You’re tying your boots wrong

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Dan Fraiser

I’ve waded hundreds of miles with dozens of different anglers over the years.

One problem that has troubled nearly every one of them at one time or another is wet boot laces coming untied. I’ve watched them retie wet laces, cinching them down with all their might. I’ve seen them tie the double knot, only to spend many minutes in fading light trying to figure out exactly which lace to try to pry loose, sometimes with tools, in order to get the boots off. This problem is so ubiquitous that the industry actually invented a technological solution. That being the Boa System. Now full disclosure, I use the Boa on the boots I wear with my waders and I love it. We can debate the merits of that somewhere else. But on my wet wading flats boots I have regular old stone-age laces like everyone else. However, I NEVER suffer from laces coming untied. Why? Because we were all taught to tie our shoes wrong. With one flip of the wrist, we learned to tie the weak form of the shoe knot rather than the strong form. The weak form is not self-tightening, lays your loops the wrong way across your boot and significantly increases untying events especially in large round laces like those found in wading boots. Here is a very short TED Talk video that will demo the right way to tie shoes.

Start doing it and you’ll never suffer from untied wet cold laces again.

Dan Frasier
Gink & Gasoline
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26 thoughts on “You’re tying your boots wrong

  1. It works. I found this method about 10 years ago…blew my mind just like the guy in the video. (I like the BOA system for my wading boots too!)

    • Exactly. Easier way to check – pull the bows until the ends come through. You’re left with either a granny knot or a square knot. You want the square knot. For those getting it wrong, and ending with the granny knot, I think it’s easier to fix by changing the way you cross the laces at the start. If you start with right over left, as the TED guy does, switch to left over right.

  2. When tying the strong knot (technically a square knot), instead of wrapping the lace around the held bow once – wrap it around the bow twice and the knot will not come untied – period. This technique is wonderful on hiking boot laces, especially those round nylon laces. Like the strong knot, it is easy to untie.

  3. I am impressed. I showed this to my wife who told me she always ties it the correct way because of tying shashes on girl’s dresses. Now I feel really stupid. thx guys. Ha!

  4. Two loops around the first “bow” before pushing the tag end through makes a strong knot won’t come untied as well. From Kreh/Sosin’s Fishing Knots book.

  5. Good but this is better. Do a double surgeons knot and I guarantee your laces will not come undone. The only downside is pulling the right lace to release the knot. But you will know which one because it will loosen as soon as you pull on it. I use 550 cord as laces and this knot has not let me down. Tightlines!

  6. As a child playing hockey I learned too make a double loop instead of a single loop and they never come loose. I have used this technique all my adult life.

    • Yeah, the double knot certainly works… but it can be a real pain to untie. This way you untie your laces the exact same way… just a tug at the tag.

  7. Pingback: Video: Shoelaces? Fly Fishing. Are you kidding me? | Fly Life Magazine

  8. Just shows how many people never joined the Boy Scouts. Been tying my shoes like this since before I was 10 years old, and I’m 70 now.

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