How to tie boat shoes

Written by laura dixon
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Boat shoes are classic loafer-like footwear traditionally worn by men, but increasingly available to women. These shoes can be the perfect complement to nautical attire or a casual, preppy look, and are appropriate with khakis, jeans and chinos. However, boat shoes can also be annoying to deal with, as they have stiff leather laces that often come untied. Read on to learn how to tie boat shoes and prevent this from happening.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Tie a preliminary knot as you normally would before looping shoelaces around one another. Then hold the right lace with the right forefinger and thumb, and the left lace with the left forefinger and thumb.

  2. 2

    Create two loops, one on each side. With the middle finger of the right hand, place the end of the right lace behind while crossing the left loop over the right.

  3. 3

    Push the loose left lace end to the right while the right middle finger keeps pushing the right loose end between the left forefinger and thumb to go inside the left loop. The crossed loops should now be alongside each other.

  4. 4

    With the right thumb and middle finger, pull the loose left end across. Meanwhile, take the loose right end with the left thumb and forefinger.

  5. 5

    Form a bow by pulling the loose ends of each loop through the other, using both hands. Pull the loops taut, and you should now have a secure, completed knot.

Tips and warnings

  • Try wetting the laces of your boat shoes before tying them, which can keep them tied longer, regardless of the knot used.
  • Over time, the boat shoe laces are likely to soften and become increasingly easier to tie.
  • If all else fails, ask a shoe repairman or shoe sales assistant for help or product suggestions. They are professionals and are more likely to have the tools and expertise to tie a secure leather shoelace knot.

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