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How To Teach A Child To Tie His Shoes – Follow These Easy Steps

Lacing Your Shoes

It surprises me the amount of children and adults that I see every day that don’t know how to tie their shoes properly. If you do not know how to tie your shoes properly you WON’T get any of the benefits that the shoes has to offer such as support and stability.

I have been working at a children shoe store for 5 years now, and we offer a special shoe tying class for children who want to learn how to tie their shoes. I am a firm believer that shoe laces need to be tight and laced properly, since this will  prevent foot injuries and provide you the parent and your child with more stability and support.

I have fitted several children that came to the shoe store having stability issues and they were falling a lot according to the parents. I switched them from a pair of velcro sneakers to a pair of shoes with shoe laces and they started walking and running better! The parents were happy that the child stopped falling so much.

When should a child start learning how to tie his or her shoes? It depends on each child! BUT, most boys start tying their shoes when they are seven years old, while most girls start tying their shoes when they are between five and six years old. Girls are believed to have better motor skills than boys, so don’t be surprised if your daughter starts learning how to tie her shoes faster than your son. And don’t stress out if your child is not ready to learn how to tie his shoes, I have seen 10 year old boys who still don’t know how to tie.

Shoes that have shoe laces can have a positive impact in your child’s daily activities. However, in order to get the benefits of a pair of shoes with shoe laces, your child must know how to tie them, and untie them properly. You might be asking yourself: Untying?! I am trying to teach my child how to tie his shoes not how to untie them. The way your child takes his shoes off can affect the pair of shoes he is wearing. Most children yank their shoes off when is time to taking them off instead of undoing the velcro closure or the shoe laces.

Keeping Kids Shoes Tied

This ends up stretching the heel of the shoe and wearing the heel counter of the shoe much faster. So, it doesn’t matter how supportive the shoe is, if your child doesn’t untie his shoe laces before taking the shoes off, he will not get the support features the shoe has to offer. Let’s get back at the important thing here, which is how to teach a child to tie his shoe laces.

The Best Way To Teach A Child To Tie His Shoes – Proven Method!

One of my regular families that come to the shoe store brought her child in and told me she really wanted shoes that tied, because all her friends were wearing them. The issue was, she already tried shoes with shoe laces, but had the hardest time learning how to tie them. The shoes kept coming untie so the mother decided that she either learnt how to tie them, or she was going to get her a pair of velcro sneakers.

The girl was seven year old and she really struggled with learning how to tie her shoes using the traditional method. She actually knew what to do, but her fingers wouldn’t cooperate. I told her a will teach her a new method, as long as if she was willing to put the time and effort to learn.

Step 1: Cross the shoe laces to make an X and pull them tight.

Learn How To Tie Shoes

Learn Tie Shoes












Step 2: Repeat the same step and pull until you make a little circle.

Teaching Child To Tie Shoes












Step 3: Drop the laces.

Learn How To Tie Shoes











Step 4: Take one of the shoe laces and put it through the circle, pull until there is a little loop at the top.

Teach Kids To Tie Shoes












Step 5: Repeat the same process with the other shoe lace.

Step 6: Grab the two loops that you created at the top and pull!

Keeping Kids Shoes Tied












Done! That is the easiest way to teach a child how to tie his shoe laces!

Why Should You Choose Shoes With Shoe Laces Instead Of Velcro?

My preference will and always have been shoe laces versus velcro shoes. Why? I have seen and you could probably see it too the clear difference in the way lace up sneakers fit around the heel of the foot versus velcro pairs. With shoeslaces you can put more pressure around the instep of the foot, locking the ankles of the child, which can prevent injuries. I also feel that laces provide the child or the adult with more stability, since the tighter the shoe laces, the more stable you will feel. The consensus is  that your child will get more support and more stability from lace up shoes.

Not all shoe laces are the same though! When a child is learning how to tie his shoes, it will take him time and practice to master it.There is a pair of shoe laces that I recommend that are thicker and come with bumps, and they usually don’t become untie as often!

How To Lace Shoes

Do not know what is the perfect shoe lace length for your child pair of shoes? Easy! Count the eyelets of the shoe (aka holes where the laces go through) and then look at the chart below:

Pair of Eyelets Inches Centimeters
4 27’’ 69
5 36’’ 91
6 40’’ 102
7 45’’ 114
8 54’’ 137
9 63’’ 160
10 72’’ 183

The Best Way To Tie Shoe Laces For Kids Wit Orthotics Or Narrow Feet

The best way to tie shoelaces for a child that needs his shoes to feel extra tight is through the “reverse the laces technique”. You put the laces through the holes as you will normally do, and leave the two top eyelets (holes) open. You will then go to the top eyelet (hole) first and then come back to the holes you left open and then tie your shoes.Parents should try this method in their own shoes first, so they can really see the difference it males. I do this technique to every child that comes to the store wearing orthotics or with children that wear cleats, and they love it!

If you need extra clarification with pictures to learn about this technique, I created another post where you will be able to visualize it better. The post is called:

How To Tie Shoes With Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

I actually tie my running sneakers this way and I feel so much more secure and stable when I am running. If your child has a narrow foot please use all the eyelets of the shoes and try the technique I describe above, it will make a huge difference in the way the shoes feel around the heels.

Teach Kids To Tie Shoes

How To Tie Shoes For A Child That Has A Wide Foot

If your child has a wide foot, DON’T tighten the two first eyelets close to the toes. This will only put more pressure in the widest part of the foot. Basically, start making the laces tight from the third eyelet and up. Take a look at the picture below for clarification: I have my finger placed where you should start making the shoe laces tight. Starting from the bottom, the third eyelet. Don’t pull on the first or second eyelet, since you will be putting more pressure in the widest part of the foot.

Child Tying Shoes

In the picture below my finger is pointing at where the widest part of the foot is. If we pull the shoe laces from the first and second eyelet, we will be putting more pressure in the widest part of the foot, where the small toe is.

Wide Shoes For Kids

Emphasize to your child/children to please undo the laces or velcro when they are taking their shoes on and off. I understand this might be a lost battle for you by now but keep reminding them. It is all about making it a good habit. Once the heel counter of the shoes gets stretched out there is absolutely nothing you can do to remedy this.

Lacing and tying shoes is an imperative step in wearing shoes. I encourage parents, siblings, and teachers (teachers, too!) to make this into a game.  Also, to bring focus on lacing and tying shoes, why not make the inexpensive investment of different fun shoelaces.  You could even try glow-in-the-dark laces (they’re out there), and have your child practice in the dark, barring a fear of the dark.

Give your child something to look forward to in October with neon orange laces, or in December, some nice bright blue ones for Hanukkah or alternating green and red ones for Christmas.  The goal is to get your child to focus on properly lacing and tying his or her shoes, and making it fun is a sure way to encourage this.

I know that some parents and children try to avoid shoe laces at all cost, specially with so many options of velcro sneakers available. Children are increasingly avoiding hard things and that in itself is not a good idea. Learning how to tie your shoe laces might sound like a simple task, but it requires effort and practice. Making our children familiar about the idea of putting effort into things is a good thing because much of what children need to do at school takes effort and practice.

If mom and dad are desperate to switch their children from velcro shoes to lace up shoes my advice will be to only do it if you are going to put the time and effort to teach your child how to properly lace the shoes.

Below you can find some of the best shoe laces for children, including the bumpy ones that stay tied better!

Are your child’s shoe laces coming untie all the time? Do you know any particular technique that is effective in teaching kids on how to tie their shoes? Please share your experiences below so we can all benefit from them!


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

24 Comments on How To Teach A Child To Tie His Shoes – Follow These Easy Steps

  1. Dear Juan,

    I can honestly say I struggled with tying my shoes when I was 8 years old. I wanted it to be perfect and neat but didn’t know how. So, in the mean time I devised a method that worked for me and stuck with it.

    I made 2 bunny ears with my 2 laces, brought them near each other, and let one bunny ear go under the other, and then finally pull the 2 bunny ears together. It has still worked well for me to this very day.

    I have seen videos of complicated methods that people have done to tie their shoes, do you know of any? How about on BuzzFeed?

    Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,


  2. Great post, especially since I never really thought about the importance of lacing up shoes properly until recently.
    My daughter is turning 4 this month and she has her first pair of lace up shoes. Until now she has been wearing velcro shoes.
    I am trying to teach her how to tie her own laces but it seems we will be needing some more time for that 🙂
    So anyway, back to the importance of tying the laces properly. Until my daughter started wearing shoes with laces it never crossed my mind about how tight or loose to tie the laces! Now of course that my most precious cargo has laces it made me realize it is important. I tie them quite tight and I do a double lace on it so it can’t come undone easily!

    • Lynne,
      It is a great advantage that she will be wearing lace up shoes, since laces always provide more support and stability to the child.However,trying to teach her at age four might be a little too ambitious. I will say that girls tend to start tying at age six or seven, usually at a younger age than boys since girls have better motor skills.However, if she sets her mind into it I am sure she will get it with no problem. Good luck and keep me posted I will be curious to know if she learns how to tie.

  3. Interesting! This article actually just brought on quite the conversation at my house. It led to a discussion about how tie your laces properly. Definitely a skill we take for granted.

    It is interesting that I found this article. I did a Child Development course that required us to write a lesson plan for teaching a child to properly tie their shoelaces. We were beyond amazed to see how many steps are actually involved when the child knows absolutely nothing. Your article just emphasized why it is so darn important.

    I have a 4 year old who is currently wearing anything that doesn’t have Everything from cheap knock off crocs to velcro sneakers. At what age do you recommend that a child should learn to tie shoe laces? I fear that if I introduce shoe laces she will end up tripping over them.

    And one more Question? Why are shoe laces so long? I have two pairs of sneakers that even with a double knot, the laces are just way too long.

    This was a very informative post. Thank you!

    • Melody,
      What is the name and age of your child? Girls tend to start tying their shoes at age six while it usually takes longer for boys,they might start at age seven or older. If you believe your child has stability issues or needs the most support from the shoes, I will advise you to start getting him/her laces and dealing with the tying yourself.
      I have seen shoes that come with laces that are too long and also in certain instances too short. Are you sure you are using all the eyelets (holes) in the shoe? I provide a chart where you can find the right size of laces for your shoes. I am glad you found the article informative.

  4. Hi. Great article. I agree with you. There are many who are unaware of how to tie their shoes and to tie them properly. I can’t remember how many times I tripped and fell when I was young because my shoelaces were loose. I’ve also tripped and fallen because my shoe laces were not tied properly (the ends of the shoe laces were hanging over my shoes to far). This is very good practical advice. This is also important for safety. Good use of the ‘eyelets’ chart. I never thought much about the eyelets, however, I can now see why they are important. Thanks again for the good advice.

  5. I remember with pleasure an evening when my eldest son was 5 years old, the school where he was terrorized with learning binding laces, it was practically a sample that has to perform ;in an evening when he went to sleep I hear him saying:
    “God, please help me learn to read and write and tie my laces.”
    It was good to read an article so then, but as it’s never too late, it’s fine now,too.

  6. hahaha I liked your first phrase! “It is incredible the amount of children and adults I see every day that do not know how to tie their shoe laces properly.” It made me think that am I also tying my shoes wrong and after reading your text it seems that, yes I’m tying my shoes wrong.

    I also liked the thought take make this into a game with children! Every child will learn it sooner or later with proper practice 🙂


  7. I never thought I would read an article about how to tie shoes, but it had some interesting information about the subtleties of tying a shoe vs using velcro.

    Also for the explanation of tying the shoe, perhaps you could have a video along side with it for people who are more visual learners. 🙂 I just can’t visual what the directions are just based on the text.

  8. I have wondered why some adults cannot tie their shoe laces. Is it from not being taught when they were young or from circumstance, like their family were too poor to buy them shoes, so there was no opportunity to learn how to tie shoe laces. I like the information about the number of eyelets in relation to lace length. I never knew about this and valuable info when I shop for next pair of shoe laces. I personally don’t like velcro shoes. Not only do they not look nice, it makes people lazy. I guess its for convenience, like a lot of things in life. Good post!

    • Tony,

      I am glad you found the post informative. I believe adults cannot tie their shoe laces properly because of lack of information and not knowing the benefits and drawbacks that occur when not tying the shoe laces.

  9. Hi Juan! Great post. I had no idea there would be so many problems associated with improperly tied shoes. It makes me think more about my running shoes. My 3-and-a-half-year-old twin daughters are currently wearing easy velcro shoes but have worn lace-up shoes in the past. I love your tips for how to treat different shaped feet – my daughters have completely different feet so they usually cannot wear the same shoe. We were just “fitted” for some Mary Jane type shoes last week. How can I tell if it was a proper fitting done by someone who cares or a useless practice rushed by a sales-oriented person? When it comes to lace-up shoes, what should I expect from a good salesperson?

    • Carmen,

      It is hard for me to assess if her shoes are fitting or not without looking at her feet. The most common problem I see with mary jane shoes is that sometimes they are not fitted properly around the width. See if you can slide your finger around the instep of your daughter foot. If your finger does not fit in that area then it means the shoe is not wide enough, if you can comfortable fit one of your fingers around this area then it is fine. I hope this helps.

  10. This is a great post! And extremely helpful! There are so many benefits to wearing a pair of shoes that fits well and you want to start your child off on the right foot! We are currently trying to teach our son on how to tie his shoes properly and he is doing great. It is quite a process and you must have patience. We are making his practice even though lately he has been wearing boots because we live in area that gets snow. This way he will be ready to go in the Spring! I found out first hand what can happen to you if you don’t wear the proper footwear and one surgery later I am still having problems! Great work!

    • I am sure he will learn soon. Keep in mind that it usually takes boy”s longer than girl’s to learn how to tie their shoe laces so hang in there!

  11. Holy cow! This website was so helpful for me. I have 4 children and I have struggled each and every-time trying to teach them how to tie their shoes. My 8 year still struggles to tie his shoes and even more keeping them tied.

    I also found information in here that I had no idea about. I will definitely be coming back to read some more and to get those shoelaces.

    • Kristena,

      I am sure it is hard to keep up with four children. I see children all day, and I get to laugh, talk, and play with them. Parents always ask me how tired I am at the end of the day and I always say I am not tired at all, I get to have all the fun with them and then they go back with their parents. They are the real heroes. The fact that your 8 year old learned how to tie his shoes it must one less thing you have to worry about. Try the laces with the bumps, they tend not to become untie as often!

  12. I have a 9 yr old with autism who struggles with tactile tasks such as shoe tying, so sometimes its not about just age….. we went to velcro just due to the meltdowns over shoes in general……

    He also has a wide foot 7.5 I guess adult size now YES he’s a big boy…. so I appreciate your advice on that.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Hello Ann,

      Wow he does have large feet 🙂

      You are right that sometimes it’s not about age, since I have met several boys older than your son’s age who still didn’t know how to tie his shoes. The issue is that the older they get and the larger their shoe size is ,the selection of velcro sneakers drops considerably.

      I can provide with a selection of velcro shoes in large sizes (it will be small), but what I recommend is choosing a shoe with shoelaces and then replacing the laces with ‘Toggle Shoe Laces”, which will allow you to turn any pair of lace-up tennis shoes into slip on sneakers.

      There is an article I wrote where you can learn more about these Toggle Shoe Laces:

      Toggle Shoe Laces – Never Tie Your Shoes Again

      I hope this helps!

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