Mega Ian Shoelace Knot

Ian Knot (icon)

This is a more secure variation of my Ian Knot. Make a double-loop with both ends and simultaneously pull them through each other. The result is super-secure, though nowhere near as fast as the regular Ian Knot.

Step 1:

Begin with regular “Starting Knot”

Begin with a regular Left-over-Right Starting Knot.

Step 2:

Fold both lace ends into “loops”

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

TIP: Start higher than usual to create longer loops than those for the regular Ian Knot.

Step 3:

Re-loop ends into double-loops

Now, make each side into a double-loop. Swing the left thumb and forefinger around the back of the left (yellow) secured end. Swing the right thumb around the front of the right (blue) secured end.

Step 4:

Cross loops, left (yellow) in front

Cross the two double-loops over each other, resulting in four overlapping loops. The left (yellow) double-loop swings around the front while the right (blue) double-loop swings around the back.

Step 5:

Start to feed loose ends into loops

Each hand uses the fingers inside its own double-loop to grab the loose end of the other hand's double-loop. Take care to only grab the loose ends, not any of the other three sides of the double-loops.

Step 6:

Feed loose ends right through loops

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

Step 7:

Pull tight to complete the knot

When pulled tight, the result is a perfectly symmetrical knot (like the regular Ian Knot) with a complex triple-wrap of shoelace around the middle, making it super-secure.

NOTE: It's worth mastering the regular Ian Knot before attempting this variation!


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Technical Details

How much more secure?

To quantify the security, let's consider the amount of tension required to pull the loose ends so that the knot comes undone. To keep the comparison simple, lets consider that the Standard Shoelace Knot requires 1 unit of tension to untie:

In other words, the Mega Ian Knot is around 3 times as secure as typical “regular” shoelace knots and around 1-1/2 times as secure as typical “secure” shoelace knots.

Security versus difficulty

This knot came about by way of extensive experimentation with my regular Ian Knot (as did the Double Ian Knot, Crossed Ian Knot and several other unsuccessful variations). It is indeed the most secure knot that I've developed.

However, unlike the elegant simplicity of the Ian Knot (which can be tied almost instantly), this knot only gains its extra security at the expense of being a fair bit more difficult to tie.

If you just want a simple, secure shoelace knot, there are other easier alternatives. The Surgeon's Shoelace Knot or the Turquoise Turtle Shoelace Knot are each probably more like the knot you're already using, which would make them easier to learn, yet they both provide more than enough security (ie. they stay tied all day).

If instead you're after the ultimate shoelace knot, and are willing to take the time to practice, the Mega Ian Knot is for you. In fact, one visitor's 7 and 9 year old kids have taught this knot to their friends, so it can't be overly difficult!


Photo 21

Here's what happens if, at Step 4, you pull through the adjacent loop along with the loose end. The result is a completely different knot, which we could call a Quad Loop Ian Shoelace Knot.

This variation is very similar (but not identical) to the second stage of the “Sheepshank with an Overhand Knot”, which is shown as #2568 in “The Ashley Book of Knots”


As pointed out by visitor John D., this variation is useful for “shortening” the ends of excessively long shoelaces. It's superior to other alternatives like the Double Shoelace Knot or the Double Ian Knot both because it consumes a lot more length plus it can be untied much more easily.


The downside of this variation is that it's not as secure as the Mega Ian Shoelace Knot, and will untie about as easily as the regular Ian Knot.

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This page last updated: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2005-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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