Short Shoelaces Stay Tied

Shoe rocking short shoelaces

All you need are short shoelaces and a simple square knot (no bows) and your laces will stay tied indefinitely.

While the traditional way of tying shoelaces uses a bow to allow for very easy untying,[1]  these same bows also have a way of making the knot eventually come untied on its own.

So let's get started shortening up your laces!

1. Stop the Ends

First, with your shoe ON, snug up your laces but don't tie them yet.

Snug laces with laces drooping to ground

Instead, tie an  (overhand) stopper knot  in each shoelace where it meets the ground.

Snug laces with stopper knots at ground level

2. Trim the Ends

Second, trim the extra from each lace just after the stopper knot.

Trimmed laces

Now when you loosen your shoe, the stopper knot keeps you from losing the end of your lace down the top eyelet.

Loosened laces with tongue high

3. Tie a Square Knot

Finally, snug up your laces again. But this time finish it off with a simple square knot, and pull the ends hard to set the knot.

Square knotSquare knotSquare knot

4. Rock Those Laces!

Shoe rocking short shoelaces

You can forget about them now. If they ever come untied on their own, tighten the square knot more firmly next time. Square knots really are durable when used for their intended purpose as a  binding knot. (They're actually pretty horrible as a bend.)[3]

5. Yank to Untie

To untie it, grab the left shoelace and yank it to the right.[2]

Capsize the knotCapsize the knotCapsize the knot

Once you feel it capsize, the rest unties effortlessly with your fingernails.


1. Ashley, Clifford 1944, The Ashley Book of Knots, pp. 221 (ABOK 1212/1214)
2. Ashley, Clifford 1944, The Ashley Book of Knots, pp. 220 (ABOK 1204/1205)
3. Ashley, Clifford 1944, The Ashley Book of Knots, pp. 258 (ABOK 1402)