Shoelace Technology

The shoelaces of my tennis shoes come untied all of the time. When just walking around I will look down and wham one of them will be untied. I have a pair of dress shoes, same problem. My office mate’s shoelaces also have the same problem. I have other friends who have shoelace problems. I don’t remember this happening as much when I was a child (or at least older than 5 yrs old).

My tongue-tied question is why are they doing this? Have we lost the technology to build a good shoelace? Is this a plot by the evil Velcro™ empire to get a foothold in the industry? Is there a cure for this problem? Am I destined to fall flat on my face for the rest of my life?

I always double-knot my shoelaces. Adds some time to the tying/untying process, but it saves on pratfalls. I think my shoes have come untied about five times in the 30 years I’ve been doing it.

Ah, Ethilrist I have tried to double-knot those puppies but they still work their way out of the knot and there I am walking around looking like a 2 year old with the shoes untied. Plus, double-knots on a dress shoe does not look good. There just seems to be an epidemic of untied shoelaces that have hit the pavement.

I have answers for you deb. I saw a feature on this that a local TV news crew did recently. Turns out that there has been a big shift from cotton laces to nylon/synthetic laces. Also, there’s been a big shift from a flat weave to a round, cord-like lace. A normal flat cotton lace, like you had as a kid, ties real tight. But they’re spendy. The synthetic round ones just don’t tighten well - very little friction and air pockets to crush.

Its not that we’re building a better mousetrap, we’re building a cheaper one.

I buy sneakers a half size too big and “tie” them once (knot the laces to high hell) and then just slide them on and off. Easy. Doesn’t work for dress shoes, but I generally just wear loafers.

I found a solution to this problem in “The Klutz Book of Knots”

Picture tying your shoes with the standard knot and bow.

  • You hold one lace in the form of a loop. (The mountain)
  • You wrap the other lace around it once (The bunny goes around the mountain)
  • You push the middle of the second lace under itself (The bunny goes down his hole)to form a second loop.
  • You pull on both loop sections to tighten.

Still with me? (And stop laughing at the bunny stuff, that is how I learned :smiley: )

The solution to the lace problem is replacing step 2 with

  • You wrap the other lace around it TWICE

The extra friction holds the laces in place much better, but it still comes free when you tug on the ends (as opposed to a double knot).

I used to have difficulties of stopping to tie my shoes in the middle of basketball games. No longer. This solution has saved me much grief.

There are two ways to tie the knot. You could call one “overhand” and one “underhand.”

If you know how to tie a square knot, that is the way to go with a shoelace. It will not come undone this way.
I have never heard of this “double twist” method, interesting.

I eliminated shoelaces altogether and wear what we called in the Navy as “welder’s boots.” They have elastic on the sides instead of laces. Love those bastards.

The way keeper0 suggests doing it is the way I’ve always done it. In fact, I find it strange to think people do it any other way.

It’s not foolproof, though. It stillcomes undone if you’re prone to it.


When lacing up your sneakers dont cross the lace through the last eyelet, instead put the lace on the same side as the previous eyelet creating a loop, put the lace throught the loop creating a tighter fit when you tie your shoes. This helps a lot if you have narrow ankles or you feel tha tyour shoues are about to slip off your feet. It should also help with the constant untying of your laces.Also have you thought of running a tacky residue, say a glue stick across the laces where you tie them. This should give you a better hold on the laces and prevent slipping of the knot.


sitting at work tying, untying and re-tying my shoes

I hold the doubled lace in my left hand.
If you look down the “mountain”, I send the bunny around it clockwise before tucking it down it’s hole.

Is that overhand or underhand?

I tried sending him counterclockwise, and it didn’t seem as secure but that might just be because I was also clumsier at it.