Tying Shoes

Today during the on-line church service, the children’s ministry teacher started the children’s moment talking about skills we learned to do, but don’t really think about how we do it anymore.  The idiom, “like riding a bike,” was mentioned.  Then she started talking about learning to tie her shoes.

I don’t remember much of the lesson after that because my mind was filled with the memory of childhood traumas.  I suffered much over tying shoes.  Try as they might, mother, father, teachers, friends, etc … no one could teach me the “correct” way to tie a shoe.  You know that way where you make a single loop, wrap the loose end around the loop, and by some magic spell you pull a loop through somewhere and and presto tied shoe.

Even as an adult I don’t get it.

As a kid, I was always derided by adults, and other kids for not being able to learn the proper way.  Oh, I did find away to tie shoes – you just make two loops and tie them together like a granny knot.  It works.  My shoes stay tied, most of the time.  If you look closely at two shoes, one tied the correct way and one tied my way, you’d be hard pressed to tell which method was used to tie the knot.

I managed to grow up, but when it was time to tie my shoes, I always tried to do that in a private place, away from judgmental eyes.  It became a great skill of mine – hiding how I tied my shoes.

While I was researching for this post … yes, I did some research for this post.  The internet is a weird thing and for the life of me I couldn’t exactly remember the “correct” way to tie shoes so I decided to look it up.  I found one website that lists, complete with instructions, for 20 different ways to tie a shoe.

Anyway, the first method listed as the “Standard Shoelace Knot,” and explanation still doesn’t make sense to me.  The second method – second – just want to emphasize that, “second,” is the two loop or “bunny ears” method or exactly the method I’ve been using since age five (or maybe six).  And get this, when you look at the pictures of the two methods, the result is exactly the same final knot.

Take that shoe tier teachers.

Okay, there is a note that done incorrectly the bunny ears method can lead to an “unbalanced granny knot.”  I’ll admit that sometimes I do come across as unbalanced or a least less than stable, but that’s a different post …

Looking at the list of shoelace knots, I find the “Turquoise Turtle Shoelace Knot” to be interesting and I just might learn that one.  Maybe.

These days I tend to just avoid tying shoes at all.  I mean I am getting older and it’s a long way down to my feet and I fear falling over while attempting to tie a shoe.  When I can I have slip-on shoes or just take my shoes off without untying then and treating them like slip-ons.  Not the best practice as over time it destroys the heal, but it’s how I’ve learn to adapt to my childhood traumas and fears.

But I think it’s time that I faced those fears and say out loud, “Where can I get shoes with velcro straps?”

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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32 Responses to Tying Shoes

  1. I thoroughly enjoy reading this, shoes with Velcro it is 👏🏽👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TWENTY different ways to tie a shoe?!? Yikes. But it’s very cool to find out how many different ways there are to do something I’ve always done the same way. I’d look it up for fun, but the sad truth is that I’m knot-impaired. I can tie my shoes, and I can tie a bowline knot (backwards, apparently, but it still seems to work). That’s it. Despite owning a book on knots and studying diligently, I just don’t seem to be able to learn the ropes. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always like to look at things in life such as this with the following thought: “There are many roads to a single destination.”

    Just because some, or “most” do things one way, doesn’t mean that it is the only means to the end result. Who’s to say which is the ‘correct’ way, anyway? As you mention – it works. That is the bottom line.

    As an artist, I find others’ methods can be enlightening. Open minds are crucial to better understanding our world and appreciating our differences. (Besides- “Bunny Ears” is a cuter name for the process.) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Baydreamer says:

    I would never have thought tying shoes would make such a great blog post, Andrew. I remember that bunny ear method, but I’ll admit slip-ons are awesome! Thanks for sharing and for the smiles!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Consider yourself well ahead of the curve, Andrew. Who ties shoes anymore? Like mailing a letter!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave says:

    I’d love to go back to the moment I learned how to tie a shoe (ditto tie-tying). I can’t even tell you if it was a parent or a sibling who taught me how. Twenty different knots… what the heck for? And yes, I’ve started to see those Velcro-secured shoes too. Especially in the gym, I have to wonder if the Velcro lasts as long as the shoe itself (laces do). Finally, I have a pair of Merrell kick-around shoes I keep by the front door. Slip ’em on – no hands required – and you’re good to go. As you say, hard to argue with slip-on’s as we grow older.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, my, this brought back memories! I was one of those kids who just couldn’t get the knack of tying my shoes. It was becoming embarrassing. My parents–who were both right-handed–tried and tried to teach me, but I couldn’t replicate their efforts. Then they asked someone who was left-handed (as I am) to show me, and suddenly it made perfect sense. I’ve been tying my shoes ever since.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. G. J. Jolly says:

    I always thought the “standard” way to tie a shoe was more like a slip knot because you just pull on one of the ends and the shoe is untied.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, it is a kind of double slip knot. The standard method makes sure it’s always tied the right way around. With the bunny ears method, you have the chance of making the knot lopsided so it doesn’t stay tied as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pied Type says:

    I’m too old to remember how I learned to tie shoes. I think I do it the usual way. Nor can I remember how or if I taught my son to tie his. But at 52, he seems to be managing just fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Who knew shoe tying could be such an interesting blog subject? 😉 Our oldest grandchild is having similar problems learning how to tie. We’ll try that bunny ear method.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Teressa says:

    Remembering when my brother was learning to tie shoes. Eleven years my junior and nine years younger than our sister, he would get so frustrated when I tried to help. Turns out that I tie shoes in a mirror-image manner of the rest of my family. Must have learned by being in front of my parents; sister and brother learned with a parent reaching around them from behind.
    Thanks for triggering a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loreeebee says:

    I taught my kids to tie their shoes using the bunny ear approach, not wrong at all, although my eldest did say years later that he ties his shoes funny, so he must have got some teasing along the way

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ray V. says:

    Only you can make a story about tying your shoes interesting. Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Dave Foyle says:

    Like you, I’m a fan of just not untying my shoes too when I take them off! I use a shoe horn to protect the heels.

    I figure I save at least 15-20 seconds a day. That’s 2 hours a year TYING SHOES!! Multiplying that out over the next 30 years I have left, that works out to about 60 hours — who wouldn’t want an extra 60 hours enjoying life instead of tying shoes?

    Good call!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Relax... says:

    Our middle grandson had the same troubles for so long and got too frustrated. I got him elastic laces — there are many kinds, colors and lengths these days — who knew?!

    Liked by 2 people

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