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How Do You Tie Your Shoes?

Updated on May 19, 2011

Traditional Bow Knot, Bunny Ears, or Something Completely Different?

People are passionate about how they tie their shoes. A bow knot, the two-loop knot (commonly known as bunny ears), or something completely different ... what's so great about the way YOU tie your shoes? Tell us why we should learn to tie shoes your way!

Photo Source: Glow in the Dark Shoe Laces

The Traditional Bow is a Square Knot - Most people tie shoes with a square knot, also known as a reef knot.

Traditional Bow Knot to Tie Shoes
Traditional Bow Knot to Tie Shoes

Traditional Bow Knot

A bow knot consists of two half knots tied one top of the other. Tying right-over-left results in a secure knot known as a square knot or reef knot. Reversing this to tie left-over-right results in a granny knot, which is notoriously insecure and comes untied very easily. If your bow lies across the arch of your foot from left to right, it is probably a square knot; if it lies from toe to ankle, it is most likely a granny knot and you'll be retying it soon.

Here's the surprise: the traditional bow knot and bunny ears both result in a secure square knot! (Or, both can result in the poorly tied granny knot that will shortly undo itself.)

Photo available under public domain from Wikimedia Commons

How to Tie a Traditional Shoelace Bow - Children are usually taught to tie shoes using this square knot method.

A traditional shoelace bow is tied by holding a loop in one hand and then wrapping the other lace around it and pulling it through. (And then watching it all fall apart, if my personal experience is anything to go by.)

This video also explains how to make sure you are tying a secure square or reef knot, rather than a granny knot that will come undone easily!

But What's Wrong With Bunny Ears? - A two-loop knot, done correctly, actually results in the same secure square knot as a traditionally tied bow knot.

Bunny ears (or the two-loop knot) are made by forming each lace into a loop, then crossing one over the other and pulling tight. My sister taught me to tie my shoes. I don't know who taught her the bunny ear method, but that's what she showed me, and that's what I still use. Imagine my surprise to learn that she now ties her shoes using a traditional bow knot!

Bunny ears, like the traditional method, can result in a secure square or reef knot, or in the granny knot that comes untied all too easily. The secret is to make the first knot (the criss-cross on the shoe) in one direction, and the bow knot (the criss-cross loops) in the opposite direction, so that the crossing laces balance each other.


Unusual Shoelaces

A poem by X. J. Kennedy

To lace my shoes

I use spaghetti.

Teacher and friends

All think I'm batty.

Let 'em laugh, the whole

Kit and kaboodle.

But I'll get by.

I use my noodle.

Poem from This Delicious Day: 65 Poems collected by Paul B. Janeczko. Image Source: 33 Ways to Tie Shoelaces.

And Now for Something Completely Different ... - An even faster way to tie shoes!

I'll bet you didn't know the debate doesn't end there! Ian of Ian's Shoelace Site has eighteen different ways to tie shoes detailed on his site, including this super fast method that he himself invented! Not only that, but he shows more ways to lace up your shoes than you ever imagined, and an amazing amount of stuff you never knew you wanted know about shoelaces!

Shoelaces for sale at Avenue Road in Bangalore
Shoelaces for sale at Avenue Road in Bangalore

Shoelaces for sale at Avenue Road in Bangalore.

Photo available under public domain from Wikimedia Commons.


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    • tandemonimom lm profile imageAUTHOR

      tandemonimom lm 

      7 years ago

      @simplyoasis: Actually, me too! And most of my tying shoes stay tied as I can slip my feet in and out easily.

    • tandemonimom lm profile imageAUTHOR

      tandemonimom lm 

      7 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Sorry Brenda; I didn't mean to make you have to work so hard! ;-)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Well yes, I had to untie and retie my knots!

    • simplyoasis profile image


      7 years ago

      I run around bare-footed more often than not.

    • Jeannieinabottl1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Sometimes I don't tie my shoes at all! I am such a rebel. I still enjoyed this lens though.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      This was a lot of fun! I will never forget trying to teach our son how to tie his shoes when he was really little. The poor little fellow was so frustrated. As soon as my husband showed him the bunny ears method, he got it immediately!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the fun lens!!!!

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      7 years ago from Houston

      Fun idea. It doesn't sound like it would be much of an issue but I remember how hard it was to teach my left-handed daughter how to tie her shoes. Thank heavens her first teacher was left-handed.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great lens! it reminds me back when I was still learning to tie my shoelaces. i perfected the bunny ears when I was 4 and I still use it now. I teach kids that method too because its easy to remember in my opinion. Great Lens!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I use the tradition method,my daughter the bunny ears,there are a few ways to tie your shoes as shown here.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I do a reef knot except that I wrap it around twice. Works perfectly and does NOT come loose except when you want it to. I learned that when I was a Cub Scout leader. Believe it or knot, err, not, I've never heard of the bunny ear method!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A few years ago my husband learned a new way to tie his shoes. I need to watch him and decide the name of his technique.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      7 years ago

      Who knew there were so many ways to tie shoes? I don't know which method I use. I just do it!


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