Shoelace Tying

Never too old to learn.  After tying my own shoes for over 70 years, I found a better way and am now doing it differently.  It is all part of learning “the art of living well.”

KnotsI first came across a website that answered the question “Why are my shoelaces coming untied?”  The site pointed out the first hitch you tie before you even start the bow is part of the knot and not just to align the lace ends.  Together, they should form a square knot, just with the ends in a bow so they can be easily undone.  Do the initial hitch wrong, like right over left (in my case) rather than left over right, and you end up with a granny knot that does not stay tied.  You can see which you have by expanding the loops of the final bow until the free ends pull through.  You will then see either knot as illustrated.

Whoops! I was wrong all these years.  The simple change in tying the hitch felt surprisingly awkward and took me about a week to get used to it, but look at me now, and both my shoes will be tied, guaranteed, without needing to double-knot (tying the bows together with another hitch).  That alone makes me feel twenty years younger. (Changing the hitch is much easier than changing the bow.)

On to the bow itself:  I also saw an online reference to the “Ian Knot” that ties the bow so fast it looks like magic.  I have always used the standard “around the loop and through” method that is very complex when you think about it.  The Ian method is much simpler and forms the same knot, so it really is an “Ian method,” not an “Ian knot.”  You will have to watch the video at  The site sells shoelaces and, while there, you can browse through the hundreds of varieties and colors of shoelaces that exist.

The video also shows the “bunny ears” method of tying a bow often taught to children.  In that method, you make two loops, one with each end, and tie them together in a hitch.  Surprisingly, all three methods produce the same final knot.

Shortly after absorbing all of this amazing knowledge, I noticed golfer Phil Mickelson tying his shoe on a TV ad to demonstrate the effectiveness of an arthritis medication.  I immediately recognized the Ian method.

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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