How to tie your shoes: Terry Moore on

Posted by: Emily McManus

Terry Moore found out he’d been tying his shoes the wrong way his whole life. In the spirit of TED, he takes the stage to share a better way. (Historical note: This was the very first 3-minute audience talk ever given from the TED stage.). . (Recorded at TED2005, February 2005 in Monterey, California. Duration: 2:59)

Watch Terry Moore’s talk on where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 900+ TEDTalks.

Comments (26)

  • Thomas Gov commented on Aug 12 2012

    A properly tied shoe lace is a double looped reed knot. The other one is a granny knot.

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  • Gerry Thrash commented on Mar 1 2012

    TED has officially jumped the shark.

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  • Colin Monro commented on Feb 15 2012

    Another alternative that may work either with the square knot version or the granny knot version. When you push the second loop through the hole, pull some through, flip it over the top, and push it through the hole a second time before pulling it tight. It unties just as easy as the other version but I’ve never had it come undone.

  • PD SALINE commented on Feb 13 2012

    Very interesting. Please be sure to check out my blog for more info on shoelaces.

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  • Suzanne Redfearn commented on Dec 7 2011

    If you want to eliminate the hassles of shoelaces, you need to check out Wonder Laces. They are this new shoelaces that ties like a regular shoelace, but that has amazing knot strength. My shoes never come untied. I’m a runner and a triathlete, but I’ve put them on all my shoes, because they are also more comfortable and they let me slide my shoes on and off without retying. I found them on the infomercial site:

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  • Andrew Spence commented on Jun 6 2011

    Such a simple thing to get wrong my whole life.
    I agree with Ken Geu. All i have to do is do the reverse first tie. That is instead of right over left and under, do left over right and under and my normal bow. It feels really clumsy but it works much better now. Two ways to do right and wrong.

  • Lord Bottletop commented on May 31 2011

    I found Ian’s site a few year’s ago. I too had been tying the strong version of the simple shoelace knot, but certain laces, especially waxed laces, still came undone too many times, no matter how tight the knot. Somehow, I found out that sailors had a way of tying their shoelaces so as to virtually ensure against coming undone, which led me to Ian’s Shoelace Site where a world of marlinspike for shoes opened to me. What Terry Moore seems to describe is the difference between the “granny” version of the simple shoelace knot and the more effective method of the “bunny round the tree” knot which most of us grew up with.

  • Ken Geu commented on May 30 2011

    I’m in no way an expert, but when I go the other way around the bow like he shows I seem to get the “weak” version of the knot. After a little bit of playing it seems to depend on which direction you go on the initial start of the knot. If I reverse my normal start to match his I get the same results as he does. However, if I start the knot like I always have (which is reverse of his method) then I seem to get the “strong” version of the knot by going around the bow in the “normal” direction. Left string over right string and then over the bow seems to get the “strong” version of the knot. To really tie a bow that doesn’t come undone, go around the bow twice. So, I think there are 2 ways to get the ‘weak” knot and 2 ways to got the “strong” knot. You just have to get the start of the knot and the bow coordinated.

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  • Afra Zomorodian commented on May 27 2011

    Maybe they should invite Ian next time:

  • commented on May 27 2011

    I’d like this post! TED is the last place where I would have expected to come across this…

  • Benedikt Heinen commented on May 23 2011

    It’s kind of interesting to see that it needs a TED talk to spread this… I’ve had the same problem with some shoelaces untying themselves. I’ll definitely give this a try.

    Still – TED is the last place where I would have expected to come across this…

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  • Raymond Jones commented on May 22 2011

    I don’t get it. After trying this myself I found I have already been tying the “strong version” since I was a toddler. I suppose that means I’m a genius!