Tie Your Shoes (The Right Way)

For the first installment of our new weekly series, offering tips and tricks to help you take on the world in style, we show you the proper way to secure those shoelaces. You didn't even know there's a wrong way, did you?

Sitting pretty: The reef knot in action.

We’re going to guess that, at some point in your young life, there was a lot of talk of bunnies running around trees and through holes… and that’s the very last time you gave any real thought to the way you tie your shoes. Understandable, but there’s a 50/50 chance you didn’t learn the right knot. Ever had your shoelaces untie themselves? That means you’re doing it wrong. Time to step it up with a new method:

First things first, look down at your shoelaces. If the knot is sitting nice and flat, with the ends of the bow extending out to the sides of your shoe gracefully, don’t change a thing. You’re perfect just the way you are. But if you’re anything like the droves of people out there whose shoelace bows wind up twisted and confused, with one end pointing up at your ankle and the other pointing down at your toes, you’re doing it wrong (sorry). You’ve got yourself a granny knot, but unlike your saintly Grams, it’s not something you want in your life. The knot actually loosens itself with each step you take, hence those flailing laces.

Luckily, there’s a simple fix. Next time you’re tying your shoes, just reverse the direction when creating the second loop (you’ve got the first loop held between the index finger and thumb of one hand, and you’re bringing the other end of the lace in to finish things up). Right now, you either pass it over your thumb (if you start off by crossing your laces left over right) or you pass it under your pinched fingers (if you cross right over left) to cinch things up. Whichever way you’ve done it in the past, just do it the other way from now on. It may feel awkward at first, but stick with it, because now you’re using a reef knot. It’s the shoelace bow equivalent of the square knot, and the tautness of your laces actually tightens it as you walk.

So yes, there’s a wrong way to tie your shoes. But now you know the right one, and as a wise man once said, “knowing is half the battle.”

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  1. Joe says:

    I describe this to people fairly frequently when I notice it—usually they look at me like I’m crazy! It bugs me that the shoes on the site for Benjo’s shoelaces are tied like this (incorrectly).

  2. Patrick says:

    Turns out I’ve been tying a reef knot all my life. :)

  3. James says:

    I’m a bit ashamed at this, but I’m a 40 year-old man who only this week learned how to properly tie my own shoes after reading this blog post! Thanks for the useful information!

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  5. Carlos+ says:

    I loved the GI-Joe reference at the end….

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