Buy Shoelace Books
This section presents a selection of shoelace related books, each with my own personal assessment, available through the trusted on-line bookstore Amazon.com. The links take you to Amazon.com, where you can read more about the books, including other people's reviews.
Amazon gives me a tiny commission, so any books that you purchase will be helping to support Ian's Shoelace Site!
Section 1: Early Learning / Board Books
These are generally brightly colored with plenty of pictures, and are of strong board construction to last the rigors of rough handling by children. They have actual shoelaces laced into them for children to learn basic shoelace handling, lacing and tying.
Red Lace, Yellow Lace
(by Mark Casey, Judith Herbst, Jenny Stanley)
This board book has a bottom section laced with an actual two-colored shoelace and a 24-page spiral-bound top section containing the instructions. Using rhyming verses and colorful illustrations, this book teaches the Two Loop Shoelace Knot (also known as the "Bunny Ears" method). It's currently Amazon's most popular book for teaching children how to tie shoelaces.
The Zoo's Shoes
(by Lynn Brunelle)
The bunny in this 14 page board book teaches all of the other animals in the zoo how to tie their sneakers with a "Bunny Ears Knot" (or Two Loop Shoelace Knot). This repetition reinforces the process for the kids reading the book and tying the supplied laces.
The Helpful Shoelace
(by Michael Twinn & Tina Freeman)
14 page board book about a shoelace who, having lost its partner to breakage, goes about trying to be helpful. This finds it laced into all sorts of other items. Very helpful for developing children's hand-eye coordination and shoelace handling skills in general – though do note that this book doesn't actually teach how to tie shoelaces.
(by Klutz Press)
This board book of ten pages is designed to let kids have fun with several supplied shoelaces. Make a purple sheep, a loopy caterpillar, spin a web, serve up some spaghetti, design a funny hairstyle, and much more using colored shoelaces threaded through holes in the book. Very helpful for developing children's hand-eye coordination and shoelace handling skills in general – though do note that this book doesn't actually teach how to tie shoelaces.
(by DK Publishing)
12 page board book that folds out to form a three-dimensional "shoe", plus pages of other activities that can be performed with the included shoelace. Very helpful for developing children's hand-eye coordination and shoelace handling skills in general – though do note that this book doesn't actually teach how to tie shoelaces.
Section 2: Children's Books
These books are once again aimed at early childhood, with plenty of pictures and large writing. Shoelaces are the common theme, either about the frustrations or joys of learning to tie shoelaces or difficulty with keeping them tied (to which children readily relate).
The Centipede Who Couldn't Tie His Shoes
(by Karen Dobyns & Maria Koch)
This 42 page story book is about Ben, a young centipede with limited vision. He wants to fit in with his classmates, who all wear lace-up shoes. How can Ben learn to tie shoelaces when he can't see them well enough to follow what goes where? And if he does learn, can he cope with tying and re-tying fifty pairs every day?
Beautifully illustrated, with more laced shoes (he is a centipede!) than any other book I've seen. Includes a section with color-coded diagrams and rhyming verses that teach the Two Loop Shoelace Knot (also known as the "Bunny Ears" method).
(by Audrey Wood)
This humorous 32 page story book includes the typical real-world situations that confront a child, complete with their imaginary explanations. Kids will really relate to the problem of slipping shoelaces. However, the solution of having them replaced with a "magic" pair that won't come untied soon turns out to have its own disadvantages.
My Shoelaces Are Hard To Tie
(by Karla Roberson & Vanessa Holley)
32 page story book about a girl trying to learn to tie her shoelaces:
My shoelaces are hard to tie
I have to give it one more try!
Look! I Can Tie My Shoes!
(by Susan Hood, Amy Wummer)
This 32 page book is a combination of both instructional and story-book. The story revolves around a little girl who loves all kinds of shoes – except those with shoelaces. So her mother teaches her to tie them. With plenty of clear, colorful pictures and simple rhymes, the story makes the process of learning a delight.
Lucas and his Long Loopy Laces
(by Krystal Russell, Cody Frusher)
This rhyming story tells of Lucas, who doesn't tie his shoelaces, and who therefore gets all sorts of things tangled up in his long, loopy laces as they trail through the park, the streets, the ocean and even outer space! 44 pages, for 3-8 year olds.
(by Suzanne Lieurance & Patrick Girouard)
A child describes the joys of all different kinds of shoelaces. 32 pages with pictures and large writing.
Space Ranger Fred and The Shoelace Adventure
(by Matthew Newnham)
A delightful story involving a boy, his dog, and his childhood dream of emulating his comic-book hero by becoming a Space Ranger. Amazingly, young Fred's dream comes true and he ends up saving the planet Jamobori thanks to his shoelace-tying expertise. Besides being a fun read, this book also helps kids learn how to tie their shoelaces using the Standard Shoelace Knot technique. 34 pages, for 6-10 year olds.
Buddy Can't Tie Shoes
(by Jo Ann Kathleen)
A cute kids story about Buddy and his playful puppy as they hunt for Buddy's missing shoes and try to recall the previous day's events. Will they find them, or will they discover something more important? 28 pages, suggested for 9-12 year olds.
Erin and Her Shoe Laces
(by Mark J. Blotcky MD)
An almost identical story to the above book, but probably more suited to girls as the main characters are Erin and her puppy Ace. Also 28 pages, for 9-12 year olds.
Section 3: Novels
These books are generally for more mature readers, either older children, teenagers or adults. Obviously, there's none solely devoted to shoelaces, but they at least have something to do with the subject.
(by Nicholson Baker)
In this quirky book, the author breaks a shoelace, then travels to a local store to buy a replacement. On the way up the escalator, he ponders everyday objects with something in between childlike wonder and scientific curiosity. Why do shoelaces break? Why do they break at almost the same time? Why do drinking straws float? How do milk cartons differ from milk bottles? What is the correct etiquette in mens' rooms? Be prepared to be captivated by the minute details of the everyday world in which we work and live.
(by Daniel Manus Pinkwater)
This 320 page book for young adults is the story of Neddie Wentworthstein, heir to a shoelace empire, who – to quote the title – "Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization". That title probably doesn't do justice to the incredible journey that takes place, or the many twists and turns, all of which have helped to make this book a bestseller.
(by Scott Westerfield)
Trendy shoes and shoelaces play a major part in this 240 page suspense novel, which is why I read and enjoyed the book despite it being written for young adults. The storyline delves into the culture of those who create fashion trends, those who follow them, and the corporations that try to profit from them. The two main characters – Hunter and Jen – are brought together when one spots the other's shoelaces, which are laced into a pattern like the "rising sun" design on the old Japanese flag. In fact, the first sentence of this book reads:
"Can I take a picture of your shoe?"
Section 4: Other Books
These are books that are clearly about shoelaces but which I can't easily categorize into one of the above sections.
Loop, Swoop, and Pull!
(by Joseph P. Anderson)
I don't have any details about this book other than that it has 24 pages and that the suggested reading level is "Young Adult". The title phrase has become common vernacular for the process of tying shoelaces. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows what this book is about!
Section 5: Shoe & Sneaker Culture Books
Here you'll find books about shoe and sneaker culture, aimed mainly at fashion conscious teenagers and adults and collectors of trendy footwear.
Sneakers: The Complete Collector's Guide
(by Unorthodox Styles)
This 256 page encyclopaedic guide contains plenty of material for the most demanding footwear collector. Histories of the major brands, chronologies, directories of stores and websites. Oh, and of course, there's sneakers – hundreds of photos of the most notable sneakers.
(by Simon Wood)
The original Sneaker Freaker Magazine ("Snkr Frkr") is a twice-yearly mag devoted to the global footwear craze. A funky style, with heaps of great pictures of some really trendy footwear plus interviews with some of the hottest names in the footwear industry. MTV called it: "The most definitive sneaker culture mag on the planet". This 320 page book compiles the first six issues of the magazine, the originals of which have become hot collector's items.
Section 6: Technical Books
These books all have something to do with shoelaces from a technical perspective.
The Ashley Book Of Knots
(by Clifford W. Ashley)
Considered by many in knotting circles as the definitive reference of knots from all walks of life, this massive 640 page book includes over 7,000 small but fairly clear drawings of some 3,900 knots. Published in 1944 – that's over seventy years ago – it therefore doesn't include some recently invented knots, but nonetheless covers many more knots in many more categories than any other reference. Nicely rounded out with some good reading and historical background about knotting as both a necessity and a pastime from this bygone era.
"The Ashley Book Of Knots" shows a number of Shoelace Knots, which is more than I can say for many other knotting reference books. I can therefore recommend this book most enthusiastically!
Fashionary produces a range of sketchbooks and template books for fashion designers. About 2/3 of this Shoe Design book is devoted to tracing templates. The remaining 1/3 is an encyclopedia of shoe information relevant to shoe designers.
I was honored to be consulted by the Fashionary team for the section on shoelaces. The book contains a couple of pages of shoelace information, including diagrams of forty of the shoe lacing methods from my website plus my table of approximate shoelace lengths.
The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception
(by H. Keith Melton and Bob Wallace)
Created for Cold War era C.I.A. training by noted magician John Mulholland, this manual contains a wealth of techniques for sleight of hand and covert communications, among which are several ways of lacing shoes in order to convey silent messages to fellow operatives.
The manual has an amazing history: Originally written in 1953, all copies were believed destroyed in 1973. One surviving copy was declassified in 2007, from which this version was produced and released in November 2009.
Fehlfunktion (translation: Malfunction)
(by Konrad Lischka)
Konrad Lischka writes a popular column in Germany's "Spiegel Online" website about technology and its many failings. This book is a compliation of many of those articles, most of which relate to technology but many of which relate to other real-world subjects – even shoelace knots. For example, the front cover depicts the typical problem of cling wrap never tearing off smoothly.
Includes a contribution from Ian about shoelace knots!
Currently available only in German (from Amazon.de).
The Right Way
(by Lauren McCutcheon)
This book is packed full of advice on the "right way" to do certain things, either from the point of view of etiquette or efficiency. The right way to hold chopsticks, mow the lawn – even tie your shoelaces.
And that advice doesn't just come from random sources. Instead, the author has sought out experts in every field. I was honored to be included in a distiguished list of contributors that included doctors, authors, chefs, even royal butlers and candlemakers!
Includes a contribution from Ian about tying shoelaces!
The Shoelace Book: A Mathematical Guide to the Best (And Worst) Ways to Lace Your Shoes
(by Burkard Polster)
Burkard Polster is a lecturer in mathematics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. In December 2002, Burkard generated world-wide interest in the subject of shoelaces when his single-page paper summarising the shortest way, strongest way, and number of ways of lacing shoes was published in the respected journal "Nature".
Four years later, Burkard completed a more comprehensive coverage of the subject, resulting in this 125 page book. Besides answering the above questions about shoelaces, the mathematics itself becomes interesting because it's no longer about an abstract concept but about a real-world application to which all of us can relate.
Laces: 100s of Ways to Pimp Your Kicks
(by Ian Fieggen)
Last but not least is my own book, Laces, which was published in 2007. Like the website, this book is the world's most comprehensive reference about shoelaces.
"Laces" comes with color-coded laces that match the lacing diagrams, and has an "interactive" front cover that can be used as a practice shoe. The pages are filled with trendy looking shoes laced in amazing patterns.
Sadly, "Laces" is now out of print, so copies are getting ever more scarce.
Section 7: Electronic Readers
If you love books, but haven't found any of the above books about shoelaces to be of interest, check out the latest in electronic readers!
Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device
As thin as most magazines and lighter than a paperback, the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device can hold up to 3,500 books in electronic format. The "E-Ink" electronic display is like reading print on paper, even in bright sunlight (unlike conventional computer screens). You can buy the latest books, downloaded wirelessly from most parts of the world, for a fraction of the cost of their printed counterparts.
If you're an author with a book that's not listed here, or if you can recommend another book for this section, please Contact Ian.