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Shoelace Knot Variations
Knot Variations

All of the knots on my site were illustrated only one way - the same way that I tie them. While you are welcome to use your own variations, this page shows how to ensure that the finished knot still ends up secure.

Typical Knot Variations

Here's some of the ways that you could tie your knot differently to my instructions.

Left Right Arrows Reverse Instructions LEFT to RIGHT

Knots that are not symmetrical, such as the Standard Shoelace Knot, can be reversed left to right. For example, instead of making the right lace into a loop, make the left lace into a loop. This may result in more natural movements for left handed people.

Front Back Arrows Reverse Instructions FRONT to BACK

Most knots can be reversed this way. Any instructions such as "Wrap the left end around the back of the right loop" can be changed to "Wrap the left end around the front of the right loop". Same goes for passing through a hole from the front/behind.

Up Down Arrows Reverse Instructions TOP to BOTTOM

Like Front to Back variations, most knots can also be reversed Top to Bottom. Any instructions such as "Put the left end over the right end" can be changed to "Pass the left end under the right end".


You may find it easier, more comfortable, or even necessary, to use different fingers than those that I describe. So long as you retain the "core" of the technique to achieve the same result, you are welcome to use whatever finger movements are best for you.

Keeping it Secure

If you have used any of the first three variations above, you will have "reversed" your knot and made it less secure. As I discuss in more detail on my "Granny Knot" page, a secure knot depends on a balance between the Starting Knot and the Finishing Bow.

In short, if you reverse one thing, your knot ends up un-balanced and will come undone more easily. To avoid this, you need to reverse two things. Or four. Or any even number.

For example, if you use the first variation to reverse your knot left to right, PLUS the second variation to reverse it front to back, you will have restored balance and your finished knot will be just as secure as the original:

Here's the normal shoelace knot.

Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The RIGHT lace is made into a loop.

(2) Then the left lace is wrapped around the BACK of the loop and ends up in front before feeding through.

The result is a secure finished knot.

Finished Shoelace Knot

Here the knot is reversed TWICE.

Reversed Standard Shoelace Knot

(1) The LEFT lace is made into a loop.

(2) Then the right lace is wrapped around the FRONT of the loop and ends up behind before feeding through.

This results in the identical knot.

Finished Shoelace Knot

In the above example, two separate stages of the Finishing Bow have been reversed, resulting in a secure finished knot.

For left handed people, it is usually easiest to reverse ALL of my instructions left to right (ie. reverse both the Starting Knot and Finishing Bow). This will still result in a secure finished knot.

In summary, if you follow my instructions exactly, your finished knots will be secure. If you follow all of my instructions in reverse, your finished knots will also be secure. If you do need to reverse any one thing, then you will also have to reverse something else in order to re-balance the finished knot.

Related Links
The 'Granny Knot' The "Granny Knot"

Explains why an un-balanced shoelace knot comes undone much more easily.

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