How to Tie Your Shoes
Learning how to tie your shoes is a skill most of us mastered in first grade. Loop, swoop and pull. It’s become such a habit that you’ve probably never given your tying technique much thought. Also, unless you count Velcro, very little innovation has occurred as it relates to the way we keep shoes on our feet. Or so I thought.
This summer I was running a lot of miles (sometimes twice a day) and it seemed my shoe laces were constantly coming untied. This problem has been frustrating me during workouts, long runs and races since I started running.
There’s nothing worse than getting your rhythm busted by stupid shoe laces. Even when I double and triple knot them, they Houdini their way out and escape onto the pavement.
The Correct Way How to Tie your Shoes
As it turns out, I’ve been tying my shoes wrong for over 30 years. Shoe laces are obviously an important part of your running shoe. Unless the person who taught you how to tie your shoes was in the Navy, a pirate or an Eagle Scout, you’ve probably been doing it wrong too. After some Googling, a TED Talk on how to tie your shoes, and some YouTube videos, I discovered something.
The way most of us learned was by crossing the shoe laces, making one loop, then wrapping the second loop around the front of the first. Not good. This naturally causes the knot to come undone. To correctly tie your shoes, simply make the second loop go the other way around the first (around the back).
Two Types of Shoe Lace Knots
Both of these knots have names. The balanced “reef” knot and the unbalanced “granny knot”. Most kids are taught to tie the granny knot. You can spot one because the bows sit parallel with your shoe. The bows in a reef knot on the other hand, sit perpendicular.
The reef knot is better because while running, your foot naturally wants to cause the shoe to open. The reef knot, however, gets tighter. The granny knot does the opposite, which is why your shoe laces are especially maddening to try and keep tied.
Alternative Ways to Tie Your Shoes
If you’re sick of messing with laces all together, there are several alternatives ways you can tie your shoes.
Lock Laces use bungee cords to secure your shoe laces. They go in just like regular shoe laces, and have a locking mechanism that keep them in place. You just trim the excess and away you go.
Yankz, are similar in that they use a bungee, but you lace them starting at the ankle and go down to the toe. From there, they use a clip system that holds them in place so you just “yank” them on. These quick or speed shoe laces are quite popular with triathletes, because you never really need to adjust them once you have them the way you want.
Slacklaces are also similar in their use of a bungee system, but they look and act like regular laces. The differences is that once you tie them, you never need to untie them. The elastic grips your foot, and releases when you want to take your shoe off.
Finally, SUMOgrips are a locking mechanism that goes over the knot, eliminating the dreaded loose shoe lace. The problem with these is that you need to take them on and off each time, but you don’t need to relearn how to tie your shoes.
Each of these products have pros and cons, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Because they are all inexpensive, try each and decide for yourself.
What tricks do you use to tie your shoes? Have you tried one of the lace alternatives? How do they work?
At the end of the day, shoe laces are shoe laces. If you tie them with a reef knot, you can be sure they won’t come undone during an important workout or significant race.
Before your next run, tie one of your shoes the normal way, and the other the new way. See what happens. Learning how to tie your shoes this way will make you happier!