As we were driving home from Florida last week, I heard several radio commentaries maintaining that most of us needed to learn how to correctly tie shoelaces!
The first time I heard this bit of news trivia, I ignored it. However, it was repeated several times on various NPR (National Public Radio) stations as we passed through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan before re-entry to Canada. One morning while dressing, the proper method of tying shoe laces was featured on the hotel television. That old marketing gimmick, repetition, finally forced me to pay attention.
Children Learn Incorrect Methods
For decades most children have been taught the simple method of crossing the laces left over right, forming a loop with the right hand, crossing the left over the right and then repeating the left over right process. For left-handed children, it begins with right over left, etc. This method forms the traditional bunny bow used to tie lace-up shoes. Once taught, the tying action is repeated at least daily and becomes habitual.
Learning how to tie the bow on shoe laces using this process makes a simple granny knot. However, the laces can quickly loosen. Most of us have been forced to stop in the middle of a street to re-tie a shoe lace. Many of us have observed men taking a personal moment to re-tie shoe laces on their expensive oxfords in board rooms, at receptions, or after tripping on a wayward shoe lace.
The problem of laces loosening is easily dealt with by tying a double knot. The double knot has been my ‘go-to’ solution especially for sports shoes that often come with slippery polyester laces. It’s aggravating to have to break the pace and stop a brisk walk to re-tie laces.
Many younger people don’t bother to tie shoes and strut about with shoes untied. Velcro closures on children’s shoes mean that many children never learn how to lace-up and tie shoes.
How to Tie Your Shoelaces
A small cognitive shift is required to learn the correct method of tying shoes. If you usually begin by crossing the right lace over the left, simply reverse this process and begin with crossing right over left, then form the loop and continue as usual. This small change forms a tight bow tie that won’t loosen rather than a granny bow tie or a bunny ear tie.
If you want a better explanation of learning how to tie shoe laces, there are many resources on the web. I found good tips on Ian’s Shoelace Site https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/knots.htm including methods for teaching children how to tie shoes.
Who would have imagined that I had completed such a basic task incorrectly for sixty plus years! Although initially, I regarded all of this as trivia, I’ve been practising how to tie shoe laces on gym shoes and walking shoes since returning home. While it feels awkward, the result is tight and does not require a double knot. Sometimes the small things in life — like tight shoe laces — make a day much happier!
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