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Yes, this is where I admit to the world I've been tying my shoelaces wrong.
December 5, 2011 12:37 AM   Subscribe

Shoelaces come undone? You may be tying them incorrectly. Easy check: do they sit straight across your shoe, or tilt up at an angle? If the latter, you're securing them with a granny knot, which falls apart readily, but this can be fixed by a small change in the way you tie the laces. Ian Fieggen explains and demonstrates. (He also writes it out).

Ian's Shoelace Site also showcases step-by-step instructions for lacing and knotting shoelaces in distinctive fashions. (It has appeared here a few times previously.)
posted by Upton O'Good (53 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
As seen on the prime time police show Cagney & Lacey, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:59 AM on December 5, 2011


Heh. That oldest post was the first thread I ever posted into on MeFi. I was astounded by the revelation.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:59 AM on December 5, 2011


You know, the sad thing is that people keep posting links to the shoelace site and I'm going to guess, correct me if I'm wrong, that most of us still tie our shoes the way we learned when we were six years old. So this whole Metafilter experience probably has very little learning benefit, at least when it comes to shoes.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:00 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been using the Ian Knot since one of the 2004 threads, when I realized that my parents had taught me the granny knot.
posted by nmiell at 1:02 AM on December 5, 2011


Damn it!...I've been tying grannies for 54 years!
...Mom!!!
posted by quazichimp at 1:09 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


[A couple of comments removed; Ian's site has been posted before, but the video is a newer addition, I think.]
posted by taz at 1:09 AM on December 5, 2011


Dang! I've been tying my shoes like a champ, but dresses and chemises - now I know why my bows are always wonky (probably because I have to complete the knot behind my back)!
posted by Mooseli at 1:12 AM on December 5, 2011


[A couple of comments removed; Ian's site has been posted before, but the video is a newer addition, I think.]
Aww, those weren't a condemnation of this duplicate post, they were a celebration of how excellent Ian's shoelace site truly is.
posted by nmiell at 1:20 AM on December 5, 2011


I found out a few years ago that I was tying my shows with a granny knot. Ever since then I haven't had a problem with shoelaces coming undone (unless I step on them -- why do Chuck Taylors have such long shoelaces?!).

My shoe-tying technique has evolved over the years, but apparently it was weird enough in high school that people actually wanted to watch me tie my shoes.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:38 AM on December 5, 2011


How agreeable it is to read a lucid exposition which shows that you haven't got a problem you never previously imagined.
posted by Segundus at 1:56 AM on December 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yup, I was doing it wrong. It will definitely be hard to re-learn over years of muscle memory.

"Hold on one second everybody, my shoe untied."

*60 seconds elapse as I try to mentally flip Professor Shoelace in my head*

"I'll be done soon, I promise."
posted by Defenestrator at 1:57 AM on December 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Finally, something I do right. Whew.
posted by double bubble at 2:18 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


When i read about this a few years ago, quite possibly here, i set out to relearn how to tie my shoelaces. The result has been a minor but measurable improvement in my quality of life.

Double posts be damned- this should be posted annually.
posted by alexei at 2:38 AM on December 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


♬ VELCRO ♫
posted by mattoxic at 2:39 AM on December 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sadly, I am and always be (until I trip over my laces and die) a granny knot person.
posted by greenhornet at 2:40 AM on December 5, 2011


I switched to the Ian Knot when it was posted here a while back. The other day I deliberately tried to tie a granny knot - I couldn't remember how. It was embarrassing.
posted by xqwzts at 2:53 AM on December 5, 2011


Right over left and left over right makes a bow both tidy and tight.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:46 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or, y'know, slip-ons. Slip 'em off under the desk and pad about the office barefoot. You mean you don't?
posted by scruss at 4:09 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will decide whether or not to favourite this tonight.
posted by carter at 4:32 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


How to relearn how to tie your shoes:

1. Tie one shoe correctly, by following a rigid formula: right-over-left, hold the loop in your left hand, pull the loop over and through with your right... or whatever works for you. There are multiple correct paths to a square knot with loops.

2. Tie the other shoe EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. Do not mirror.

3. Every single time you realize you've done a shoe wrong, start over from scratch. Do not merely correct the last pass. Learn the entire process as a ritual.

4. In two weeks time, you will have retrained your hands.

I tie a slight variation - two passes around the last loop - but at this point, I have to forcefully break my habit to tie another knot.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:18 AM on December 5, 2011


In much the same way that Vulcanized rubber was discovered, I have discovered that your laces will stay tied, and can even be positioned into shapes that will hold, with the simple addition of concentrated cherry juice to the lace prior to tying. The effect is semi-permanent, depending on how many deep puddles you step into.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:24 AM on December 5, 2011


Boy Scouts taught me to use a reef knot. Havn't thought about it in decades...
posted by wrm at 5:46 AM on December 5, 2011


This is one of the best things I have learned from AskMe; in my case I had been tying granny knots for 40 years
posted by TedW at 6:03 AM on December 5, 2011


I have been doing the Two Loop Shoelace Knot all my life. There was something about the standard knot that made it too complex for my uncoordinated self so I just gave up until a generous soul taught me that knot.

The only problem is that I get weird looks sometimes when I tie my shoes.
posted by Memo at 6:06 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I forgot to say that I mention this because I had no idea the knot had a name. I feel weirdly legitimized after seeing it on a website.
posted by Memo at 6:09 AM on December 5, 2011


This changed my shoelacing habit. Relearning the second knot was a bit too unintuitive, so I just inverted the overhand knot at the base. Same result.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:12 AM on December 5, 2011


I'm going to guess, correct me if I'm wrong, that most of us still tie our shoes the way we learned when we were six years old

The "writes it out" link (I think, or one like it) came up in an askme a while back. Revelation! I re-learned how to tie my shoes. And then I recently noticed that I'd gone back to tying my shoes with a granny knot - muscle memory is strong in me, I guess. Now I make myself actually pay attention when I tie my shoes so that I tie them correctly.
posted by rtha at 6:24 AM on December 5, 2011


I use the Gordian Knot. It works great, but I go through a lot of shoelaces.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on December 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks probably in no small part to having spent years in Scouts I automatically tie a square knot. About 10 years or so ago I learned the simple "twice around the tree" method and have had no untied shoelaces ever since - barring the few times when a loop has caught on something, or I've stepped on the end of a lace.

It's completely burned into my muscle memory now. I had to force myself to go slow to watch and be sure I knew how I even did it these days.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:18 AM on December 5, 2011


I also suffered from loose shoelaces. To the entent that I would buy long shoelaces, double-knot them, and awkwardly turn my shoes into slipons.

I figured this one out on my own, I just said to myself "well, this hasn't been working. What If I try going around the other direction?" It took about a month of conscious thought, and now it's burned in.
posted by gjc at 7:30 AM on December 5, 2011


...why do Chuck Taylors have such long shoelaces?!

Recently bought a pair of low-cuts, and was astounded to find that this was no longer the case. If anything, they weren't just shorter, but too short, especially for double-knotting. Is this a new trend, or just a one-off freak accident?

I'd always thought of Chucks as a universal constant. How can the laces be too short? We need to get the boys at CERN to check this out.

posted by Capt. Renault at 7:49 AM on December 5, 2011


Recently bought a pair of low-cuts, and was astounded to find that this was no longer the case. If anything, they weren't just shorter, but too short, especially for double-knotting. Is this a new trend, or just a one-off freak accident?


One-off freak accident. I buy Chucks for my 14-year-old about every 10 minutes (stupid growing kid) and the laces are always ridiculously long.

posted by cooker girl at 8:02 AM on December 5, 2011


I learned about this a year ago. I'm not sure what I like better: the vast improvement in my shoelace tying, or telling other people how they too can achieve a vast improvement in their shoelace tying.
posted by diogenes at 8:04 AM on December 5, 2011


Oh, it appears that Ian is ill:

I've had to put both my life and my web site on hold for a while due to ill health. I will shortly be travelling from Australia to U.S.A. for medical tests and possible surgery.

Between Oct and Nov-2011, I will not be updating the site nor responding to e-mails or contributions. I hope that you will continue to enjoy my site as it stands and forgive me for the lack of updates.

A warm "Thank you" to everyone for their well wishes and support. To help Ian financially, please click here.

Ian Fieggen, 08-Oct-2011.


from the personal section of the website.
posted by cooker girl at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like the toilet-paper-roll-over-or-under issue, I never thought there much to discuss about tying a shoelace, but while watching the video I couldn't even remember how I tie my laces. But since I have to retie my laces throughout the day I'm obviously doing something wrong.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2011


I do it correctly, but I have another trick I don't see anyone else doing. For my boots and sneakers I also put figure-8 stopper knots in the very ends of the laces. That way, I can pull the loops larger all the way out without even looking. The large loops and no tails seems to help - shoes stay tied until I untie them.

To take them off, after untying, I just stick a finger under the middle of the top crossover and pull until the laces stop at the holes. Repeat with the second and maybe third crossover. My foot slips right out, even with high-top Chuck Taylors, and I never lose the end of the laces. It's very fast.

For topsiders with leather laces, the only thing that works is the double-wrap bow. Even then, I do a lot of retying. I don't wear those much any more.
posted by ctmf at 9:17 AM on December 5, 2011


Graduate level shoelace tying. I thought I must've learned to do it this way from Ian's site, but I'm not seeing it.
posted by cmoj at 9:24 AM on December 5, 2011


Looks like Professor Shoelace did it with the rope in the conservatory.
posted by markkraft at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2011


I was like "Oh yeah, Professor Shoelace? Can you get my hockey skates any tighter? Thought not."
And then I was wrong.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2011


CSB:

I was 33 years old, when I was taking sailing lessons and figured out I had been tying my shoes incorrectly my entire life.
posted by Intrepid at 11:59 AM on December 5, 2011


I learned a different knot pattern, years ago, from Ian's site. (Or maybe his free laces iPhone app - I forget). I'd be hard pressed to describe it, but it's usually easier and tighter.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:32 PM on December 5, 2011


Learned to do this from prior MetaFilter thread on "you were doing it wrong," resulting in much happier running experiences in my securedly tied shoes, and on recent trip to China, got 99% of our 12 person tour to switch to the Ian/MeFi method. As a result of which, all of us spent a lot more time looking at sights and less re-tying our laces.

Just another reason I love this place.
posted by bearwife at 1:08 PM on December 5, 2011


0.12 people refused to switch?
posted by ctmf at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like the other posters, a previous metafilter thread on this changed my shoe-tying life. I adopted Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot (aka "double slip knot"). Awesome for sports and running, and for men's dress shoes. If you are reading this far down the thread and haven't tried one of these knots yet, what are you waiting for?
posted by kovacs at 2:32 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, I've been tying my shoelaces correctly my whole life. Yet they still come untied on occasion (depends more on the type of lace, I've found). But what fixed THAT was making two passes around before tying the second loop. A trick I'm almost positive I learned here on Metafilter.
posted by mrnutty at 2:41 PM on December 5, 2011


While we're on the subject, I'd just like to point out the importance of maintaining your aglets in order to make shoelace tying as easy as possible.

or maybe I just wanted to drop the word 'aglet' into the conversation.
posted by ambrosen at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2011


Any good crossword puzzler knows "aglet."
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any good crossword puzzler knows "aglet."

Or any (original) Book of Lists reader.
posted by Glinn at 8:42 PM on December 5, 2011


Yay for slip-ons!
posted by deborah at 8:50 PM on December 5, 2011


I have two daughters. It works for hair bows, sashes and the occasional garrotte. Thank you!!!
posted by taff at 9:33 PM on December 5, 2011


As a potential future grandmother, I would just like to say how deeply offended I am by such a pejorative use of granny.
posted by looli at 10:11 PM on December 5, 2011


But everyone loves grannies! Unless you're my grandchild-to-be. Those little buggers had better live in fear, abject fear.
posted by taff at 10:56 PM on December 5, 2011


Just the other day I was thinking that, since my daughter is tying using the double bunny ears knot, I'll have to teach her the correct way.

Then I read the FPP, and dug through it a little bit, and then tied up my Vans, and sure enough: I've been doing it wrong.

Which means now I have to acknowledge that my six-year-old daughter knows more about how to tie a proper shoelace knot than I do.

Luckily, I can still feel smugly superior to my six-year-old son, who is still rocking the velcro.
posted by davejay at 11:35 PM on December 5, 2011


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