Ian's Starting Knot

Ian's Starting Knot diagram

Ian's fast way to tie the foundation of most shoelace knots, using a mirrored “Ian Knot” technique with the ends then pulled all the way through.

Step 1:

Fold both lace ends into “loops”

Make both ends into “loops” by simply doubling them back onto themselves.

Step 2:

Twist both loops clockwise

Twist both loops clockwise so that the left (blue) loose end is at the back and the right (yellow) loose end is at the front.

Step 3:

Cross loops, right (yellow) in front

Cross the loops with the right (yellow) loose end in front.

NOTE: The loops are really more “alongside” each other, which is difficult to illustrate.

Step 4:

Feed loops through each other

Each hand uses the two fingers inside its own loop to grab the loose end of the other hand's loop.

Step 5:

Loops emerge from both sides

Each hand releases its own loop and pulls the loose end of the opposite loop through its own.

Step 6:

Ends being pulled all the way through

Continue pulling so that the loose ends are gradually pulled all the way through the bottom of the knot.

Step 7:

Pull tight to complete the knot

When the ends have passed all the way through pull tight to complete the knot.

TIP: See also the detailed finger illustrations for the original “Ian Knot”, which can help understand how to tie this knot similarly fast.

Technical Details

Technical Name

The finished knot is known as a “Half Knot”, which is one of the most basic of all knots. Ian's Starting Knot therefore isn't technically a new “knot”, rather it is a new “technique” or “method”, which differs only in the manner and speed of tying.

Tying Tips

• From Step 5 onwards, try not to let the knot tighten down too early, which would make it more difficult to pull the loose ends out of that tight knot. Instead, allow the shoelace to partly slide between the fingertips while tightening. This allows the loose ends to completely exit the knot before things get too tight.

• An alternative to the above tip is to use the pinkies to pull the loose ends out of the knot before pulling tight.

• It's important to remember that the core technique of this knot is almost identical to my original Ian Knot – although done in reverse (ie. mirror image). Most people will probably find it easier to firstly learn the Ian Knot before attempting this mirrored variation with the ends pulled through. In particular, making use of the Ian Knot's more detailed instructions and finger illustrations, which show exactly how to use the fingertips to hold the laces and pass things through.

Tying Speed

Looking at the lengthy instructions for this technique, it's hard for anyone to imagine that it could be faster. Comparing it to their existing technique – which they have likely perfected over many years – this knot probably isn't any faster.

What really gives this knot the edge is when it is followed up with my Ian Knot. Each uses almost identical finger movements – only mirrored. This consistency results in a fluidity of movement: One in-out stage (starting knot) followed by a second in-out stage (finishing bow) and the shoe is tied – almost like magic!

In addition, the shoelace ends are never “dropped” between those two stages. By holding onto both ends the whole time, tension can be maintained throughout – which really helps when tying a shoe tightly.

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This page last updated: 04-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

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