Why shoelaces come undone – Professor Shoelace


G’day everyone, “Professor Shoelace” here. And this video I’m gonna tackle the tricky problem of shoelaces that come undone. You know what it’s like, you’re walking along, suddenly you feel that funny loose feeling on your feet and sure enough your shoelaces have come untied again. Now people that suffer this problem are often very surprised to discover that a correctly tied shoelace should stay tied all day long. So, what’s the problem? I’m gonna show you what causes it, and how to fix it, importantly. So, first of all let’s look at a normal shoe, and, well, actually this is a pretty trendy shoe, but … A typical shoe … Most people tie a shoelace in two stages: There’s a “Starting Knot”, in this case, I’m doing a “left-over-right” Starting Knot, and then a “Finishing Knot”. A lot of people do it this way: They create one loop, wrap the other end around it, and pull it tight. Now if that’s tied correctly, you’ll have a “Standard Shoelace Bow”. And it sits nice and neat across the shoe. If you’re tying it wrongly, for example, you could do it this way: Instead of running around the back of the loop, if you instead run around the FRONT of the loop. Notice how that’s sort of sitting ALONG the shoe instead of ACROSS the shoe? That’s what’s called a “Granny Knot”, and this un-balanced knot will actually come untied a lot more easily. Another possible way you could do it is if you’re a left-handed person and you tie … like so. Again, it’s sitting diagonally, and that’s also a “Granny Knot”. And the most common way of doing it is people that do the “Two Loop Knot”. If they tie those two loops the same way they tie their “Starting Knot”, that will also create a “Granny Knot”. So, now, how do you fix it? There’s one of three ways of fixing it but the simplest way is just to reverse your “Starting Knot”. So, if you normally tie “left-over-right”, try tying it “right-over-left”. Then, if you continue your knot the way you’ve always done it, it will still sit straight across the sk…shoe and be nice and secure. So, now why does this actually happen? I’ll show you this in a little bit more detail, and to do that, I’m using a rope. It’s a bit like sort of “zooming in” on a … on a shoelace. Now, here I’m doing a “left-over-right” Starting Knot, and you’ll notice that even that knot … sort of twists the … the … the laces slightly. When I do a “left-under-right” Finishing Knot, that un-twists it and it balances back into a nice straight line. So that’s completely balanced and that will stay secure. In fact I can pull these ends here and that will stay as th(ey’re) actually “self-tightening” if you like. On the other hand if I do a “left-over-right” Starting Knot, like I’ve just done, and then do a “left-OVER-right” Finishing Knot, it compounds the problem. So the first one twisted it a bit, the second one’s twisted it further, and we’ve got a VERY un-balanced knot. And in fact if I pull the ends here, watch this: Just … slips and that will eventually come all the way undone. That’s what gives you that sinking feeling when you’re walking along and everything’s slipping apart. So … anyway that’s a quick look at the … “Granny Knot”, what causes the problem and how to fix it. Importantly, everyone should watch out for other people that have got crooked bows on their shoes. Especially when parents are first teaching a child to tie their shoelaces. The child miraculously comes up with something that resembles a bow and the parents congratulate them: “Yaayy! You’ve tied your shoelaces!” Much as it’s hard to say to the child: “Ohh, look, you’ve actually done something wrong!”, it is pretty important because otherwise this child will go their whole life tying their shoelaces wrongly and having, you know, shoelaces coming undone. So … kindergarten teachers probably spend half their lives tying kids shoelaces, and if they, of all people, spot kids that are doing it wrongly, then … very important to teach them the correct way. So … anyway, if you want more information about this, go to “Ian’s Shoelace Site” and find the “Slipping Shoelaces” section: www.fieggen.com/shoelace

74 Comments

  • Thank you! I didn't know why my knot was always croocked until now. (=

  • YEAY!!! never undone shoelaces again!!!!!! ^_^

  • Teaching this in kindergarten will save $100 billion a year in lost productivity

  • Wow, I have checked the way I ties my shoes and it turns out I have been using the granny knot my entire life. Thank you so much, Professor shoelace! I will spread the word!

  • I just learned that my kindergarten teacher taught me wrong. I've been tying and retying my shoes wrong for 53 years. Never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

  • I walk for exercise and every morning my shoelaces come untied and I have to stop and retie them. From your video, I realize I've been tying my shoes incorrectly my whole life. I guess because I'm left handed. Thank you for explaining!

  • Wow, I never realized my shoelaces were tie incorrectly for over twenty years. Everyone should be required to see this video at least once.

  • I have a pair of backpacking boots that chew up laces and I had to replace them with paracord, which doesn't like to be knotted. I bet this'll save my butt! Thanks!

  • Thank you! My shoe laces were coming undone at least once a day and it was getting super frustrating. I came online to see if flat shoe laces come untied easier than round ones or something because I had enough. First thing I saw was this video, I looked down and I WAS doing the granny knot haha. Thanks so much for helping

  • Tie you shoe laces. Looking down you'll see a bow to your right, one to the left. Grab–say–the bow on the right, at the top, and tug. It will either slide or be taught, depending on how you tie your shoes. Now do the same to the left bow. Holding the taught strings
    (not the ones that slide) pull. The knot will "cinch". If you can understand my amateur explanation than you are a genius!

  • I am 45 years old and have been tying my shoes incorrectly my entire life! Thanks for this. Wow – it really is the little things that make all the difference. : )

  • thank you! 🙂

  • I'm 43 and I've just learned how to tie a shoelace – I'm off to the back of the class!

  • Well looks like I've been tying those wrong all my life! But issue comes up mostly when wearing winter boots with thick laces. They constantly untie as I walk. Thank you for the video! I will give it a try, hopefully it'll solve it 🙂

  • I've been walking daily and have had the continuous problem of my laces becoming untied.  Usually 3 or 4 times during the walk.  I never thought such a small adjustment would make such a big difference.  Thank you!

  • I'm 45 and have always been tying my laces incorrectly! Thanks so much for this video, it'll save me struggling every day to undo my double knots. I'm looking forward to testing it tomorrow!

  • Dear Prof.Shoelace , I am 38 from india. till date I was shy to ask how to lace the shoes tight. Your video session helped learning to do it right. Thank you sir. I got relieved of my worries 

  • Hi Ian!

    I try your fastest shoelace knot and It really works. I taught my mom how to do that method and she agrees with me. Thanks Ian for teaching that method. You are a master. Thank you. Eddie

  • Oh my God!! This has been driving me crazy for years!! Thank you sooooo much! If I had just checked out YouTube a free years ago i wouldn't have wasted so much time tying these strings! It took mere minutes! Thanks!!

  • can't see what you're doing

  • or just avoid shoes with laces …

  • Well that's lovely.  I had been tying the granny knot for 28 years.  I always wondered why on earth I'd have to readjust my knots after tying them.  I used to do right over left, right over left.  If you do it right over left twice, you get a somewhat vertical granny knot.  If you do it left over right, then right over left, the knot is horizontal, like it should be

  • What's a really cool shoelace pattern to show off to my friends?

  • Good grief! I've been doing it wrong forever. THANKS! 

  • More then 5 years I have been bogged by this and never thought I was doing it wrong.  I started thinking that maybe the shape of my feet changed… good grief, Thanks man!

  • that is not a normal shoe

  • Dr. Shoelace, you are a genius. I'm a leftie, and tied my laces the wrong way for 40+ years. Now i see the light.

  • After a lifetime of laces coming loose, thank you, Dr. Shoelace!!

  • I will settle for it only being 3/5 of my life.

    Now I will be scrutinizing the laces of others. Already I helped a friend.

  • 32 years tying wrong my shoes. How embarrassing. I will be thankful forever.

  • Works great! Nice video. Could have done without the subtitles though. Were those included for us Americans? 

  • Wow.. So now we need a professor to teach us how to do the shoe knot… Poor people. Whats next? An Asswiprofessor?

  • Been tying granny knots my whole life, never to late to learn the right way

  • How many shoes do you have? Just wondering haha 🙂

  • You sir, are a genius! It's now my turn to teach my parents back! =p

  • I've never had a problem until these round shoe laces I have on a few pairs now. I just figured it was the round laces slipping. Maybe I'm tying wrong?! I'm going to try this ASAP!

  • Been trying shoe laces wrong for 26 years lol

  • Brilliant. At 55, I would have thought I'd know how to tie a shoelace. Some shoelaces are stickier than others, but my last new ones are slippery. I thought there was something wrong with them, you have helped me discover there was something wrong with me instead. Many thanks.

  • Wow. I've been doing it wrong for years! In fact I've been double knotting to stop it and they're still coming undone!

  • Pretty nice Explanation on how to correct the Basic knot.

  • it's so cool that you have a lot of shirts with shoes on them 😛

  • this is life changing

  • Thanks a lot, and I was wondering here how my show laces come off like 100 times a day!

  • damn it. ive done it wrong for over 40 yrs! thx Prof!

  • 47 years of tying my shoes wrong #epicfail

  • Eureka

  • It actually worked for me. Had a problem with my high hiking boots, but it really got solved, many thanks

  • I never thought of the problem and most of my sport shoes lacing went well, but when I tried high profile boots it became a killer thing for me.

  • Omg what is that shoe??? I love it ????

  • Thank you, I think you used what is called the scientific method to find the solution of this problem, did not you?

  • This is awesome. My shoes come untied daily (hourly). I just walked into the kitchen and saw my wife's shoes untied and told her about it. Sure enough her laces are in the traditional twisted granny knot. We're changing our knots! Thanks. Chip

  • I feel like such a dummy. I received a major plus in Ranger School for knot tying but failed to see that this was merely a square knot. After months of my shoes becoming untied I found this video. Thanks!! <Team Two Loop Method>

  • Some laces will come undone regardless of well they're tied. I have this issue with my Solomon shoes but not with my Helly Hanson's and I tie both the same.

  • I reversed the finishing knot and I have had few problems ever since

  • Smart video on the mechanism of shoe laces coming undone. I searched for this video as my safety-shoe laces (having a round cross-section) keep on becoming loose no matter how tight I tie the knot. However my normal walking shoes having a thin rectangular cross-section almost never become loose. So maybe the cross-section has something to do with it.

  • Professor Shoelace! Thank you so much for this video! I had no idea (as if it were a surprise to you) that I was tying my shoes wrong my whole life. I'm nearly 30 years old and finally know how to keep a shoe tied. I had refused to get lace up shoes because of this issue. Now, I can save on shoe laces and the embarrassment. I highly appreciate it.

  • Omg cool @@

  • brilliant. love the explanation, makes so much sense now.

  • Whoa!  It works!  I noticed that my ties was often getting undone.  I tried this idea, but reverse the finishing portion since the starting position is more natural and apparent to me.  I immediately noticed how they stayed tight after walking several steps.  My god what a life saver, I will pass down the knowledge to future generations of kids and adults.

  • Why wouldn't you do a close-up from the perspective of the one tying the shoe?

  • Finally after 32 years it makes sense. Thanks a lot! Doing the Ian-Knot now.

  • Hi Ian, salve! Hope you're fine! Just thought it could be much easier to spread this epic video if it's more easy to find. Was thinking that #startingknot in the title or desriptipon could maybe help.

  • I just assumed my walking gait was messed up and somehow I was rubbing the knot untied. Wow, this might be the answer.

  • I've been plagued with ankle injuries from … you guessed it!
    As trite as it sounds, this information is life changing.
    Thanks!

  • I cannot do it, it's impossible.

  • Please film this again but do it slower and use a MUCH higher quality camera. Even a phone camera such as a new android or iphone will do as long as it is kept fully stable (on a tripod with an adapter for example). Thank you. Please go slower and explain which hand is your left and which is your right too.

  • Don’t tie it at all. Just pull!
    para-tek.com

  • now I tie my shoelaces once a year

  • Thank god i found ian's channel when i was 12 lmao

  • Thank you professor.shoelace!!!!!

  • og

  • You have changed my life..thank you for your existence!!

  • My shoelaces never come undone. I tie them once when I get them and then I never untie or tie them ever again for the whole life of the shoelaces. It's because I'm so particular about how my laces look so I make sure it's as symmetrical as possible the first time so I never look at them and get annoyed that it's hanging to one side.

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