How I Changed the Way I Knot

I’ve been tying knots the wrong way, I have learned.

First, I’ve been knotting my shoes the wrong way, as I learned from this TED video. Six months ago I switched to the new system espoused there, and went from having my shoelaces becoming undone two or three times a day to having my shoelaces never becoming undone. I took about 2 weeks until my muscle memory learned the new method, but it’s now second nature.

Second, I’d been knotting my scarf the wrong way. Truth be told, I wasn’t knotting my scarf at all, simply draping it around my neck and holding it on with my coat. But then, two days ago, I carefully watched as my friend Shelley did what I’ve come to learn is called the “Parisian Knot,” a simple technique that is well-illustrated here:

I’ve only been Parisian for 12 hours now, but the change is palpable: I’ve moved from “vaguely warmed neck” to “warmly swaddled neck.


Dave's picture
Dave on January 29, 2014 - 15:11 Permalink

I’m with you on the shoes. If I wear a scarf at all, I like it to lay flat under my coat with my coat fastened. My coat won’t close against your knot.

Rob's picture
Rob on January 29, 2014 - 15:49 Permalink

Looks great but it’s not a frigid weather scarf technique. I find it useless for keeping my neck and chin warm and it’s uncomfortable to zip your coat over the lump. The once-round technique is much better.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 29, 2014 - 17:04 Permalink

I think a lot of the success of the Paris style has to do with the configuration of the neck area of the coat you’re wearing.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 29, 2014 - 19:29 Permalink

It’s amazing what an epiphany it feels like to learn you’ve been tying your shoes wrong your whole life. Happened to me a few years ago. It’s also amazing it seems so many of us never learned this so basic life skill, and weird how there seems no opportunity for it come up even once you know. Somehow it seems trivial despite the genuine and almost everyday frustrations, inconveniences and occasionally even hazards that result from laces loosening. Thank you for your public service, Peter, posting about it.

Seigi's picture
Seigi on January 31, 2014 - 01:33 Permalink

I watched the video and tried the right way and I was gladly surprised of the effectiveness of the technique.

After practicing a bit more, I realized that what causes the weak form of the knot is when the two loops are done the same way. I usually put the left lace on top of the right in both loops, causing the weak knot. I tried putting the right lace over the left one and then finishing the usual way and voilà, strong form.

I found it easier to start the opposite and finishing the usual way.