There’s a physics trick to keep your shoes from coming untied (Synopsis)

“I do have a blurred memory of sitting on the stairs and trying over and over again to tie one of my shoelaces, but that is all that comes back to me of school itself.” -Roald Dahl

Most of us learn to tie our shoes when we’re very young, go through life tying it through that very same method, and never think about it again. Yet for some of us, routinely untied shoelaces are a part of our daily lives, while for others, our shoes rarely come undone, even without double-knotting them. The reason for this is twofold: one is the way we wear our shoes, but the other is the way we tie them.

The difference between a weak (granny) knot and a strong (reef) knot has everything to do with which side the loops and loose ends lie on, relative to one another. Image credit: O. O'Reilly, C. Daily-Diamond and C. Gregg/UC Berkeley.
The difference between a weak (granny) knot and a strong (reef) knot has everything to do with which side the loops and loose ends lie on, relative to one another. Image credit: O. O’Reilly, C. Daily-Diamond and C. Gregg/UC Berkeley.

If you’re in the camp where your laces are the ones coming undone all the time, there’s something you can do about it! Rather than having to retie your shoes, you can simply retrain yourself to tie the knots properly. There’s a technique to doing it right, and it drastically cuts down on your risk of your shoelace coming undone!

An infographic on the three steps in shoe-tying, explaining which type of knot you'll wind up with. Image credit: E. Siegel.
An infographic on the three steps in shoe-tying, explaining which type of knot you’ll wind up with. Image credit: E. Siegel.

There actually is “one weird trick” you can use to keep your shoes from coming untied, and if you’re one of the millions who suffer from it, learn the trick today!