Tied up in knots – a guide to tying your laces

Tied up in knots – a guide to tying your laces

Let’s get nerdy.

We all know how to tie our laces. When I first learned how to do so, I remember walking around the house tying up every pair of shoes I could find, to the annoyance of my family.

However, there are variables in doing so which can affect the symmetry and strength of your knot. If you find your laces come undone throughout the day, or you would like to sharpen-up your look, let’s take an unexpectedly deep dive into the world of tying laces.

Material matters

All Cheaney shoes and boots arrive with waxed cotton laces. We use cotton due to its durability, and the fact it’s a natural material to coincide with the leathers we use.

Thin, smooth laces are found on the majority of our dress shoes as they are neat and slimline, whereas thicker laces are included with the country collection to further increase strength. Oftentimes these are also braided – the rougher surface means it has more grip, reducing the probability of your boot laces coming loose and tripping you up.

Quality is in the details. Cotton laces are strong enough to last and will completely break down in landfill once they eventually need to be replaced, which obviously helps the environment. 

Tying the knot

Although everyone knows how to tie laces, most techniques could do with fine tuning. A common problem that I see is a knot which is lopsided. It does the job, but looks a little clumsy and can actually make your trousers sit awkwardly on your shoes.

The following guide outlines how to tie a knot which is small, strong and symmetrical, sitting straight across the top of the shoe. This is what I use on every single fitting I do in-store.

  1. Start with a simple knot, wrapping left over right and pulling underneath towards you before tightening.
  2. Create the first loop on the left side and hold in place.
  3. Take the right lace and wrap it across the front, using your left thumb as a guide.
  4. Pull the lace through the loop you have just created.
  5. Tighten the knot by pulling both loops and adjust the length to create the desired look.
  6. Obligatory thumbs-up.

If you normally create the first loop on the right hand side, follow the same guidelines but wrap the right side over left in step 1.

The Parisian knot

If you still find that your laces are coming loose as the day goes on, or you’re off for a long walk and don’t want to have to worry about falling over, the following variation is the knot for you.

By wrapping the lace around twice, you create an even stronger symmetrical knot without being too bulky. This is the knot that I personally use on every shoe I wear. 

  1. Start again with a simple knot, left over right.
  2. Create your first loop
  3. Here is where it differs: wrap the lace around your thumb twice
  4. Pull the lace through both loops. This is the fiddly bit.
  5. Tighten the knot – one loop will probably switch sides with the other.
  6. Adjust and marvel. This knot will stay intact all day. 

If this wasn’t nerdy enough for you, there are a veritable plethora of ways to tie your shoes out there, but these two will see you right for any event and any shoe. Small details all contribute to the bigger picture, so if you ever find yourself the victim of a wonky knot, give these a try.