Fit to Be Tied

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Panther1619

I have several pairs of shoes with shoelaces, and the laces are always coming undone. To solve this, I tie double knots in most cases. The difficulty is that, when untying them, the knots often get tangled; and it’s a real hassle (involving skewers, or my wife’s superior manual dexterity) to undo the tangles. This seems particular likely to occur when I am going through an airport security check.

My pair of New Balance walking shoes came with laces that look like a row of peapods strung together. A single knot always suffices to prevent them from coming undone. This technical improvement saves me time tying and re-tying my shoes, it improves the flow of traffic at security stations and it even reduces the risk of a shoelace breaking. I’m surprised it isn’t more widespread-it could represent an important outward tilt in the economy’s production possibility frontier.


Maybe it has been patented, so we are prevented from benefiting from this improvement unless we buy from New Balance. Maybe in 20 years others will be able to implement this.


But they do look awful

Kevin Ball

Or you could just learn to tie your laces better?


An easier fix would be just tie your shoes correctly. You are probably tying a granny knot and should be tying a reef knot. I had this problem for years(30+) and finally learned the difference. All it takes is changing the direction of the first loop. I now never have a problem with shoes coming untied even on shoes that I used to have to double knot. It is also just as simple to untie as the granny knot.


Perhaps you are using the wrong type of knot.

Tying the knot.

If it weren't for the shoelaces, I'd have divorced her by now.


I hear you. Sometimes I wish velcro became the standard again. Maybe more flights would leave on time then.

John B. Chilton

Some years back round laces came into fashion in dress shoes and casual shoes like running shoes, perhaps because they looked of better quality. Utter failure: the knots don't hold. There has been a reversal of this trend. Flat laces became standard issue with new shoes. And there have been innovations like the one you mention to beat flat laces at their own game.


Strange that the picture on this post look like oval laces, which have been around for quite some time. Still, I have similar problems with laces coming undone (actually, I lace mine tight so the bows frequently hang long) and just double-bow rather than double-knot. much easier to untie.

Howard Tayler

I wear zippered boots through airport security. I mean, as long as they're going to examine my footwear I might as well give them a good show. And let me tell you, the TSA loves ogling my New Rock Boots.


A very secure and easily undone shoelace knot is this:

You barely have to modify the moves you learned as a child to tie it, and it unties the same way.


If the loops and ends of the laces sit left-right on the shoe - they'll almost never come undone if you use the simple knot you learned as a child.

When they're angled otherwise, the knot slips and eventually your laces become untied.


that knot link from Craig was great.

also- do your new shoelaces look like these:

apparently New Balance sells them in the US under the "Knoty Boy" label. They are actually designed NOT to be tied!


These are the only laces I use in my running shoes. Don't have a problem with dress shoes, etc.


Not everyone is a klutz like you Dan!


Wear loafers to the airport!

Jeff #3

I think John at #8 is very correct on this. I was constantly re-tying the laces in my work shoes (even after just sitting in my cubicle) and switched from the skinny round dress laces to a pair of flat black athletic laces. Now the only time the need to be tied is after I put them on in the morning. There is a noticeable difference between the two in knot holding ability (to the tune of existant vs. non-existant).


Salomon's shoes have quicklaces, which I'm completely in love with. Simply pull, extend the blocking portion, and tuck, and you're ready to run/walk/hike/whatever:


There is a product called Y-ties which kids sell at school fundraisers. They are super elastic squiggles that you lace up as usual, but instead of tying them you just give them a twist. They wouldn't work on dress shoes but they are fun on sneakers.


#16 Maz: Wear loafers to the airport!

I like wearing my bulkiest shoes to the airport, so they don't take up copious amounts of space in my luggage. Unfortunately, my bulkiest shoes are often the least easy to take off and put on again. I figure the extra luggage space is worth ~5 minutes of inconvenience.

Mr Hamermesh: Ian knot. Links above.