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
I spent the first 30 years of my life tying my laces wrong and your very helpful site helped me learn the right way.
– David F., Sep-2023
I learned your shoelace knot last week after 31 years of apparently tying my shoes all wrong. They haven't come untied since. That's worth a few dollarydoos!
– Zachary S., Sep-2023
Thank you, Ian, for teaching me what none of the adults haranguing me for untied shoelaces ever did - the difference between a granny knot and a square knot. I use your Ian knot ever since I first read about it and it's amazing.
– William F., Sep-2023
P.S. because of you, I learned I had been trying my shoes wrong for over 50 years and never wore lace up athletic shoes because they constantly come untied and made the tops of my feet go numb...but now I've learned so much from your site! Thank you thank you thank you
– Krista E., Colorado, USA, Aug-2023
As an engineer, sailor and hunter, I’ve always been interested in the practical use of rope and knots. I’m the proud owner of a copy of ABOK, but I only know by heart a handful.
I’ve made it a habit of observing colleagues and friends’ shoelace knots, and I think I’ve befriended more than I’ve lost by the subsequent lesson. It’s a splendid way of approaching people in an unexpected way, with a surprising subject.
It usually ends with me having their phone number so that I can send them a link with description. To your site. Just brilliant, the page about the granny knot.
My experience has over the last 23 years of trying to improve the world, concluded that the best way to teach the correct knot is to change «step 1» in your granny-knot-flowchart. The complicated finger mechanics that’s needed for the succeeding procedure is a far more difficult habit to change.
Maybe you could add this as a tip as the easiest (and most pedagogic) way.
– Ståle F., Norway, May-2023
I just wanted to say thank you, you see it turns out I've been tying my shoelaces wrong all these years.
I found this out after learning how to tie reef knots with our local beaver group where I volunteer. I'd never tied one before and sometimes they'd end up unsymmetrical. I could see why but didn't know what to call it when one of the beavers asked me, so I googled it and learned it was a granny knot. I also learned that a shoelace bow is actually a reef knot which led me to your website, where I learned that if your laces are crooked you've probably tied a granny knot instead of a reef knot.
I thought “wait a minute, my shoelaces are crooked!” and realised that I'd been doing them wrong all my life. Mind blown! It turns out the reason my laces are crooked is because I tie the starter knot the opposite way, right over left instead of left over right.
I think I've been doing it right over left so long that it'd be really hard to swap and it's really awkward to do the loop backwards too! So I took a look at your very own Ian knot. At first it looked like magic but once my fingers had the motion it worked, the only problem being your starter knot is opposite to mine, so I decided to mirror the loops to match my starter knot and ta-da, reverse Ian knot!
I think that's how I'm going to tie all my shoelaces now (unless I can master some of your other knots at least) and it might well be how I teach my kids to tie theirs too.
So thank you for teaching me why my shoelaces were wrong and a better way to tie the as well!
– Neil R., Jun-2022
thanks so much- your website helped VERY much with straight lacing for dress shoes. . . . . . . and also when I did physical work. . . . my boots came untied constantly. I was doing Granny Knots. Fixed it then did the stronger double loop versions. perfect
– Matthew Z., Sep-2021
Thank you. Ever since I have mastered the reef knot my laces never come undone.
– John B., Jun-2021
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.
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 always struggled with tying my shoes, I suffered from the granny knot problem you identified, and then I tried your Secure Knot and it works perfectly for me. Thank you!
– Derek H., Apr-2021
Turns out I've been tying granny knots several times a day for 60 years! Thank you.
– Rich W., Feb-2021
My wife still today ties a granny knot and I have tried to show her how to simply adjust the starting knot. It is funny because she has no interest in changing. That is how life is I guess, many of us get stuck doing things the way we always have and aren't willing to see something a different way and adapt.
– Layne E., Utah, USA, Dec-2020
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
I've spent my whole life doing the two loop (Granny Knot) method and have stopped buying lace up shoes as they take longer to put on. I may now go back to wearing lace up shoes as the “Ian Knot” method is so quick and easy!
– Katie C., Jun-2020
Because some kids are confused/do not have laterality yet (don't know left from right and vice versa) I allow them to do their own method. Once they are comfortable, successful, and motivated let's say 6/10 they are independently tying their shoes, that is the time I tell them about the granny not, and they quickly understand the concept.
– Jason M. (occupational therapist), Washington, USA, Jun-2020
My ego had been really hurt when I couldn't recreate the pretty bows of the drawstrings that I'd seen on pants in retail stores. With your logical explanation, I finally learned that it was a basic issue of balance.
– Rini, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar-2020
I am a lifetime double knot tier who often had their laces come undone. It was extra bad recently when I was wearing dress shoes with their thick corded laces with Jeans (business casual). The jeans flap against the laces and they come untied in no time.
I ordered new laces, but then thought, some people dont have this problem, I must be doing something wrong.
I was! I was tying granny laces and didnt know it. All I had to do was change the direction of my initial cross over and boom, laces stopped coming untied. I don't need to double lace. I have joined the unnecessarily elite group of people who don't struggle with their laces.
I made that change just a month ago and am loving tying my shoes ever since.
– Ross B., Nov-2019
Thank you for your great site, I now no longer have to double knot my laces as a bodge fix for my constant granny knots!
– D., Malta, Oct-2019
Anectdote from one of my previous workplaces:
One day I noticed that my boss was tying his shoelaces several times a day. When I looked closer, I saw that he was using the granny.
When I suggested he should try the knot based on the square knot, he replied that it's no use, since the shoelaces are made from a slippery material.
His answer was typical of his pathological inability to draw correct conclusions from simple observations. Rather than starting with a good knot, then move on to a bettor knot if the first one slips to often, he decided to stick with a bad knot, and assume that no other knot would solve his problem, or even make the situation better.
He had an engineering degree, but was by no means one.
– Johannes S., Jul-2019
I'm 45 years old and just recently learned how to NOT tie a granny knot! Thank you!
– Aaron L., Jun-2019
It turned out that I have tied my shoes using a Granny Knot for about 30 years and have directly utilized the Ian Knot in my daily live. Thank you for that!
– Jens A., Germany, May-2019
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 was constantly trying to disabuse folks of tying the granny bow (why isn't this taught in kindergarten, I dunno?)
– Bruce M., USA, Aug-2018
I have been quite frustrated with the many “tie your shoelace videos” on You Tube, frequently featuring adorable children filmed by loving mothers, explaining to, and showing, many other children how to tie their shoelaces. And, you guessed it, they mostly are training the Granny (non secure) Bow Knot. I don't care what method they use to get there, I simply wish that they would be training others how to tie a Square (secure) Bow Knot. I have showed well over 100 (probably 100's of) other people how to change their starting knot, to arrive at the correct, square, secure, horizontal bow knot in their shoes.
– Ken D., Colorado, USA, Apr-2018
Back in 1997 or 1998 (I think!) I found your site from a list of knot related sites -- I'm a knot hobbyist.
Shockingly, I had never noticed that I had been taught to tie my shoes in a granny knot. What is more automatic than tying shoes?
I followed your advice and reversed the first overhand knot and suddenly my shoelaces started staying tied, especially the nasty hard, round,
too-short laces on dress shoes, an erstwhile nightmare. D'oh! Over the years I have told others about your site and this life transforming bit of advice.
I even taught my children, not even an idea when I found your site, to tie their shoes in a proper square knot.
You have saved people countless hours, much frustration, and probably many spills from loose laces.
– John V., Feb-2017
I've been tying a “granny knot” for 46 years and complaining about “cheap shoestrings” coming untied.
Reversed my starting knot and haven't had any problems since including long hikes on uneven terrain that used to untie my shoes regularly.
– Dean S., Jan-2017
I learned to tie my shoelaces on a road trip with my Uncle and Aunt from Massachusetts to Georgia. I think I was 6 or 7 maybe older. The cotton laces usually held okay, but the nylon laces in hiking boots ... notorious for slipping and I have been double knotting for 50 years :-)
I love how you have solved this problem and shown how it is done and I'm starting to use the proper technique now.
– Joe M., Maui, Hawaii, Sep-2016
I also learned the right way to tie the bunny ears tying technique without ending up with a granny knot!
– Razin F., Assam, India, Aug-2016
I just wanted to let you that I was tying a Granny Knot. Today I reversed the “starting knot” & the good news is the knot stayed in the one place all day.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate you helping me with my shoeslaces, when I was tying a “Granny Knot”, I found the knot seemed to be loose & the laces moved.
– Debbie M., Apr-2015
For most of my life (now in my late 30's!) I had knots that came untied, even if I tied “double knots.” Constant tripping, loose shoes, and annoyance. I have been using your “Ian Knot” and “Ian Secure Knot” for almost a year now, and am happy to report that my shoelaces almost never get untied, and that I tie my shoes faster than I could with my previous bad granny knots.
Knowing how to properly tie a knot with your method makes me inordinately happy every morning. It actually brightens my whole day.
– Peter L., Apr-2015
I was in a wheelchair, going to physical therapy, and an orthopedic (bone-&-joint) doctor came by with one of his shoes untied.
I stopped him and tied his shoes (both of them; you know how they were tied).
Anyway, I explained to the doc and said if you can tie a surgeon's knot, you ought to be able to tie your shoes!
He was amused, but he also paid close attention; smart guy, I bet he no longer ties granny bows!
– Chris T., USA, Apr-2015
Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation and yes, you're absolutely correct! I always wondered why the knot wasn't nicely perpendicular to the shoe, but rather tended to be in a “45 degree” angle.
– Marco P., Dec-2014
Just a quick thank you from a 50 year old that has been tying his shoe lace knots wrong for his entire life. I saw you on Going Deep with David Rees and found that simply reversing my starting knot means that I no long need to do double knots. Although, there is one downside, I now have to put up with noise with aglets bouncing around everywhere.
– Matt, Nov-2014
I finally figured out where I was going wrong, I was using the two loop “bunny ears” method and I was repeating the same left over right on both knots to do a granny.
With your help, I got it down pat and finally mastered the standard shoelace knot tying method too (yes, my parents never bothered to teach me the standard knot tying technique!)
PS: I now go around my gym feeling sorry for all the people tying their shoelace wrong. the granny knots are all too obvious to me know, I even teach the people in the gym now to tie their shoelaces properly.
– S.T., Penang, Malaysia, Sep-2014
I never twigged that a standard shoelace knot was essentially a reef knot until reading your page on granny knots :-)
– Andrew M., Sep-2014
Whenever I notice someone's shoelaces seem to come undone very often, I teach them to reverse the starting knot. I have done that to at least 4 people already this school year.
– Andrei R., USA, Sep-2014
I've tied my shoes halfway crooked all my life! That is, I'd start with a right-over-left starting knot and then continue with another right-over-left standard finishing knot... But then I'd pull the second loop towards the left! That'd often leave me with both loose ends on the right side which would then get fixed by loosening a bit and retightening, twisting the actual knot. No wonder I had to tuck it below the shoe's tongue to keep it from coming undone! It also made my surgeon's knot attempts look awful...
– Alexander L., Mar-2014
I also found out why my laces always came undone and why I was always double knotting. I'm using the Ian Knot now and also like the reef knot when I just don't want loops.
– Josh C., Pennsylvania, USA, Feb-2014
I'm 39 now and your site just taught me how to tie my shoes about a month ago. Up until then, I was tying both knots left over right, and ever since I started wearing work boots with the round waxy laces, I've been retying at least 3 times a day (and this is with a double knot, BTW). I chalked it up to the crappy laces, and one day I finally got fed up and decided that I couldn't be the only one having that problem, so I searched the web looking for better laces that would stay tied and still not get chewed up by the metal eyes. Your site was one of the top search results, and it kind of blew me away to realize I'd just been doing it wrong. The funny thing is, I was sometimes even using a surgeons knot because I knew it made the knot tighter, but I was doing a proper surgeons knot where you double up the first knot, instead of doing it on the second knot where it could have been useful on shoes.
My mistake was so simple its almost embarassing (though not really because I don't recall anyone ever actually teaching me “right over left, left over right”). It takes me about 10 extra seconds to tie my shoes in the morning, but I haven't had them come untied once since.
– [anonymous], Texas, USA, Jan-2014
I just realized I've been using the granny knot for 31 years...sigh!
– Amedeo A., Naples, Italy, Jan-2014
I never thought that a high school student would learn how to tie his shoes again! Just like most other people, I learned how to tie my shoes at a very young age (5 yrs. old for me). I never payed attention to how I tied them or why they would come undone. I thought that was supposed to happen.
As I grew up, I began to wonder why my knots were never centered on my shoe, and why they always looked so ugly :/. I always thought that a double knot was necessary in order for your shoes to stay tied. These ugly “double knots” I always tied looked so sloppy. This problem was so annoying and frustrating, yet so insignificant that I never took the time to find the answer!
I began to wonder more about why on ALL of my shoes, my knots just SUCKED. It finally caught my attention recently, and I turned to Google for the answer, where I found your beautiful website. I don't understand how such a simple thing has change my life Ian, but it truly has. The knots on all my shoe now look gorgeous and centered. I don't remember the last time my shoes have come untied. Thanks to you, my whole life has changed! Every time I look at my shoes now I see a beautiful knot and I feel so good.
– Tommy V., Nov-2013
I wonder if you can tell me what knot I am using. I end up with the left (blue) lace on the right side of the bow, but I noticed that none of your diagrams end up that way.
This is my process in full:
1. L over R and through
2. R loop
3. L around front and through—but when I push through, this is what happens:
• I use my right forefinger to pass the lace (from behind) through to my left hand
• I re-grasp the bow with my right hand (by bringing my right thumb down to press the bow against the side of my forefinger)
• I pull my hands away from each other to tighten the knot
Is this still a Granny knot? It never comes out crooked, but maybe that's just the result of practice?
– Ryan J., New York City, USA, Aug-2013
Ian's Reply: Pulling the loops in the opposite direction will still result in a “Granny Knot”. Although the bow will initially sit straight, the moment the knot comes under tension (such as by walking) the bow will twist back into a crooked position and the knot will start to loosen.
– Ian Fieggen, Aug-2013
I'm 63 years old and now know how to keep my shoelaces tied. I'd seen instructions before but never had the time or patience to study them. Your one statement “Reverse the starting knot” made it clear! Thanks!
– Max C., Nevada, USA, Jun-2013
I think having looked at this some more that I AM doing a granny knot. The problem is that I am doing the starting knot the same way as you and then doing the bow part left-handed. I have now tied one of my shoes with a reversed starting knot as well and will see how they last!
– Keith M., London, UK, May-2013
Thanks again for the Ian's Secure Knot. I actually did a test with some particularly slippery round laces by tying one shoe with my usual bunny ear granny knot and the other with the ISK. My old way came undone TWICE during the day and the ISK lasted the whole day. I even used a double knot the first time the first shoe came undone and it still came loose. I really like the fact that the ISK comes undone surprisingly easy considering how secure it holds.
After over 40 years of being a “bunny ears” user, one more time around and through the middle was a simple transition!
– Mike P., Ontario, Canada, Dec-2012
I did find the page on loose laces informative, as I had been suffering that issue with my work shoes for years, resorting to double knotting in an attempt to stop the slippage.
– Philip O., Glasgow, Scotland, Jul-2012
I come in contact with you site as I was looking for a way to get my slight ill-fitting working shoes more comfortable. Turned out that a sawtooth lacing did the trick. And as a bonus I even learned how to tie my shoes! (not doing granny-knots) Thanks!
– Daniel D., Sweden, Jul-2012
I am 58 and I have just discovered that I have been tying grannies all my life. Maybe I will no longer have to double knot my laces (and they still used to come untied).
– Paul G., Queensland, Australia, Jun-2012
For 20 years or so, I have always had problems with slipping shoelaces, and I think this might be because I'm tying a “Granny Knot”.
When I compare your site with how I actually tie my shoelaces, it mostly resembles the “Two loop” shoelace knot, but I start with right over left, instead of left over right.
However, I'm also doing right loop over left loop.
Do I understand correctly that this causes the “Granny Knot” ?
I have tried doing the loops differently but this is very hard for me to do this. Doing the start knot differently seems easier, but still it's hard to change habits I guess.
I'll try this for a few weeks, and see if it works better (I'm confident it will).
– Kenny M., May-2012
Till I discoverd your website, some years ago now, I always made Granny knots on my shoes! Never known there was such a world behind knots.
– Rob M., The Netherlands, Feb-2012
For all of my life I have done only standard shoelace knot in the wrong way (granny knot). I like very much your Ian knot and I think I'm going to use this in the future.
– Maurizio, Italy, Oct-2011
I swear, it's three days, and I am still thrilled at the end of the day to discover my shoes laced as tight as they were in the morning. It's like there's the 55 years living before I learned how to properly tie my shoes, and that which came after. So, here's to the next 55 years! Something I might achieve now that I'm less likely to stumble over untied boot laces and off a cliff's edge.
– Rocky R., Los Angeles, California, Sep-2011
I have found out at 39 I've been tying laces wrong!....ie: making a granny knot by not alternating starting knot and then rabbit ears.....I always wondered why my laces were crooked!!
– Paul B., Queensland, Australia, Jul-2011
I now know that I never learned to tie my shoelaces properly! I've always used the two loop knot--I learned it as a little boy from a kids' T.V. show called Romper Room, which was American so you probably wouldn't know it unless they had an Australian version--and although I knew the bunny ears were considered a knot for children, I never saw any reason to change (and in New York, where I live, who the hell cares?). But with certain shoes (not all of them) the knots invariably loosened or came undone entirely. I blamed it on the laces and tried different types, but to no avail; I also thought perhaps there was something about the particular shoe--too stiff, perhaps, and therefore too much tension, which was pulling the knot apart. Finally I figured the knot itself was the problem, and although I know the standard knot I've never really liked it, so I did a search hoping to find out if there were other knots that could be used. That's how I found you.
But now I see what the problem was. Here's how I had been doing it: I tied a yellow-over-blue starting knot, then crossed the blue loop on top of the yellow, and then looped the blue around and under the yellow. I guess that produced the unstable granny knot you talk about on your site. I tried your way this morning on a pair of shoes that often come untied and so far (it's only noon New York time) they're holding. I have to admit, though, that I feel like a little boy again. A blue-over-yellow starting knot is no big deal, and crossing the blue loop on top of the yellow was what I was doing anyway, but looping yellow around and under blue is hard to do after so many years of doing the reverse and it's going to take some practice for my fingers to get the hang of it without letting the starting knot loosen too much. I have not one but two master's degrees, yet a five-year-old can tie his laces better than I now can.
It's hard not to be embarrassed by the fact that I'm 56 and only now have learned how to tie my shoes (damn you, Romper Room!), but better late than never, I guess.
– Paul S., USA, Jul-2011
My whole life I've been unawarely tying them with a “Granny Knot”, by making a “Standard Shoelace Knot” with the loose end going around the wrong way. Which is pretty much what most people's problem is, I guess.
– J.C., Lisbon, Portugal, Jun-2011
I never knew, but I seem to have knotted millions of granny knots throughout my life (I'm 43). Obviously I've never developed a routine about the start of the standard knot, doing it this way or that way, but I have always finished it with right loop, left end around front. You have opened my eyes! Luckily, my son, aged 8 (!), has so far refused to be bothered with this matter, so I haven't had much chance to teach him the wrong way.
– Silke S.L., Lübeck, Germany, Jun-2011
I've read an article about “Granny knot” on your site... I'm so disappointed now. I was doing it wrong for the whole life!
– Alex, Estonia, Apr-2011
I also diagnosed myself as a “granny knot” tier and thus came out with an odd looking shoelace. All my life, I've been tying my shoes right over left instead of left over right. Thanks for the insight!
– Marc R., Texas, USA, Mar-2011
Apparently, my entire life I have had my “starting knot” backwards, such that I was always tying granny knots. Your web-page has saved me from loose laces.
– Marc P., Mar-2011
no more granny knots for me.....thx
– Sup S., Mar-2011
Upon further exploration of your website, I discovered why my shoelaces always came undone and why my bows always sat vertically. Yes, like many other unenlightened individuals, I had been tying Granny Knots my whole life! I learned to tie bows on my own as a child (through osmosis or observation, I guess) – no one taught me or corrected me. Sometime during my teenage years, I started doing double knots. But my original knot was not balanced, so the double knot still came undone every so often. I had pretty much resigned myself to continued decades of imperfect bows and insecure knots. Until last week, when I read your solution to achieving a balanced knot. I am happy to report that, at 40 years old, I finally know how to tie my shoelaces properly. For the past six days, I have been using your Secure Shoelace Knot on my shoes and my apron (I work full time in food service)... and not once has any of the knots come undone. I feel confident and safe, and my bows actually look quite fetching. That's what I call a great start to 2011.
– Lynette N., Massachusetts, USA, Jan-2011
Oh me Oh my, after 46 years (admittedly I probably couldn't tie my shoelaces for a few of those) I finally know why my laces don't sit properly – it was all in the wrong starting knot for my finishing loops. Thank you.
I got to this site while searching for how to teach my left-handed son how to tie his laces (and I knew I did my “wrong” so I needed help). Now he can learn and I know how to do them too.
– Alison M., Melbourne, Australia, Oct-2010
Same compliments as usual, I was tying a granny knot and now know better. Now I only use Ian's knot which is amazing. Trying to convince my wife to stop doing the same granny knot then tying the double knot, it now annoys me to see her do that.
– David S., Sep-2010
For the longest time I had ended up “double knotting” my shoelaces in an attempt to keep my laces from coming undone, and rather than untie to remove my shoes,
I would just slip my foot in or out of the shoe, which causess a lot of wear and tear, I'm sure, though I'd never thought about it.
I never knew I was tying my laces wrong, and thats why they continually came undone! XD now I can actually tie and untie my shoes and reduce wear and tear... and your over under lacing method is awesome!
– Jessica G., 25, West Virginia, USA, Jul-2010
I was tying granny knots and I was double knotting them because the laces came loose all the time. I now tie my shoe laces correctly and my shoes are so much more comfortable. Thank you!
– Debbie C., Pennsylvania, USA, May-2010
Our family's method was something near Standard Shoelace Knot but we pass the lace in front of the loop (and not behind). So for 23 years of my life I lace up in wrong way my shoes.
– Vuk K., Italy, Apr-2010
I was pretty shocked and very happy to have found a solution to my slipping shoe laces. In fact, I would say every bow I ever tied is incorrect, with the exception of my bow ties which for some reason i tied correctly but never questioned the difference in method.
– Theo C., Apr-2010
I learned the Standard Knot today (doing a granny knot before). Tomorrow I will try the Ian Knot.
– Kai H., Germany, Feb-2010
I stumbled upon your site searching for reasons why my swim trunk cord won't stay tight. I figured that somebody must have figured out a way to keep his trunks on. Of course I tie mine the same way I tie my shoes.
I'm pretty good with knots, but I never knew that there were two different ways to tie up laces. Your site makes it very plain pretty quickly what the issue is. I was so stunned I spent the next half-hour trying different patterns. I like your double knot, but your observation that people who know how to tie a proper bow don't generally need the triple-strength version is right on. I actually have to tie my laces with less tension now, because I don't immediately gain a half-inch of slack after releasing the bows. I tie my shoes many times in a day between dressing, the gym, going out, relaxing. It is surprising to me how much pleasure it gives me now to do it correctly. And I will definitely be retying my shoes many fewer times each day.
My kids are age 20 and 23. Since I taught them how to tie their shoes, I wondered if they were both doing it wrong too. +1 for daughter, -1 for son. Well, at least we saved him thirty additional years of frustration. It's very funny to me that this isn't discussed at all at the critical age for children.
It's got me looking at everyone else's bows too. I bet you do that all the time. At tennis tonight two of my group had them laced correctly, but one of the four had a diagonal knot. The telltale sign of the granny. Before today we would have been two and two. Ha ha ha.
Thanks for the information. It has made my week.
– Eric J., Jan-2010
Ian, I just want to thank you so very much for showing me how to tie my shoe laces so they will STAY tied! After reading your information, this is such a simple change for me to make after 68 years of double knots and untied shoe laces!
– Kathleen A., Kansas, USA, Nov-2009
For all my life I've been repeating (doubling) two-loop granny knots in order to try to keep my shoes on, when all I had to do was reverse direction between the starting knot and the finishing bow. Thanks for clearing that up!
– Michael H., Sep-2009
For years my wife has told me I tie my shoes “wrong”. My mother was left handed and I'm right so I my normal knot is a granny knot. Because it often comes lose I frequently make a double knot to keep it secure.
I heard about your site from a friend and tried your knot. It took only a few seconds, one try, to learn and it's great!
It seems odd to have laces across my shoe rather than up and down it. My wife will laugh.
I just got back from the gym (including 45 minutes on a treadmill) and my shoes are as tight as when I left home.
It's funny. I'm 65 and just now learning to tie my shoes!
– Ray S., California, USA, Jun-2009
Thank you, thank you. I have been tying my shoelaces wronge for 65 years. i have a pair of Native American moccasins and the rawhide laces always come untied, now they don't. i can ride my bike and walk around my 30 acres without having to tie my shoelacs 5 or 6 times. Thanks again.
– Mary, Michigan, USA, Jun-2009
I discovered I have been tying shoe laces incorrectly for 40 years. Your tip on reversing the starting knot has sorted things.
– Stuart R., Scotland, UK, Jun-2009
I'd always tied my shoes the “bunny ears” way, and never even realized that the Granny knot was the cause of utmost frustration throughout my childhood. A born perfectionist, I was always very very very angry when the bow turned out lopsided...
– Julia P., May-2009
I was having problems with my laces constantly coming undone, but with help from your site, I realized I had been tying granny knots. (The problem was that i had been tying the starting knot backwards.)
– Casey R., Sweden, May-2009
Thanks for putting up an interesting and informative site, and making me realise that I've been an inveterate granny knotter for 34 years!
– Will S., Apr-2009
Back in 1st grade I was taught the “Two Loop Knot” I hated this knot. It didn't sit right and would never keep. It was not till I saw your site and learned I've been using the dreaded granny knot for the past 22 years. Thank you for fixing the way I tie my shoes!
– David R., Apr-2009
A couple of years ago I had a Paul Dirac moment and realised that there were two distinct ways of forming a conventional bow, one being the equivalent of a reef knot and the other a granny, and that the difference might account for some bows coming undone while others don't. Part of me finds it hard to believe that it took me a good forty years to notice this, but I soon found that nobody I told seemed to have thought about it and, astonishingly, I couldn't arouse interest even in the mathematically inclined. So after that I just kept this epiphany to myself.
– David S., UK, Mar-2009
I have always been frusterated about my shoelaces being crooked (the bow turning sideways). Your site helped me find out that...I have been doing the granny knot!! AH! NO! I was using the standard shoelace knot but instead of wrapping the lace around the loop from the back, I was doing it from the front.
– Carly S., Jan-2009
I've been lacing and relacing, knotting and reknotting my shoes for nearly an hour now.
Finally I understand why I've had to double-knot all these years...I was taught a granny knot!
Now that I know so much about tying laces, I can teach my daughters (now at lace-tying ages) how to do it correctly.
– Annie K., Kansas, USA, Nov-2008
Ever since I learnt to tie my shoelaces (I am now 23) I have been using an unbalanced “Granny Knot”, and couldn't work out why my laces on certain shoes kept coming undone. I now just reverse my starting knot, to balance the knot, and my shoelaces stay done up – such a simple but effective solution! Thank you so much!
– Peter R., Weymouth, England, Oct-2008
I couldn't believe that all along I've been tying the good ol' Granny knot. How foolish I felt. I've since corrected my tying technique for my work shoes. Just completely amazing how such a simple knot (the standard knot) can change so much.
– Larry E., Kyoto, Japan, Sep-2008
I also learned that for an embarassingly long time I've been trying Granny Knots. My shoelaces always untied themselves, so I just gave up and started double-knotting my shoes. That was several decades ago. Now I won't have to!
– Alan S., Wisconsin, USA, Jun-2008
I was reading about the “Granny Knot”, and discovered I was guilty of tying them. Now that I'm aware of it I'm trying to break my habit.
– Jenny C., May-2008
I'm one of those who has been perpetually plagued by untying shoelaces. It has become something of a running gag between myself and those I know: my shoelaces are just always untied because I more or less gave up on them, and have been kind of stubborn about learning what I was doing wrong...
Anyhow, turns out I've just always been making Granny Knots because I was taught the two loop shoelace knot method, but never taught (or never learned) to reverse the starting knot.
I look forward to being able to live the next two thirds of my life without the stigma of being unable to properly tie my shoes, I wanted to send you a personal huge THANK YOU for your website, and the care that you have taken in putting such a great resource of information together. If only everyone could have such an understanding of shoelace physics!
– Alan C., Mar-2008
I've found that I've been tying my shoes the wrong way all my life (Standard Shoelace Knot, Start: Left end over Right end & through, Finish: Right loop, Left end around Front).
I think I shall try to switch my starting knot around (as you say, re-learning the finishing bow looks like much more work to me), or possibly try to adopt a different knot altogether (such as your Ian Knot or Secure Knot!)
– Philip N., Feb-2008
I tie my shoes in the standard shoelace knot, but was having a heck of a time trying to teach something to an impatient six year old that I have never given much thought to myself.
I gave up and tried the bunny ear method. But the knots were messy and came undone. I simply concluded that either this was an inferior method or that I was doing it wrong.
So today I set out to educate myself on shoelace tying. Hence I found you. (Thank the Lord!)
And I was stunned to discover that when I tried to teach my son the two loop method, I was doing the Granny Knot!! Who Knew?!?!?!
After reading your explanation, I feel liberated and enlightened. I quickly phoned my school teacher neighbour, whom I had phoned in desperation to help me teach my son, and told her not only did I not need to bring my son over BUT I told her about the granny knots! As I said – Who Knew?!?
– Janice C., USA, Feb-2008
A year ago I started employment as a postal carrier in Canada. I walk probably about 8km a day on the job and found that particularly in winter when wearing boots, a lace would come undone probably three or four times a day. Stopping to retie ones boot in deep snow conditions is particularly frustrating because I'll often wear gaiters that cover much of the boot and these must be undone to get at the undone lace. I began to suspect that a shoe lace knot on a ankle boot receives much more stress than a shallow shoe and started to wonder if there was a more effective way to tie a lace for a boot.
The internet is always great to find immense amount of information on topics which some may consider too trivial to matter to anyone. Hence, I was very pleased to instantly come up with your site on a goggle search of the topic. I quickly discovered that the knot I was tying for my shoes since childhood was the deficient “Granny Knot”. In order to cut-to-the-chase, I decided to field test the knot rated as one of the most secure – the “Ian's Secure Knot”.
I have tried this knot on my boots for a couple of days without it ever coming undone! Thanks very much for this wonderful web site. I've book marked it and will probably later try out other knots that are more efficient to make and are sufficiently strong for lower cut shoes for summer use. I may even try relacing my boot to the “Ladder Lace” which may be more practical for my occupation.
– Leo B., Canada, Jan-2008
I was so excited to read your article in the “Running Today” magazine! I have been teaching people how to tie their shoes the correct way for about 35 years. I also stop people, when their shoes come untied and ask them if they'd like me to show them how to tie their shoes so that they won't come untied. Some people look at me like I am nuts, and others let me show them. I actually learned how to tie my shoes the right way by watching “Captain Kangaroo” when my children were toddlers. Until that time, I never knew there was a right and a wrong way to tie shoes. It was so exciting to learn about it. I have taken it upon myself to teach anyone I come in contact with, who has lopsided bows on their shoes. I didn't know there was anyone else out there like me. Who taught you to tie your shoes the proper way?
I was in the ER at my local hospital a while back, and the person sitting next to me had lopsided bows on their shoes, so I asked them if they wanted me to show them how to tie them, so that they wouldn't come undone. Well, I heard a voice from about 25 feet away yelling, “I am having dejavu (can't spell it) from about 20 years ago, when you showed my how to tie my shoes!” Isn't that funny!
Last year my daughter and I spent a whole weekend teaching her boyfriend how to tie a Winsor knot in his tie, and tie his shoes the proper way. He learned how to tie his tie, but still hasn't mastered the shoe tying. I didn't realize it was so difficult.
Yesterday I asked my cousin if she knows how to tie her shoes, so that they don't come undone. She said “Not as long as I tie them in double knots.” Now she knows how to tie them, without using double knots.
– Margo B., Massachusetts, USA, Jul-2007
I haven't had to double knot my shoes since I found your site. Thanks!
– Melissa S., Pennsylvania, USA, Jul-2007
Came across your site after someone told me that there is another way to tie a shoe then using a “Bunny Ears loop”. Never even knew there was another way or that this one is called a Bunny Ears loop (funny name too!). So browsed your site for a bit and got to the conclusion that I've been tying my shoes in the wrong “granny loop” way for 20 years (second loop the wrong way). Which is probably why they go loose all the time.
Will start either reversing it or using a standard knot.
Thanks to the site, hopefully no more loose knots after an hour of walking ;)
– Andy C., Belgium, Jul-2007
I have been blaming my laces for years for my shoes coming undone, now I know it's just the Granny Knot I've been using.
– Dan W., Toronto, Canada, Apr-2007
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
I believe a correct standard shoelace knot is a “slipped reef knot”, and an incorrect one is a “slipped granny knot”.
– Matthew F., Sep-2006
After looking at your page describing slipping knots, I discovered that I've been tying my shoes incorrectly my entire life! In fact, I've been double knotting them to keep them tied as well. I was a Boy Scout as a kid and enjoyed tying knots and tying them correctly. So, this was quite a shock. Anyway, I plan to try the “secure knot” for a while, it's quite pretty. Keep up the good work!
– Tim H., Minnesota, USA, Jul-2006
I am a lefty that has been suffering from double-knot syndrome for the last 25 years. I've ALWAYS double-knotted my shoes because a single-knot never stayed. And then they were a pain to untie and were always crooked anyhow.
Well turns out that I was simply reversing the initial loop. After following your directions and tying them the correct way I have YET to have a correctly knotted single-knot come untied. Furthermore, they now lay straightly, too!
So thanks. I've told several others about your site, but the typical reaction is that I'm a dork for getting so excited over properly tied laces. Oh, well.
– Nick, Jun-2006
There are so many variations of the basic standard shoelace knot, which is the one I usually teach, that parents are really surprised. The beginning starting knot can be left over right and under heel to toe, or left over right and under toe to heel or right over left and under heel to toe, or right over left and under toe to heel. Then the single bow can be made on the left or the right. Then the other string can go around heel to toe or toe to heel.
However, if they are combined incorrectly, the knot ends up slipping out, turned toe-to-heel and a slip knot instead of a secure knot. Most people are not even aware that there is a difference between a secure knot and a slip knot. And then there are the people who say one is for left-handed people and one is for right-handed people. I have heard many parents who are right-hand dominant, say that they can not teach their child who is left-hand dominant how to tie their shoes. Such a simple and common task, and yet so many people can not tie their shoes so that they stay tied.
– Betsy L. (occupational therapist), Wisconsin, USA, Jun-2006
I was trying to teach my son to tie his shoelaces (without a lot of success) when I wondered, “Am I doing it right?”
After all, I am one of the people whose shoelaces are always crooked or coming untied. Until I happened on your site, I thought I just didn't have enough physical strength to tie them tightly. Your site informed me otherwise.
Since learning the proper techniques today, my preschooler tied his shoes using the “Two Loop (Bunny Ears) Knot” and I have mastered your “Secure Shoelace Knot,” the “Ian Knot,” and many others.
– a “Mom-in-need”, USA, Jun-2006
When I was a child of about six years I still could not tie my shoes... Finally my father managed to show me the trick: the Two Loop Shoelace Knot. But I only learnd the false version of it: the slip knot. I mostly managed by tying a second knot over it. Only when I got to my thirties and became a yachtsman I realized that I had used a false version and how to correct it.
– Andreas F., Germany, May-2006
As a child, I had found the two loop method more sensible, given that it requires consistent tasks for both the left and right hand. What I learned from your site is that I've been tying slip knots all my life. Well here I am, Forty-seven years old, and I've just learned to tie my shoe laces properly today -- thanks to you!
Interestingly (to me anyway) I had passed my double-loop method on to my children, and I've discovered that they too were often tying slip-knots!!! So through your web-site, you've likely saved countless generations of my progeny from experiencing the pain and suffering that results from bad shoe lace tying...
– Matt D., Northern Illinois, USA, Mar-2006
My shoelaces have been coming untied for years, and after recently buying a new pair of shoes, I wanted this “untie” problem to come to an end. I searched the Web for a solution, and found your Website. My “untie” problem is now in the past..it was just as you said, I was making a slip knot. That's the way I was taught as a child.
I first tried your, Ian Secure Knot. That was my solution! That was my shoelace security forever!
– Dave P., Feb-2006
Thanks Ian !!!!! I had just bought some new shoelaces & they were driving me nuts. I'd be walking & having to bend over numerous time to retie my shoelaces. I had been looking for the same kind of shoelaces that came with my shoes when I bought them, but was having no luck. Finally, I said to myself, there's got to be another way of tieing a knot. I did a search on “tying shoelaces” and ran into your website.
I feel like a kid when he first learns how to tie his shoelaces.
Reverse your starting knot.................... pretty darn simple & effective way !!!!
– David T., Texas, USA, Dec-2005
A friend and I stumbled across your website when trying to tackle his lifelong problem of unraveling laces (turns out he's a slave to the slip knot! He's working on fixing it. We both like Ian's Standard Knot as a good replacement.)
– Dana M., Oct-2005
Yes, I have spent my entire life tying slip knots. My shoes were ALWAYS untied.
This has been going on since the 50's!!!
Anyway, I found your site, reversed my Starting Knot and now my shoes stay tied.
Well most of the time. I seems that I have trouble remembering what my starting knot was so that I can reverse it. I have had some success with just doing what feels “wrong”.
Anyway, I love your site, and recommend it to anyone who seems to need it.
– Sam K., Florida, USA, Aug-2005
I am in my mid-40's, was taught the “Standard Knot” around 1965, but my bows have always mysteriously twisted 90 degrees and easily come undone. For three decades I have simply used a “double knot”, then fiddled about to untie them each morning. In a fit to not repeat my own father's mistake, I used the “bunny ear” technique for my son around 1990. Tonight, in the last nights before he heads off to college, I looked at his bows and they smugly stared back at me from his dirty sneakers at 6 and 12 o'clock. We both looked at your diagrams and in 5 minutes, we reversed our “under” knot (much easier then undoing a lifetime's training on the final bow) and our bows sat graciously at 3 and 9 o'clock. I did not actually yet do a formal “riverdance” stress test to see if they will hold single knotted and I leave that test to a future date. In 30 minutes you have undone a lifetime of mislearning and your side-by-side comparison graphic was perfect!
– Dave, Florida, USA, Aug-2005
I thought I was the only nut who cared about show laces. When I was a small child I noticed sometimes the bow would be horizontal and sometime vertical. I sat and tied my shoes until I figured out why and how to make them horizontal each time.
– Mitzi H., Aug-2005
I had gone all winter cursing “round” laces that come with boots claiming they were prone to untie and switched them out for flat laces. Turns out I've been tying a “slip knot” my entire life (I'm 44!) I reversed by beginning step and ta dah! No shoe untying problem anymore! (except when I step on a lace end!)
Thanks! Now I'll teach my 6, 8, & 10 year olds to help prevent a lifetime of constantly retying shoes.
– John S., Jun-2005
As a man who has suffered with slippery laces coming undone at the worst moments, specially with winter and hiking boots, I know what I'm talking about. My double knots for sneakers and flat-lace hiking boots, usually ended up with terrible hard to undo knots. Boots with round polyester laces came undone no matter what. I'm looking forward to trying your knots.
– John S., Jun-2005
I found out that I've been tying my shoes with a granny knot for 25 years. Okay, maybe not quite 25. How old was I when I learned...? I've always been miffed at the fact that my bow would turn sideways. Didn't have much trouble with them coming undone, but when I did, I just double knotted the loops afterwards. I think my wife has the same problem because her's are always coming undone.
– Jeff L., Apr-2005
As a tennis pro (teaching pro, not one of the guys you see playing on TV), I often run into 5-to-7-year-olds who can't seem to keep their laces tied, and often the ends are sans aglets, making things more difficult. From what I've seen on your site, I have a better idea of how this happens, and perhaps how to help fix it.
– Bob K., Apr-2005
I have been trying to persuade my wife to tie reef knot bows instead of granny's for about 20 years, she claims she understands what I am saying but it doesn't matter to her very much that her shoelaces always come undone (!!).
– Peter G., Apr-2005
I then saw a warning about slipping knots. I instantly realized the picture of the crooked bow as my own. I'm 17 years old and for my entire life, I've been tieing crooked knots and trying to twist them straight, and tieing them many times over when they came undone. I had resorted to double knotting, which took forever and clumped my laces into odd jumble of knots. I never gave it enough thought to look for a flaw in the initial tieing. The relief of finally fixing my starting knot could be comparable to removing a thorn that had been stuck in one's toe since the beginning of existence.
– Zaker K., USA, Mar-2005
Love it, love it, love it!! I can not believe what a difference this makes. I do a great deal of hiking and never once thought it was the knot, but always my walking “style” or, perhaps, my shoes. I have always “double knotted” and even that would come undone. I am now, newly, just tying one knot for the ENTIRE day! What a treat.
– Susan L., Pennsylvania, USA, Mar-2005
Your site rock!!! It has saved the life of my son's 3rd grade teacher because of his endless complaints about my son's shoelaces coming untied. It has also revealed that my husband has been tying a “slip” knot his entire life. I can't tell you how elated I am...having solved the Case of the Untied Shoes. I never stopped to realize that the mechanics of the knot was so critical. Shoe tying is just something you do...but now armed with my new expanded knowledge...I am thrilled to be able to help my son and other children I might meet.
Funny thing is that I taught my son to tie his shoes. He is right handed, but often likes use his left hand. Making a bow with his left hand...as I do...simply didn't feel correct. So he makes his starting knot left over right, but then makes the bow with his right hand. This causes the “slip” knot”.
– Susan L., Pennsylvania, USA, Mar-2005
The first picture on the slipping knots page made me laugh. I thought, “who is walking around with their knots looking like that?” Then I looked down at my own feet (luckily I am wearing lace-up shoes today) and saw that my laces looked like that. Horror. I am always amazed that my husband can still only tie his shoes by looping the 2 “bunny ears” but I obviously wasn't taught correctly either. I tried to follow your directions but was totally confused. Thankfully, you had simpler instructions below. I changed the direction of my starting knot (not an easy thing to do) and miraculously, my bow is now perfectly straight across and lovely. I am truly amazed. Thank you.
– Amber P., Mar-2005
Very practical, indeed, was your advice to reverse the starting knot, rather than having to learn how to tie the whole knot correctly. Thanks!
– Meri M., Washington, USA, Mar-2005
Thank you SO MUCH for your site! I can't believe I have spent almost a quarter of a century tying and retying my laces and never understanding why they constantly come undone.
I am still trying to remember to reverse my starting knot each time, but I think in another few years I may start doing it automatically. Wish me luck!
– Liz T., New York, USA, Mar-2005
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't believe that my shoes stayed tied all day. First time in years and years. I've been double knotting my laces and I hated the way that looked.
I simply reversed the way I was doing the initial tie, 'cause I couldn't figure the rest of it out. But now, with more time, I read all the way to the end and also I think I figured out what you mean when you say Under the loop. Anyway, I'll try that out tomorrow. Also, I always have trouble with my bows--dresses, packages, hair ribbons--you name it. Now, I finally understand what I was doing wrong (I think).
Thanks so much. Ain't the Internet wonderful! Never would have thought to even look on it for how to tie shoe strings, (I didn't know I didn't know how!) but someone had put your web site on Zappos.com, and that's where I found it.
– Pat F., Feb-2005
My bows always pointed north & south instead of east & west, and always, always came undone. Now I know why!
– Henry T., Feb-2005
In your instructions for Standard Shoelace Knot, you correctly describe to tie the “starting knot” as “left over right”. This is critical. If you do the starting knot “right over left” and then do the rest of the knot also “right over left” then you have a classic “granny knot” as opposed to what is correctly tied as a variation of a plain old “square knot”.
A few years ago, I realized I had always been tying my shoes as granny knots. Since I have started paying attention to this, they stay tied better.
– Mark D., 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
I'm glad to now understand why my shoelaces have been coming loose so often – I can see from your explanation that I was definitely doing granny knots. I've now started simply reversing the starting knot each time and all seems fine.
I've only really noticed the laces coming loose in the last few months – maybe I was previously doing the starting knot OK? It's odd really because I've always been quite interested in knots and splicing and can always do a reef knot OK without it becoming a granny knot. But I'd never made the connection that a normal “bow” for shoelaces is basically a reef knot.
Before realising my “bows” were “grannys” I'd tried your Ian's secure knot and that was fine – I think though for the moment I'll stick to a normal bow but done properly.
– Adrian F., Derby, UK, 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).
Today I tied my shoes with the “rabbit ear” method but with half knots of opposite orientation (being an experimental scientist, I had to confirm that symmetry had indeed been the problem) and they stayed tied all day. (My normal knots last about ten minutes.)
– 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 wanted to mention that my dad, and now me, is always telling people how to lace their shoes right. Most people do the “standard knot”, but they do it WRONG! It seems that 95% of people have their bows laying crooked and coming undone easily. The easiest way I've found to explain how to fix it is to do it whatever way they normally do, but when looping around, go the opposite way (front instead of back or vice versa). That way, no matter whether they cross over left or right, it works.
– Dacie L., 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 had to tell everyone at work how well it worked! I work in a busy doctor's office and don't have time to keep tying my shoes all the time and double knots are a hassle when you go to take off your shoes. It works great. Thanks!!
– M.C.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
Thanks for your web-page – it showed me why my shoelaces have been coming loose for the last twenty years. I still haven't broken the habit of doing them the wrong way, but I think I'll get there.
– Alex M., May-2004
I used to have to always double knot my shoes.. I was doing it wrong.. Now I don't have to .. Thank you very much!
– Fraser, 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
Many time before I very often make starting knot in a wrong way (may be because I'm left-hand man?) and it comes undone as a result. I ask my self why? Now I know!
– Sergey, Germany, Apr-2004
I discovered that I've been tying a slipknot all these years, btw. I'm going to try reversing my starting knot as that seems the easiest way to correct the problem. But I think I'll try switching to Ian Secure Knot, too.
– Keith E., 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. 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!)
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.
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.
It almost seems “silly” to think that how you tie or lace your shoes is all that significant, but like one of the comments from someone in your feedback section remarks, it is truely fascinating to gain a completely different perspective on something that we do every day without even thinking about it, and generally take for granted. It would be like if someone said there was a different way to breathe :-)
– 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 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
The way almost all children do it is with two long bunny ears knotting them together twice, often into a granny, and then a third knot to keep them tied.
– Arthur J., California, USA, Sep-2003
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
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