Gear Tip: How To Tie Your Shoes

Laces flapping in the wind? We show you the right way to tie your shoes.

RW Editors |

Laces flapping in the wind? We show you the right way to tie your shoes. – By The Runner’s World Editors


Tying your running shoes. It’s something so simple, yet so many runners still do it incorrectly.

While it should be simple to properly knot your shoes, there’s more than one way to tie a standard shoelace knot. When runners end up with a final product that won’t stay in place, it’s usually because they are tying a granny knot.

If circumstances put you in the granny camp, you are doomed to looseness, stooping, and retying. Crooked bows – sitting vertical from ankle to your toes – are the visual giveaway.

To keep your laces nice and snug, you need to fashion a reef knot, where you tie the starting knot in one direction, and the finishing bow in the other. Reef loops fall gracefully to the left and right sides of the shoe.

The difference between a granny and reef knot is a matter of tension: Lace tautness generated as your foot moves actually tightens a reef knot, while that same strain in the bottom part of a granny knot will work the top part loose.

To help you tie the perfect reef knot, watch the video above or follow the directions below:

Step 1: Place the left lace over the right lace, then pull it through.*

Step 2: Make a loop on the left (or “bunny ear” the current left lace), then bring the right lace around to the left loop, going in front of the loop (your ankle side, not the side closer to your toes).

Step 3: Continue the right lace around, then feed it into the hole that has just been made. With it through, grab hold of both loops and start to pull the knot tight.

*If you begin with the right lace over the left, just make your first loop also on the right side. The rest of the steps stay the same.

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