Shoelace Knot Comparison
With so many knots to choose from, how do you decide which to use? This page compares both their functional and visual considerations feature by feature to help you choose.
Most Common Shoelace Knot
- The most common shoelace knot that I've come across seems to be the Standard Knot, followed closely by the Two Loop Knot.
- Next most common is the Double Knot, which is used extensively by people desperate to stop their shoelaces from coming undone (usually because they're inadvertently tying a Granny Knot).
- Third most common would be various of the secure knots, best known of which are probably the Surgeon's Knot and the FreedomKnot, followed closely by the Better Bow Knot, Turquoise Turtle Knot, Berluti Knot and my own Ian's Secure Knot.
- It's then difficult to judge the remaining knots, as they are all used much less commonly.
Easiest to Tie Shoelace Knot
- First place definitely goes to the Ian Knot, the World's Fastest Shoelace Knot, because there are fewer sequential steps and it all happens in a single, fluid movement. The Crossed Ian Knot is probably almost as easy, but it has its downside of being unstable.
- For those unable to use both hands, first place goes to the One Handed Knot as the easiest shoelace knot to tie with one hand.
- Second easiest goes to the Reef Knot, which uses no complicated loops, although this means that the finished result doesn't look like a regular shoelace “bow”.
- Third place would be the delightfully simple FreedomKnot.
- Equal fourth position goes to both the Standard Knot and the Two Loop Knot, which both form identical knots using slightly different movements.
- Fifth place goes to the Double Ian Knot, although it can be fickle when it comes to untying.
- Sixth place goes to the five quite similar secure knots: Ian's Secure Knot, Surgeon's Knot, Turquoise Turtle Knot and Better Bow Knot and Berluti Knot.
- Although similar in technique to the above, the Equality Knot is a little trickier to tie because it is done “sideways”.
- Next most difficult are the Two Stage Knot, Loop the Loop Knot and the Double Knot, all of which require two distinct stages to be done in turn.
- Getting to the point of being considered “tricky” is the Mega Ian Knot, which requires a lot of dexterity.
- Hardest of all would be the Halloween Knot and Boat Shoe Knot, which each require some serious effort but produce an attractive result.
Most Secure Shoelace Knot (hardest to untie)
- First place for Secure Shoelace Knot goes to the Double Knot, although it gets this top position at the expense of being very awkward to untie.
- Second most secure goes to the Double Ian Knot, although this can be fickle when it comes to untying.
- Third place goes to the Mega Ian Knot, although this is still a little impractical to tie, even for Ian!
- Equal fourth place would probably be the Loop the Loop Knot and the Halloween Knot, both of which have the same drawback of looking lopsided.
- In terms of practical, secure knots, there would be very little difference between the Ian's Secure Knot, Surgeon's Knot, Turquoise Turtle Knot, Better Bow Knot and the Equality Knot, all of which are simply variations of looping around or through more than once.
- The Berluti Knot would be marginally less secure than the above secure knots because one end is not fully contained within the core of the knot.
- Next would come the Two Stage Knot and FreedomKnot, both of which are marginally more secure than the standard knots.
- Finally come the Ian Knot, Standard Knot and the Two Loop Knot, all of which form the identical finished knot and are quite secure for most practical purposes. The Reef Knot forms the identical knot minus the loops and drawstrings, and should thus have virtually the same security.
- Interestingly, the One Handed Knot has much the same security as any of the above standard shoelace knots.
- Although the Crossed Ian Knot seems secure, any small disturbance of the knot will see it virtually fall apart, so it ranks last for security.
- Least secure is the Boat Shoe Knot, which is purely decorative and does not secure the ends.
Most Symmetrical Shoelace Knot
- The shoelace knots that are totally symmetrical are the Ian Knot, Ian's Secure Knot, Standard Knot, Two Loop Knot, FreedomKnot, Double Knot, Double Ian Knot, Crossed Ian Knot, Mega Ian Knot, Boat Shoe Knot and the Reef Knot.
- The Equality Knot is in itself symmetrical, but as it is tied at the side of the shoe, it appears lopsided.
- Although in theory the Surgeon's Knot and the Turquoise Turtle Knot should finish up as symmetrical knots, they each use an asymmetrical method of tying and can often come out somewhat uneven.
- The Berluti Knot looks symmetrical, although one end is not fully contained within the core of the knot.
- The Better Bow Knot is slightly asymmetrical within the knot itself, but outwardly has two symmetrical bows and two loose ends.
- The Two Stage Knot is somewhat lopsided, although it does have two bows and two loose ends.
- Finally, the Loop the Loop Knot, Halloween Knot and One Handed Knot are all asymmetrical, each having only one loop.
Identical Finished Knot
Same Result = Same Diagram
Some of these different shoelace tying methods actually form the identical finished knot. In fact, three of the “Regular” shoelace knots use the identical finished diagram, as do three of the “Secure” shoelace knots.
Regular Shoelace Knots
This dispels the myth that the Two Loop Knot (or “Bunny Ears”) is an inferior knot, although it may have this reputation because many people inadvertently tie it as a Granny Knot.
Secure Shoelace Knots
The Surgeon's Knot, the Turquoise Turtle Knot, the Equality Knot, plus my own Ian's Secure Knot, all theoretically form the identical finished secure knot, which is known in knotting terminology as a “Double Slipped Reef Knot”.
However, because neither the “Surgeon's Knot” nor the “Turquoise Turtle knot” is created symmetrically, they can end up looking quite different to the symmetrical “Ian's Secure Knot”, especially if there's not enough slack for the laces to shift around during the final tightening.
Choose With Confidence
The fact that different techniques can form the identical finished knots means that you are welcome to choose whichever technique suits you the best and remain confident that the outcome will be equally reliable.