Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Kids Learn to Tie Their Shoes

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2 kids tying shoes

Learning to tie your shoes is no small feat. 👣

Although most of us remember shoe tying as a childhood rite of passage, this developmental milestone can be quite a challenge – especially when you’re on the teaching end of things. Read on for some tried and true tips and products that’ll help you teach your kids how to tie their shoes!

Here are some shoe-tying tips to get started:

girl with untied shoe

There’s no shortage of shoe-tying advice out there. We’ve sorted through tons of shoe-tying guidance and boiled it down to some of the best tips we could find:

  • Choose soft, easy-to-hold laces. Many children do better with the wide, flat laces at first.
  • Use light-colored or better yet, two-tone laces for more contrast. Shoe tying will be easier for your child if they can easily see which is which.
  • Use a marker or pen to mark where your child should hold their laces.
  • Be prepared to teach more than one technique in case the first method you show your child doesn’t “stick.”
  • Watch a YouTube video with your child and learn a new knot together. Have your child “teach” you what they learned from the video.

Helpful videos that show how to tie shoes:

YouTube has countless videos created to help children learn to tie their shoes. There are SO many more ways to tie shoes than the one I learned growing up! This video alone covers three different methods of shoe tying.

Here’s another video that models a fourth method of shoe tying, plus a song to go along with it!

Products for teaching your child how to tie their shoes

In addition to all of the tips, tricks, and advice out there, there are lots of products you can purchase to help your child learn how to tie their shoes too. Here are some of the best ones we’ve found:

1. Easy Tie Shoelaces

dual colored shoelaces

These dual-colored laces minimize lace confusion and make it easier for your child to tell which shoelace they’re working with (like in the video above). These laces are wider for little fingers, stiffer so they don’t flop as much, and waxed so they’re more likely to stay tied. And according to my son, it doesn’t hurt that they come in this red and blue (read: Spiderman) color combo!

2. Shoe-tying books

how to tie shoes book

Buy it on Amazon$7.69+

There are tons of children’s books designed to help your child learn how to tie their shoes, and many have laces built right in for practice! I Can Tie My Own Shoelaces and Red Lace Yellow Lace are two highly-rated examples.

3. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wood Lacing Sneaker

red and white wooden shoes with laces

Buy it on Amazon$11.69 

This durable Wooden Lacing Sneaker is a great way to introduce the concept of shoe tying early in a child’s life (before you invest in their first pair of tie shoes).

4. Shoe Lace Tying Boards

child with shoe lace tying board

Buy it on Amazon$16.99 

A Shoe Lace Tying Board is something your child can easily hold on their lap and take with them anywhere. You could even squeeze in a practice session at the doctor’s office, restaurant, or any place you might need a quiet activity to fill a little downtime since they’re so portable.

Here are some shoelace substitutes: 

If your child struggles with fine motor skills, or if you’d just like to get your 5-year-old out the door on time once in a while, there are plenty of ways to avoid shoe tying until your child has it mastered.

1. Velcro shoes

girl in Velcro shoes

The name Velcro has become synonymous with hook-and-loop style fasteners since it was first used by NASA in the 1960s. It has been used as a shoelace substitute for almost as long! Velcro is a great alternative for kiddos who want to put on their own shoes but just aren’t ready to deal with laces.

2. Slip-on shoes

slip on shoes

Buy them on Amazon$10.79+

Slip-on shoes can come in many forms – flip flops, slides, Crocs, jellies, etc. Even if your child has mastered the skill of tying their shoes, it might still make sense to keep a pair of slip-ons handy for those times you’re in a hurry to get your child out the door.

3. Xpand No Tie Shoelaces

Xpand no-tie shoelaces

With these Xpand No Tie Shoelaces, you can make any lace-up shoe a slip-on. My son loved how easy it was to get in and out of his sneakers with these stretchy laces. My only concern is that he was able to slip out of them a little too easily. While they’ve been fine for playing in the backyard, I would probably have him wear something he can tighten a but more for phys ed or long days of walking.

4. Caterpy – The Ultimate No-Tie Shoelaces

Caterpy no-tie shoelaces

The bumps on these stretchy Caterpy laces create tension in each row of the shoe’s eyelets. This allows you to tighten them evenly across your child’s instep (instead of relying on a single knot) for a more comfortable and secure fit.

5. Curly No Tie Shoelaces

curly no-tie laces

These Foot Matters Curly No Tie Shoelaces use the tension from the curl to keep the laces in place. I didn’t expect to like these laces based on the fact that they didn’t really look like they would keep my daughter’s shoes on her feet. She loved them though, and I was pleasantly surprised at how her shoes maintained a snug fit after she gave these curly laces a tug!

6. Lock Laces Elastic No Tie Shoelaces

Lock laces no tie shoelaces

These highly-rated Lock Laces are a popular alternative to shoelaces for adults, and they’re simple enough for children to use, too. Just cut off the extra length once you have them laced into your child’s shoes. The locking system is easy for little fingers to manage (and fun too, according to my 6-year-old)!

Check out these fun things you can do with kids while quarantining.

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

Join The Discussion

Comments 6

  1. Krystal

    That’s funny, I literally just taught my daughter this week!! I had been meaning to work on it all year but finally found the time 😆😆

  2. nikkidevey1

    Thanks! We’ll tackle this next week!

  3. krystalknight

    We did the melissa n Doug wooden shoe n it worked great! Mom ties her shoes diff than dad so we were able to try both ways(dads way won out) us adults have the xpand laces on out convers( low tops) and we love them! We tried them w my sons and he hated them so it’s total personal preference. We did get them from xpand website and they ended up cheaper (we bought multi sets)

    • gray757

      Thanks for the tip!

  4. Scott G

    CaterpillarLaces.com has great laces to teach how to tie shoes with.

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