Gear – How To Tie Your Shoes Part Two

Tying your shoes seems like it should be a basic skill that every runner has – well, maybe except for you barefoot guys. But for the rest of us, one of the first things we do is tie our shoes, which is something we have been able to do since about kindergarten.

But, a couple of new things have come to light that have shown me that maybe I didn’t know as much as I thought.

Before I get to the details, let me give you a little personal history. It took me a long time to learn to tie my shoes the conventional way. As a little kid I saw people tying their shoes, so I tried to figure it out for myself. While my Mom was pleased that I could get my shoes on by myself, when it came time to take them off, I sometimes needed some help. This was because I would tie my shoelaces until they were short enough that I wouldn’t trip on them. That’s the point of tying your shoes, right?

Well, I ended up with knots that would baffle sailors from tall ships. Now, I am sure that my Mom must have considered Alexander the Great’s approach to the Gordian knot more than once. Still, she had great patience and never cut me out of my shoes. Eventually, I was taught a way that is pretty close to the conventional way to tie shoes, but, even now, I am a shade off plumb with the way most people tie their shoes.

All the same, with the help of the Klutz Book of Knots, learning to double tie my shoes during high school cross country, and the help of a few videos, I have found a whole new way to tie my shoes. Let me share my discovery and say that I am open to addition thoughts.

First, a few weeks ago, I posted this Ted Talk where the speaker Terry Moore explains how to tie your shoes.  To recap: The trick, for those of you who don’t want to watch the video, the trick is to bring the second loop of the bow around the front of the first bow, and not the back.

Pay attention to what happens when you pull the knot, if the knot aligns with the length of the shoe, you have the weak form of the knot. If it aligns with the width, you have the strong form of the knot. Here is the video again, if you didn’t see the earlier post.

This is great stuff, but there is something that helps to mitigate the problem, regardless of how you tie it. What you do is use those extra little holes at the top of your shoe. So you put you laces through the holes to create loops. Then, you pull the opposite lace through the loop as you tie your shoes, and this creates a lock at the top.

Here is a video that demonstrates it.

I have tied my shoes using the lace lock for my last couple of runs, and it makes my shoes feel like they fit better. It also makes my shoes feel lighter, like they are in the right place on my feet. I am a convert to this way of tying my shoes. Try it out and let me know what you think. I can’t see going back. The only thing to watch is how tight they feel on your feet. Below are some pictures of how it looks on my shoes. I will try to get better ones soon. But this is a real advancement for me when it comes to running.


New Balance Shoe

Using the extra holes.


Making the extra lace lock loops.

Making the extra lace lock loops.

Shoelace knot.

The finished knot.

When I saw this video on Facebook, a friend of mine said that the shoe salesman taught him this in junior high. Where the heck was that guy when I was running cross country? Oh well, better late than never.

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