One Handed Shoelace Knot

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Here's a simple knot for tying shoes with one hand. Lace the shoe with the bottom end permanently tied off, then secure the top end with a simple loop knot.

NOTE: The following lacing diagrams are upside-down compared to the other Lacing Methods on this website, as they are drawn from the perspective of tying the shoe.


Step 1:

One end anchored near toe

Begin by anchoring one end near the toe (top left in the above diagram), then run straight across and into the opposite eyelet.

Step 2:

Other end snakes through all eyelets

Snake the loose end through all of the eyelets, running straight across on the outside and straight up on the inside, until the end is fed into the last eyelet (bottom left in the above diagram).

Step 3:

Second pass through right eyelet

The loose end (yellow) is now fed straight across and back out through the opposite eyelet (bottom right in the above diagram). This second pass of shoelace through the eyelet keeps this knot nice and tight.

TIP: When loosening the lacing to remove the shoe, don't pull this lace all the way out, as it's difficult to feed through each time.

Step 4:

Form a loop across straight section

Create a loop with the loose end (yellow) sitting across the final straight section of shoelace (blue). This is easy to do by holding the loose end between the right thumb and forefinger, then forming the loop around the right thumb.

Step 5:

Feed under straight section and out

Feed a new loop of shoelace underneath the straight section (blue) and out through the previous loop. The lace is fed underneath with the right forefinger, meeting up with the thumb – which should still be inside the previous loop.

Step 6:

Pull emerging loop to the right

Grab the emerging loop and pull downwards and to the right. Take care not to pull the loose end all the way out!

Step 7:

Pull tight to complete the knot

Continue pulling the loop until it sits snug and close to the eyelet.

Enlargement

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Technical Details

Even / Odd Number of Eyelet Pairs

For shoes with an even number of eyelet pairs (such as the four pairs in the above diagrams), the knot that anchors the start of the lacing should be diagonally opposite the finishing knot.

For shoes with an odd number of eyelet pairs, the anchoring knot should be on the same side as the finishing knot (as seen in the second photo above).

Variations

• The instructions on this page favor the right hand because the knot ends up on the right side. For left-hand use, simply reverse the instructions (mirror image) to end up with the knot on the left side.

• The recommended way to anchor the start of the lacing is to feed the shoelace through the eyelet and then tie the lace back onto itself. In other words, knot the shoelace onto the eyelet (as seen in the second photo above).

• Alternatively, the start of the lacing can be anchored more invisibly (though less comfortably) by feeding the shoelace in through the eyelet and either tying off with a simple stopper knot or using “Lace Anchors”.

• While the recommended lacing method is Straight Easy Lacing, other lacing methods can be used instead, particularly Shoe Shop Lacing. The reversed One Handed Lacing can also be used, with the otherwise loose end passed all the way back up the shoe to emerge from the last eyelet.

Two Handed Uses

The One Handed Shoelace Knot isn't just for those who literally have “one hand”. It's equally useful for those who have two hands but who, for one reason or another, can only use one hand at a time. Some examples include:

  • Tying shoelaces while one hand or arm is injured;
  • Tying a wrist brace onto one arm using the other hand;
  • Inability to reach shoelaces with both hands while pregnant.

Not a Party Trick

This knot is mainly intended as a functional workaround for a real-world problem – not as a “party trick” for able-bodied people! As anyone who tries it will soon discover, it's still a fairly tricky knot to tie.

For anyone considering giving this knot a rating (see below), please consider how it rates as a serious one-handed shoelace knot, not how it rates as a “party trick”.

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This page last updated: 24-Jan-2024. Copyright © 2006-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

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