Shoelace Knot Variations

Knot Variations

All of the knots on my site were illustrated only one way – the same way that I tie them. While you are welcome to use your own variations, this page shows how to ensure that the finished knot still ends up secure.

Typical Knot Variations

Here's some of the ways that you could tie your shoelace knot differently to my instructions:

Reverse Instructions LEFT to RIGHT

Left Right Arrows

Knots that are not symmetrical, such as the Standard Shoelace Knot, can be reversed left to right. For example, instead of making the right lace into a loop, make the left lace into a loop. This may result in more natural movements for left handed people.

Reverse Instructions FRONT to BACK

Front Back Arrows

Most knots can be reversed this way. Any instructions such as “Wrap the left end around the back of the right loop” can be changed to “Wrap the left end around the front of the right loop”. Same goes for passing through a hole from the front/behind.

Reverse Instructions TOP to BOTTOM

Up Down Arrows

Like Front to Back variations, most knots can also be reversed Top to Bottom. Any instructions such as “Pass the left end over the right end” can be changed to “Pass the left end under the right end”.



You may find it easier, more comfortable, or even necessary, to use different fingers than those that I describe. So long as you retain the “core” of the technique to achieve the same result, you are welcome to use whatever finger movements are best for you.

Keeping it Secure

If you have used any of the first three variations above, you will have “reversed” something and may have made the completed knot less secure. As I discuss in more detail on my Granny Knot page, a secure knot depends on a balance between the Starting Knot and the Finishing Bow.

In short, if you reverse one thing, your knot ends up un-balanced and will come undone more easily. To avoid this, you need to reverse one other thing in order to put things back into balance.

Double-Reversing Example

Let's look at an example of reversing something twice:

Normal Technique

Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The RIGHT lace is made into a loop.

(2) Then the left lace is wrapped around the BACK of the loop and ends up in front before feeding through.

Now, let's reverse two things to get things back into balance:

Technique Reversed TWICE

Doubly Reversed Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The LEFT lace is made into a loop.

(2) Then the right lace is wrapped around the FRONT of the loop and ends up behind before feeding through.

Finished Knot

Finished Shoelace Knot

Both of the above techniques result in the identical finished knot, which is properly balanced and which will stay securely tied.

Left-Handed Recommendation

In the above example, the “reversals” have only been applied to the Finishing Bow stage of the knot. For left-handed people, it is usually easiest to reverse ALL of my instructions left to right (ie. reverse both the Starting Knot and Finishing Bow).


• If you follow all of the instructions on this website exactly, your finished knots will be secure.

• If you follow all of my instructions in reverse, your finished knots will also be secure.

• If you do need to reverse any one thing, then you will also have to reverse one other thing in order to re-balance the finished knot and thus keep it secure.

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This page last updated: 11-Nov-2023. Copyright © 2003-2023 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

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