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How Do You Tie Your Shoes?
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!
The Traditional Bow is a Square Knot - Most people tie shoes with a square knot, also known as a reef knot.
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.
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 collected by Paul B. Janeczko. Image Source: This Delicious Day: 65 Poems33 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.
Photo available under public domain from Wikimedia Commons.