but was embarrassed to seek help.
Your website was an astonishment. The two-loop knot is not inferior if done properly, in fact it is identical to its one-loop cousin; and merely reversing the starting knot solves my problem! My intuition still does not grasp why this works, but I gratefully acknowledge that it does.
– Van S., Nov-2004
I realized that I've been tying a slip knot for decades. What's remarkable is that I knew the difference between a slip knot and a reef knot (having done some rockclimbing), but I did not relate that to my shoelaces. (That is, it didn't occur to me that a standard shoelace knot is just a reef knot.)
– Doug M., Toronto, Canada, Nov-2004
For forty-three years – I've been tying a version of the slip-knot and cussing that my knots never lined up, and came undone at the slightest wiggle.
For forty-three years, I've just been over-knotting the loops left over from my slip-knots, to keep them from coming undone at the slightest wiggle.
I clicked on your link by accident. I was looking up something else shoe-related.
The sky opened up.
Bright rays of light shone down.
A Heavenly Choir sang in Angelic voices.
Somewhere an organ played the opening notes to a Psalm.
And, after FORTY-THREE years,
I learned to tie a shoe.
– Scott M., Oct-2004
I have been doing my starting knot the wrong way around my whole life and have always had my laces become untied several times a day. Your suggestion has fixed this completely, so thanks again.
– Ben P., Oct-2004
I also found out that I have been tying a slip not all my life and I'm 49! I asked my mother who's 79 how she tied hers and she has also been doing a slip not all her life! hehe (She was the one who taught me) She told me her shoes are always coming untied. Well no wonder. I showed her how to do the reverse at the beginning (right over left instead of left over right) then do the rest the way she always has. She was amazed at how the not stays tight now hehe. Glad I found your site :-)
– Rick H., Sep-2004
I am 24 and I've lost (2-3 minutes x 365 days x 22 years) more than 15 hours from my precious life in re-tieing shoelaces... A big thank you!!!
– Stanislav, Helsinki, Finland, Aug-2004
Picked your site up from a mountain biking forum of all places about a week ago: what a revelation. I'm 31 and my shoelaces have always come undone: now (for the very first time) I know why.
– Martin D., The Netherlands, Jul-2004
I am getting married in 2 months and have to mail my invitations soon! But I decided for a little extra touch I would put a bow on them.... I started punching holes in the invitations to feed the ribbon through, I couldn't get the bows to lay straight! Your site really helped me get 80 bows tied nice, neat, straight...and on time!!
– Lara S., Jun-2004
I've repeatedly had problems with shoes coming untied, and up to now, I thought it was the type of lace that was causing the problem, not the knot (replacing my standard laces with oval laces seemed to help, even when I was using my old slip knot).
– John B., Colorado, USA, May-2004
It seems I am using the Bunny Knot (2 loops). The reason my laces slip is because I tie the bow same as I tie the starting knot. That is, right over left in both cases.
– Laura, May-2004
I'm 54 years old and thought I knew how to tie my shoes. After getting arthritis in my fingers, my knots became weaker and the knots kept coming undone. I was re-tying my shoes 3 or 4 times a day! Your site made me look at my method, and I realized that I was tying a slip knot. I merely reversed the first knot and my problem was solved!
– Woody M., Georgia, USA, Apr-2004
I especially found the section on how *not* to tie a slip knot very useful. I hadn't realized that the tendency of my laces to come undone was not caused by the laces, how I walk, or how humid it is out. Now I can tie my laces once and they survive an entire night of dancing!
– Simmon K., Apr-2004
Wow, I can't believe I've been tying slip knots my whole entire life! I always wondered why my bows would sit vertically rather than horizontally.
– Annette, California, USA, Apr-2004
I'm almost 72 years old and have used a double knot on my shoe laces for my whole lifetime because the laces kept slipping. Now I know why!!!
– Robert K., Apr-2004
And all these years I've been tying my shoes wrong. I usually buy new shoe laces when they keep untying. Now i know i've started my knot wrong works perfect every time.
– Bruce M., Apr-2004
Your site ended a 48-year mystery for me. I had of necessity learned a secure knot to overcome a lifetime of untied shoelaces. But it was the relentless analysis, keen diagnosis, and simple retraining to avoid the slipknot that has changed my life for the better. Thank you sir!
– Brad L., Oregon, USA, Apr-2004
I'm 38, and have been tying the Granny with a double knot on top for my whole life. Wow. I just emailed your site to my whole family, who I'm sure is doing it the same way!!
– Brenda R., Minnesota, USA, Apr-2004
I am a day care provider and at times I've had 10 kids' shoes to tie. If only I had found your site sooner! All my life, I've been tying my shoes with the slip knot. who knew????
– Mindy P., Apr-2004
Thanks to Google, I finally found your excellent website. I searched for “bow granny knot” and found your site right away. Over the years, I've tried to convince many people that they are not tying a bow correctly. Your site will now save me a lot of trouble.
– Bob W., CA, USA, Apr-2004
Dear Ian, I am 42 years old, and have apparently been tying my shoes improperly since I was a child. My laces are always coming undone, and someone always comments. I have for many years just looked them straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, it's my trademark.” Until I found your site. Now for 3 days, my laces have remained secure. I don't know quite what to make of it. Am I capitulating to society? Will I now become a robot among robots, my rebellious laces no longer trailing? I think I must take the radically mature step of NOT being defined by my shoelaces. I know you understand how challenging this is. I will have secure laces and forget them, just like everyone else. And I'll be fine. Really. Really, just fine.
– Mark C., Mar-2004
Your site has taught me that I have been tying my shoes wrong for ... well probably since I learned how in kindergarten! I feel like I've been reborn. I feel like I've been reborn. Although now I'll be getting even less exercise since I won't be bending over so often... guess I'll have to renew my gym membership after all.
– Sherianne H., Manitoba, Canada, Mar-2004
So then I found the page about slipping knots. This is when I had my “wow” moment! I realized that I have been tying my laces wrong my WHOLE life (I have no memory of who taught me!)
– Stefanie, USA, Mar-2004
I was reading thru your feedback section and saw about the woman who used the Ian knot to tie her daughters' dresses. Another lightbulb moment! That is why their bows never look good LOL. I was doing THOSE wrong too!
– Stefanie, USA, Mar-2004
It wasn't until viewing your site that I realized I was tying my shoelaces incorrectly throughout my entire life. Yes Ian I was tying a slip knot. Anyway not only do I now know to tie a reef knot from now on but I also know how to tie a reef knot very quickly.
– Fred T., Feb-2004
I discovered that I had been tying my shoelaces wrong all my life – 51 years – using the Granny Knot. I've just learnt the Ian Knot from your crystal-clear instructions and will use that in future. I've re-laced all my shoes using the Over Under cross. Fascinating site.
– Peter F., Feb-2004
My whole life (practically) I've been tying my shoes in double-knots (tying the loops of the bow into an extra standard knot) to keep them tied. It's been a little challenging to unlearn how I've been tying my shoes (I'm 23, so that's a long-term bad habit that I'm trying to break), but I just had to laugh at myself for not ever bothering to figure out why my shoes would come untied if I didn't put them in a double-knot (which is a pain to get untied), and how simple of a solution it is.
– Russell H., TX, USA, Feb-2004
It's kind of funny, my little brother (10 yrs old) is often in trouble for walking on his shoelaces because they come undone so often that he usually stops trying to keep up with them. Next time I visit my family I'll definately have to watch him tie his laces – more than likely, like me, he is tying slip knots.
– Russell H., TX, USA, Feb-2004
All my life, I had stolidly and determinedly gone around tying the “granny” knot. Basically, somewhere along the way I had been taught to form loops with both the left and right lace (after the starting knot) and to wrap them. Since the initiative for wrapping for both the starting knot and the “finishing bow” was, in my case, taken up by the more uncoordinated left hand, I had simple mindedly chosen to repeat the exact same wrapping motions in both cases!! Naturally, I ALWAYS ended up with a granny knot.
– Girish B., Feb-2004
I bought some new boots and was struggling with the lacing (I had them “shoe shop” – impractacle as well as unattractive). Turns out I am a classic passive slip knot merchant! I have adopted “over under” with the Ian Knot - I am sure this will save me future back pain – the ammount of time each day I would bend over for a quick re-tie!
– Alan C., Oxfordshire, UK, Jan-2004
Recently, from some dark corner of my mind, came a weird suspicion that although I had been tying my shoelaces for decades, I may have been tying them incorrectly. I was tying them the way my mom taught me when I was a child, but they kept getting undone and thought she may have taught me the “little kid” version of shoelace knot, then forgot to update me as I grew older. Plus the knots looked somehow “wrong.” Or inept. Anyway, I was ashamed of my shoelace knots!
I didn't think I'd come up with anything by Googling “tying shoelace” but that's how I came across your site. Amazing! Although I'm seriously “spatial perception” challenged, I've mastered Ian's Knot, and even Ian's Secured Knot and now walk about in utter confidence. Ian's knot is quite good looking and makes the bow lie side-to-side.
– Doug M., Jan-2004
What they had learned at school was looking extremely complicated to her. And the knots of one of her boys, she has twins, was always loosening. So we analysed what he did and he made the same complicated end knot his brother made, but started with a different start knot. Bingo, slip knot!
– Tonny V., The Netherlands, Jan-2004
NOTE: See also the following anecdote written by Tonny back in 1997.
Her name was Edith and she was six years old. She already knew how to tie her shoelaces and I didn't. And she wanted to teach me. I think that was the first time in my life that I made a big mistake.
Now you probably think, “What's the problem with Edith teaching you to tie your own shoelaces?” Well, SHE TAUGHT ME THE WRONG WAY!
I soon found out that my shoelaces would loosen very quickly. Not a big problem at first because it gave me ample opportunity to train my new skill. But soon it became a nuisance. “MOMMY!, my shoelaces are always loosening up!” I complained to my mother. “No problem,” she said and taught me how to make an additional knot with the loops. That really solved the problem and that's how I tied my shoes from then on for the next 30 years.
Some 30 years later I'm sailing on a little boat with some friends. During sailing sessions the topic of tying knots always comes up. Carel-Jan is going through some basic knots with me. We sail once a year and he has to teach me most of the knots again every year. Except for the basic “flat knot”. I really mastered that one. This time he is also talking about the loosening of knots. This makes me mention my shoelaces and that they always need an extra knot with the loops to keep them from loosening. “Ah,” says Carel-Jan, “Then you're tying them the wrong way. Funny though, it's just a flat knot with loops...”
Two minutes later he has shown me that it really is a flat knot with loops and that I do tie it the wrong way! Thank you very much Edith! And stupid me! I mean, look at the logic! You construct a difficult knot with loops so that you can untie it easily by pulling on one of the ends. And then, because the knot loosens easily by itself, you tie a knot with the loops, thus destroying the advantage of the loops... So why construct loops in the first place? Arrrggggh!
It took me a couple of weeks practising though to be able to tie my shoelaces the correct way without thinking about it too much. It takes time to get rid of some 25 years of shoelace training...
– Tonny V., The Netherlands, 1997
It's amazing that the slip-knot problem isn't better known. I was looking for a website explaining this, and found yours. The illustrations are a great help.
– Eric S., Jan-2004
I stumbled upon your site because my shoes always came undone lol and i could never figure out why. Thanks a million. No more tripping over my laces again!
– Abeer K., Jun-2003
I am a Kindergarten teacher in Summerville, SC. I spend my entire day tying shoe laces it seems! The shoes laces in the shoes they have for kids are a JOKE!!!! they are not made to stay tied.
– Judy, SC, USA, Oct-2003
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