Mega Ian Shoelace Knot

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram

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!

Finished Knot

Finished Mega Ian Shoelace Knot

The finished Mega Ian Shoelace Knot has a triple-wrap of shoelace around the middle, as opposed to the double-wrap of most “secure” shoelace knots or the single-wrap of most “standard” shoelace knots.

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!


Finished Quad Loop Ian Shoelace Knot

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.

Visitor Feedback

Also found out it's easier to do the Mega Knot by changing the loops placement - make the second loop cross the first one, so the second one ends up being the outside loop - that way it's easier to grab the loose end loops as they end up being the inside loops.

– Sal, Mar-2019

I tried what you said and bloody hell is that mega knot tight.... It doesn't take much longer to tie but its strength is unreal... My laces are para cord in my boots.

– Dave, Feb-2017

I'm a programmer, and I really love how the Mega Ian Knot is like a generalization of the Ian Knot, but with more loops. I'm sure you know this, but you can tie the Mega Ian Knot with any number of extra loops. I've only done 3 loops (1 more than the normal Mega Ian Knot) but I don't see why you couldn't do more. Of course, difficulty and practical value goes down sharply as the number of loops increases :-)

– Casey R., May-2009

I grab the laces higher up, one behind finger and one behind thumb as if to tie a regular Ian Knot. Then I spin my pinched fingertips once each in opposite directions, coiling up the fingers past where I'm gripping the first half-loops. Now I'm down where I need to be, with the loops I need having been very quickly and conveniently obtained. I pass them through--easier now that the coils are spindled out of the way up by my next knuckles. Then--this is key--I use my last two fingers, pinky and ring in American parlance, previously uninvolved, to grab the loose ends of each lace, which are found lying conveniently under where those fingers are tucked naturally into the palm. Once I have a hold on them, pulling the loops I just passed across tightens only the parts that need be tightened, without my losing the whole end. It's foolproof. The knot takes me maybe a third of the time it took before I started spindling the loops and grabbing the ends.

– James D., Jul-2005

--STEP 4 should mention that the loose-end loops will pass each other on the right, as traffic does in most countries (not sure about Australia), as shown in the diagram. While tying it “on the street” without the diagram, I started passing them the other way, with the right-hand loop coming on my side of the other (toward my torso, passing on the left) and it makes a 2-looped finished knot instead of three.

Ian's Comment: Indeed, this variation results in the same finished knot as the Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot.

– James D., Jun-2005

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This page last updated: 05-Apr-2020. Copyright © 2005-2020 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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