Shoelace Knot Variations

Variations (icon)

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

Arrows (icon)

Knots that are not symmetrical, such as the Standard Shoelace Knot, can be reversed left to right. For example: “Make the right end into a loop” – can be changed to – “Make the left end into a loop. This may result in more natural movements for left handed people.

Reverse Instructions FRONT to BACK

Arrows (icon)

Most knots have one or more instructions that can be reversed this way. For example: “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

Arrows (icon)

Most knots also have one or more instructions that can be reversed this way. For example: “Pass the left end over the right end” – can be changed to – “Pass the left end under the right end”.

Use DIFFERENT FINGERS

Hand (icon)

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.

Let's look at an example of this applied to the Standard Shoelace Knot:

Normal Technique

Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The RIGHT (blue) end is made into a loop.

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

Mirrored Technique?

Suppose we want to mirror the above technique so that the first loop is made with the left end instead of the right end? In order to maintain balance we need to reverse something else as well.

Doubly-Reversed Technique

Doubly-Reversed Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The LEFT (yellow) end is made into a loop.

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

Finished Knot

Finished Shoelace Knot

Either the “Normal” technique or the “Doubly-Reversed” technique will 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's usually easiest to reverse ALL of my instructions left to right (ie. reverse both the “Starting Knot” and “Finishing Bow”).

Summary

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

• If you reverse all of the instructions on this website, 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: 09-Apr-2024. Copyright © 2003-2024 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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

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