Starting Knot Feedback
Most of the shoelace knots shown on this website use the same “Left-over-Right Starting Knot”. Here's how to tie this basic knot, known as a “Half Knot”.
What Others Have Said
The following are excerpts from some of the many e-mails that I've received about the Starting Knot.
If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.
I was utterly confused by your use of the left over right (LOR) Starting Knot as the standard way to start tying your shoelaces.
You state about your Standard Shoelace Knot that “This knot appears in The Ashley Book of Knots as #1212 and #1214, The Bowknot ...” But that knot is shown to be started in the standard American ROL manner (however it ends in a proper square knot).
– Larry A., Arizona, USA, Jul-2020
Ian's Reply: There's no hard-and-fast rule about this. For whatever reason, I learned to tie left-over-right. Perhaps it's based on English, which we read left-to-right?
As for why I use the LOR Starting Knot on my website, it just seemed natural to illustrate the knots exactly as I tie them. As I explain on my Shoelace Knot Variations page, you're welcome to tie with reversed steps provided that you take care to re-balance the finished knot by doing an even number of reversals.
– Ian Fieggen, Jul-2020
I usually do an initial tug, tie the Starting Knot while keeping it tight and not letting go, and tying the Finishing Bow not letting go.
– Andrei R., USA, Apr-2014
It's interesting to note I make my starting knots by wrapping the right end around the left: behind, in front, through the hole; rather than wrap the left end around the right: front-back-through. Must be a Northern Hemispherical thing. The result is still the same knot.
– J.C., Lisbon, Portugal, Jun-2011
I was wondering though why you only illustrate a single “starting knot”. One of the biggest problems many small children have is, that while learning to tie their shoes, the starting knot will unravel and the shoe will loosen as they try and tie the binding knot. This can lead to either the shoe coming off or the knot falling apart.
However by making an extra turn on the starting knot this holds the knot in place while less-than-nimble fingers can take their time structuring the binding knot. This is especially useful if the knot is slightly more complex or where you are learning a new knot, as it ensures that the final binding knot isn't weakened through loosening of the starting knot while you try and figure out what goes where.
– Murdo M., Newcastle, Australia, Apr-2004
Ian's Reply: Murdo's e-mail (above) prompted me to eventually add a separate page showing the Double Starting Knot.
– Ian Fieggen, Jul-2022