
Shoelace Knot Comparison

With so many knots to choose from, how do you decide which to use? This page compares both their functional and
visual considerations feature by feature to help you choose.

Most Common Shoelace Knot:

Easiest to Tie Shoelace Knot:
 First place definitely goes to the
"Ian Knot", the World's Fastest Shoelace Knot, because there are fewer sequential steps and it all happens in
a single, fluid movement. The
Crossed "Ian Knot" is probably almost as easy, but it has its downside of being unstable.
 For those unable to use both hands, the
One Handed Knot is the easiest to tie with one hand.
 Second easiest goes to the
Reef Knot, which uses no complicated loops, although this means that the finished result doesn't look like a
regular shoelace "bow".
 Third place would be the delightfully simple
"FreedomKnot"™.
 Equal fourth position goes to both the
Standard Knot and the
Two Loop Knot, which both form identical knots using slightly different movements.
 Fifth place goes to the
Double "Ian Knot", although it can be fickle when it comes to untying.
 Sixth place goes to the four very similar secure knots:
Ian's Secure Knot,
Surgeon's Knot,
Turquoise Turtle Knot and
"Better Bow" Knot.
 Next most difficult are the
Two Stage Knot,
Loop the Loop Knot and the
Double Knot, all of which require two distinct stages to be done in turn.
 Getting to the point of being considered "tricky" is the
Mega "Ian Knot", which requires a lot of dexterity.
 Hardest of all would be the
Halloween Knot and
Boat Shoe Knot, which each require some serious effort but produce an attractive result.

Most Secure Shoelace Knot (Hardest to Untie):
 First place for security goes to the
Double Knot, although it gets this top position at the expense of being very awkward to untie.
 Second most secure goes to the
Double "Ian Knot", although this can be fickle when it comes to untying.
 Third place goes to the
Mega "Ian Knot", although this is still a little impractical to tie, even for Ian!
 Equal fourth place would probably be the
Loop the Loop Knot and the
Halloween Knot, both of which have the same drawback of looking lopsided.
 In terms of
practical, secure knots, there would be very little difference between the
Ian's Secure Knot,
Surgeon's Knot,
Turquoise Turtle Knot and the
"Better Bow" Knot, all of which are simply variations of looping around or through more than once.
 Next would come the
Two Stage Knot and
"FreedomKnot"™, both of which are marginally more secure than the standard knots.
 Finally come the
"Ian Knot",
Standard Knot and the
Two Loop Knot, all of which form the identical finished knot and are quite secure for most practical purposes.
The
Reef Knot forms the identical knot minus the loops and drawstrings, and should thus have virtually the same
security.
 Interestingly, the
One Handed Knot has much the same security as any of the above standard shoelace knots.
 Although the
Crossed "Ian Knot"
seems secure, any small disturbance of the knot will see it virtually fall apart, so it ranks last for security.
 Least secure is the
Boat Shoe Knot, which is purely decorative and does not secure the ends.

Most Symmetrical Shoelace Knot:
 The knots that are totally symmetrical are the
"Ian Knot",
Ian's Secure Knot,
Standard Knot,
Two Loop Knot,
"FreedomKnot"™,
Double Knot,
Double "Ian Knot",
Crossed "Ian Knot",
Mega "Ian Knot",
Boat Shoe Knot and the
Reef Knot.
 Although in theory the
Surgeon's Knot and the
Turquoise Turtle Knot should finish up as symmetrical knots, they each use an asymmetrical method of tying and
can often come out somewhat uneven.
 The
"Better Bow" Knot is slightly asymmetrical within the knot itself, but outwardly has two symmetrical bows and
two loose ends.
 The
Two Stage Knot is somewhat lopsided, although it does have two bows and two loose ends.
 Finally, the
Loop the Loop Knot,
Halloween Knot and
One Handed Knot are all asymmetrical, each having only one loop.

Identical Finished Knots

Some of these different shoelace tying methods actually form the identical finished knots. In fact, some of the
knots on this site share the identical finished diagram!

Regular Shoelace Knots:
The
Standard Knot, the
Two Loop Knot, plus my own
"Ian Knot", all form the identical finished knot, which is known in knotting terminology as a "Slipped Reef
Knot". This dispels the myth that the Two Loop Knot (or "Bunny Ears") is an inferior knot, although it may have
this reputation because many people inadvertently tie it as a
Granny Knot.

Secure Shoelace Knots:
The
Surgeon's Knot, the
Turquoise Turtle Knot, plus my own
Ian's Secure Knot, all theoretically form the identical finished secure knot, which is known in knotting
terminology as a "Double Slipped Reef Knot". In fact, I've used the same final diagram for all three knots.
However, because neither the "Surgeon's Knot" nor the "Turquoise Turtle knot" is created symmetrically, they can
end up looking quite different to the symmetrical "Ian's Secure Knot", especially if there's not enough slack for
the laces to shift around before the knot tightens.

Choose With Confidence:
The fact that different techniques can form the identical finished knots means that you are welcome to choose
whichever method suits you the best, knowing that regardless of the technique used, your finished knot will be
just as reliable.

Related Links

Shoelace Knots
All of the above shoelace knots listed in more detail.

Lacing Comparison
Similar feature by feature comparison of all shoe lacing methods.


