Different ways to tie your shoelaces and minor acts of rebellion

I had my primary and secondary education in Malaysia. The goal of the Malaysian education system seemed to be to make every student the same – both in the way they look and the way they think. I attended 7 different schools in 3 different cities across East and West Malaysia, so I feel well qualified to write about Malaysian schools. I attended one school that even printed a rule book that stated clearly all the school rules.

All Malaysian government schools have a school uniform which is the same across the country. Even one of the kindergartens I attended had a uniform. School rules were restrictive and didn’t seem to serve any purpose apart from making us all look the same. There were school rules that dictated hair colour, hair length, skirt length, even fingernail length (and yes, they check!). No hair clips, makeup, jewellery or nail polish (not even clear polish) was allowed. There were rules that stated what colour rubber bands you can use to tie up your hair, even rules on the colour of the lenses in your glasses. On top of that, every student has to wear a name tag because there are too many students for the teachers to remember our names. What has all this got to do with shoes, shoelaces or socks? Bear with me, I will get to the point.

Of course there were rules on the colour of school shoes and socks. Both shoes and socks had to be all-white; not even a stripe of colour or a coloured logo was allowed. I don’t know who decided Malaysian students should wear white canvas shoes and socks. They are so hard to keep clean. While the school rules can dictate the colour of my shoelaces (white of course!), none of the schools I attended had rules specifying how I should tie my shoelaces. So, the way I tied my shoelaces was the only way I had to show my individuality at school.

I will now share these different ways to tie shoelaces. You do not need to stick with the usual way of tying laces with criss cross Xs. Back in June, I wrote about LA Gear sneakers, which were the first to introduce me to tying shoes with two pairs of shoelaces. Since it was LA Gear sneakers that first inspired me, I have used my LA Gear shoes here, but all these ways of tying shoelaces can be used with any sneaker or shoe that requires laces. These styles have all been road tested (or should I say walk tested) by me.

These are my LA Gear sneakers with shoelaces as they came in the box.

The picture above is how the shoelaces looked when I took them out of the box. But Xs are so boring! You could try shoelaces tied parallel.

Try parallel shoelaces

Or in a zig zag pattern. The zig zag pattern works best with a pair of short shoelaces.

Or maybe zig zags

If you have two pairs of shoelaces, here’s what you can do:

To achieve a chess/checker board design, start with one pair of shoelaces tied parallel. Then, weave a second pair of shoelace through the first pair to get the desired pattern.

This weaved pattern was my favourite way of tying shoelaces as a teen. Even though I could only use white shoelaces at school, I love the chess board design.

This style works best with 2 pairs of short shoelaces

This shoelace design is one I associate the most with the 1980s LA Gear style of tying shoes with 2 pairs of laces

A zig zag pattern with 2 pairs of shoelaces

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