How I learned to Tie My Shoes at 32

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Travel_and_Outdoors

For the last few weeks I have been preparing for my first backpacking trip.  I'll be hiking 20 miles in Big Sur.  I have borrowed most of the gear that I will need, since this is only my first time, and I’m not sure when the next time will be.  The one thing that I did decide to invest in is a good pair of hiking boots.  The last thing anyone wants to experience halfway through their trek is blisters or sore feet

I went to REI and hung out in the shoe department for over an hour, trying on boots.  One of the employees checked in with me a while later.  I appeared to be struggling and was noticeably breaking a sweat from nonstop shoe tying and rock climbing in the store.  He took one look at my feet and said, “Your shoes are going to come untied”. 

I looked down at my feet.  My laces looked fine.  I didn't know what he was talking about.

“How do you know that?” I asked. 

“Because your laces are pointing in a vertical direction” he replied.

So I undid them and then tied them again.  I looked at him and he said “Nope”. 

So I tied them again, and looked up at him hopefully. 

“Nope” he said again amused.

As it turns out, my laces were tied in what is called a "Granny knot", a knot with inferior grip when compared to the recommended "Square knot" or "Reef knot".  They looked something like this:

And so, for the second time in my life, I learned how to tie my shoes.  In retrospect, I realize that I was always one of those people who perpetually had her shoes untied, but I had no idea that it was because of my tying method.  I had assumed that one must always tie a double knot to make one’s laces stay put, or that some laces are just “slippery”.  

I was also instructed on a few other knots that day to keep my heels in place during hiking, but that will be for my next blog on advanced shoe tying.   For you beginners out there like me, here is a step by step instructional video on tying a Reef knot.  Hopefully this will help you as much as it has helped me. 

-- Tracy



Tagged: Travel and Outdoors, Backpacking, Hiking, Hiking Boots, Reef Knot, Tying Shoes