I learned how to tie my shoes when I was 22

Don’t let the title fool you. Like any kid, I was taught to tie my shoes at a young age. I didn’t know a bowline from a Double Windsor and I sure didn’t know a square knot from a granny knot. I simply learned to do it the way I was taught. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that my knots never lasted more than a few hours. I had been taught to tie my shoes and my teacher had approved of my knots. Tying them this way several times a day had turned the knotting action into a habitual chore but its effortlessness kept it below my annoyance threshold for several years.

It was at the ripe and rebellious age of twenty-two that I finally got fed up with the constant need to re-tie my shoelaces. I was this close to buying Velcro shoes but I decided to make the effort to change my habit. It suddenly required great attention to tie my shoes but I found that I only had to do it once a day. After a few weeks I had altered the habit and it became easier to tie them in the new, more effective knot. After a month it was difficult to remember the old way.

Soon I discovered that I could remove and put on my shoes without untying them. I knew that some people did this and I had chalked it up to laziness. In fact, my inferior knots were seldom tied when it came time to step out of my shoes. My poor shoe-tying skills were the reason I never picked up the habit of stepping into tied shoes. With my new knotting habits came new shoeing habits and I began to step in and out of tied shoes. I had a pair of orange Saucony Jazz sneakers that stayed tied for years. I hadn’t tied them especially tightly. My new knots simply lasted longer than shoes!

If your shoelaces won’t stay tied, don’t commit to a double-knot until you have discovered exactly what kind of knot you’re tying. If it’s a granny knot with loops like mine was, try switching to a square knot. You just have to reverse the direction of the second twist. (You know, make the left bunny ear run around the right one for a change, or whatever does it for you. I don’t know from bunnies. Ask Ian.)