How to tie boat shoe laces

My quest to complete my Spring 2010 wardrobe before the onset of the season has previously led me to a pair of nautically coloured Timberland boat shoes. But today, as a gorgeously coloured tan paid found their way to me, the niggling doubt that I’ve had about boat and deck shoes of late has returned. Rest assured that doubt is not about the style, boat shoes still remain a men’s Spring / Summer essential and those from Timberland’s Earthkeepers range certainly wouldn’t be amiss in your wardrobe. Rather, the doubt is about how to tie the shoe laces of boat shoes.

I know that sounds odd. It, at least, feels odd to write such a thing. Is anything simpler in fashion than tying shoe laces? Yet with boat shoes I feel like I’m missing something. That’s there’s a proper way to tie them, and that the simple bow isn’t it.

Let me explain.

timberland deck shoes

You see there is a proper way. At least for those involved in the thrill of sailing who need their deck shoes to not just match their yacht, but to be functional too. And that proper way of tying boat shoe laces is to wet them first, particularly when the laces are made of leather. While the Timberland Earthkeepers’ I’m happy to now call my own sport non-leather laces, the wetting rule applies. Wetting them allows for a tighter knot, which means your laces won’t be coming undone nor getting in the way as a wave comes crashing down on you.

But that’s not it. My itch to find the proper way is not yet scratched. Somewhere, at the back of my mind, there’s this niggling doubt about there being another way. And that way involves utilising the additional lace that runs along the side of a proper boat shoe.

Earlier today I experimented with the laces (pictures below), and while I’m not entirely happy with the results, there definitely is the room here for some flourish. Added detail aside though, what I’m really after is that proper way that I seem sure to fixate on until I find the answer. If you know it, please share it by leaving a comment below.

The Timberland Earthkeepers in tan are available from and their stockists for £54.99.

deck shoe laces

tie boat shoes shoe laces

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