Reef Knot Feedback

Reef Knot diagram

The Reef Knot is basically a Standard Shoelace Knot minus the loops. This is useful when the ends are not long enough to tie a regular bow, such as when a shoelace has broken. Also known as a “Square Knot”.

What Others Have Said

The following are excerpts from some of the many e-mails that I've received about the Reef Knot.

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Visitor Feedback

Speaking of (self-taught fast “Reef Knot”), I made that discovery trying to tie an Ian knot with these boots. The ends were too short to complete the knot; the aglets (learned that word from your site as well!) got stuck in the middle, so I pulled the lace all the way through by mistake. The result? A super-fast reef knot!!! I normally tie reef knots by making the loop with one end first and then weaving the other end through and around it, so this was a surprise to me.

– Marcus, Louisiana, USA, Apr-2016

I'm using the Ian Knot now and also like the reef knot when I just don't want loops.

– Josh C., Pennsylvania, USA, Feb-2014

When in the US Army in 1967, I was in a 6 month training program. All of us had to use the square knot to tie our boots, and we tucked the ends inside the boot. I continued to use that knot for the rest of my time in the army. We thought it looked better than any bow, with the loops and loose ends flapping all around. Also, it has the advantage of not getting snagged on branches or rocks if low crawling. We did use the bow for dress shoes, partly perhaps because dress shoes have no room to tuck the laces in without being uncomfortable.

At that time, I did not know about your simplified method of untying the square knot, which is better than picking it apart. Fortunately, our boot laces were big enough in diameter to facilitate the picking.

– Chuck S., Maryland, USA, Feb-2012

Being a keen sailor, I recently fell back on lacing my shoes with a normal reef knot which is (comparatively) difficult to untie.

– Max S., Mar-2008

The Reef Knot is the best one for short laces and facilitates the understanding of most shoelace knots. Your information about untying of the Reef Knot is even beyond the knowledge of most yachtsmen. It is one reason for classifying the Reef Knot as unsecure. Your untying method works best for round and slippery laces. When there is much friction it might be better to pull the upper parts of both knot bights apart.

– Andreas F., Germany, Jun-2006

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This page last updated: 04-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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