Why do my shoelaces keep coming untied?
October 24, 2004 11:30 PM   Subscribe

Why do my shoelaces keep coming untied? I double-knot them. They're not terribly long. What makes that happen?
posted by adrober to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you tying a granny knot? A bow is just a square knot on a bight, and if you are tying the second half-knot the same as the first it won't stay tied even if you tie another half-knot on top.

In any case, I'm sure Ian's Shoelace Site can straighten you out.
posted by nicwolff at 11:43 PM on October 24, 2004

I was looking at that site earlier, I do the standard shoelace tie but on step 3 i go around twice, then pull the loop through, which is slightly different from the double knots presented. Anyway, that seemed to stop untying for me.
posted by bobo123 at 12:33 AM on October 25, 2004

Is it all your shoes, or just one particular pair? Or do all your shoes have very similar laces? Perhaps your shoelaces are just too slick; I've had that happen a few times, usually with the round, hard boot-type laces. Just won't stay tied, at least not with any knot that is reasonably easy to untie. Fortunately, this is easy and cheap to remedy by simply buying less slick (i.e. flat and fabric-y, not round and plastic-y) shoelaces.
posted by Shoeburyness at 1:59 AM on October 25, 2004

I used to have this problem with all my shoes, and it turned out that the knot and the bow didn't fit together because I tied the bow mirror-inverted. (I probably learned it the wrong way as a kid by watching others.)

A bow is basically a knot with the ends of the laces not pulled through all the way, and the knot and bow have to be in such a way that the double-knot they form together doesn't get undone easily. I can always tell if I've done it the correct way after I pull the bow tight: If the orientation of the bow stays the same after letting go, it's done the correct way; if the bow "rotates" after having tied it, either the bow or the knot has to be mirror-inverted.

I retrained myself to tie the bow mirror-inverted so it would fit to the knot, and my laces haven't come undone ever since.
posted by amf at 2:18 AM on October 25, 2004

For me, rainwater is anti-knot.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:35 AM on October 25, 2004

what bobo123 said. twice around rather than once, i learned this trick years ago and now it's automatic. my shoes don't come untied now unless i step on the end of a lace by accident. the extra loop around really helps.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:44 AM on October 25, 2004

I just wanted to say thanks, because I've had the same problem for years and the only solution that had worked so far for me was army boots without laces.
posted by drezdn at 6:12 AM on October 25, 2004

I third what bobo123 said.
It's the best knot, because it has the staying power of the double-knot but is still easy to untie when you want to.
posted by Coffeemate at 6:28 AM on October 25, 2004

I second the third of bobo123. I don't remember where I found it but the double looping is easily the most life changing piece of information I've found on the web.

Well, that might be a slight exaggeration. But when I think of the time I've saved over the last so many years having to no longer retie my shoes...
posted by codger at 7:59 AM on October 25, 2004

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