Mega Ian Shoelace Knot

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.

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

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 1

Step 1:

Tie a Left-over-Right Starting Knot as shown, then make two "bunny ears" as per Step (1) of the regular Ian Knot. Start a little higher than for the regular Ian Knot, making the bunny ears longer than usual.

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 2

Step 2:

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

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 3

Step 3:

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.

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 4

Step 4:

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.

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 5

Step 5:

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

Mega Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 6

Step 6:

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

Finished Knot

Finished Mega Ian Shoelace Knot picture

The finished 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 picture

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 because 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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