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Shoelaces keep untying themselves because we're using the wrong knot, according to science

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Scientists have finally unraveled one of the great mysteries of our time: Why do our shoelaces keep coming untied?

A scientific study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A argues we've been tying our shoes wrong all along, and an equally simple knot makes shoes far less likely to become untied. 

Most people tie their shoes with a "granny knot," when a "square knot" keeps shoes tied for longer, according to the study.

The process of untying is surprisingly complex.

The study found the forces on a shoelace knot as someone runs are greater than what the human body experiences on any rollercoaster. When running, a foot hits the ground with seven times the force of gravity, which stretches and relaxes the end of the shoelaces. That loosens the knot. Then the swinging of the leg applies a force on the ends of the laces, which leads to rapid knot failure, according to The Guardian. Swinging your legs or stomping your foot doesn't have the same effects as running.

Shoelace knot (Royal Society)
Shoelace knot (Royal Society)

The study broke this down in graphic form.

Shoelace robot (Royal Society)
Shoelace robot (Royal Society)

Here's a look at the robot used to simulate running.

It's provided hard scientific backing for what many people have long suspected: that the traditional way of tying shoelaces is pretty rubbish.
Robert Matthews, Aston University

The solution: Change the knot. The study found the square knot reduces the chance of an untimely un-knotting is reduced by a factor of five as compared to the "granny knot." However, they weren't able to explain why the knot was more effective.

Tying Your Shoes: Square Knot Bow

WATCH | Because this is the internet, there is of course a video walkthrough of how to tie your shoes in a square knot. 

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