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Tying Laced Footwear

Tying Laced Footwear

A hiring exercise from my interview at eBay in 2004

Footwear is comprised of two shoes or boots oriented to the wearer’s

left and right feet. There are many types footwear, including laced
shoes and boots, buckled footwear, Velcro-fastened footwear, and
unfastened footwear such as loafers or pumps. Footwear is typically
worn over a protective undergarment called a “stocking” or “sock,”
that helps to minimize fungal infection and blisters, while enhancing
the overall comfort of the footwear’s interior.
This document describes a basic method for tying standard laced
footwear such as sneakers, tennis shoes, running shoes, or hiking
boots. Laced footwear is affixed to the foot with a long, durable cord
called a lace or shoelace. The shoelace is typically threaded in a lattice
pattern through two rows of braced holes that run along the topside of
the shoe on either side of a flap called the “tongue.” The lace, when
pulled taut and tied, tightens the shoe around the wearer’s foot,
preventing accidental separation and ideally protecting the foot from
natural elements.

• 2 (two) shoes or boots (hereafter, “shoes”), standard pair.

• 2 (two) laces of any style, length determined by the size of wearer’s foot.

• 1 (one) shoehorn, wood, metal, or plastic (optional).


• Shoes are already laced in the pattern determined by the shoe.

• The reader of these instructions is wearing the shoes

NOTE: The terms “left lace-end” and “right lace-end” refer to the state
of the lace-ends at the start of each individual step. For example, if the
left lace-end is crossed over to the right side of the shoe, in the next
step it is called the right-side lace-end.

1. Place the left shoe on the floor in front of you.

2. Slacken the crisscrossed lace along the top of the shoe.
3. Tauten the shoe tongue by pulling it toward you.
4. Hold the tongue with your left hand and insert the forward portion of
your left foot into the shoe.
5. Brace the rear of the shoe with a shoehorn or your right index finger
and drop your heel into the shoe.
6. Adjust the shoe tongue to a comfortable position.
Tying Laced Footwear

7. Tauten the lace at each crisscrossed intersection, starting at the

forward end of the shoe and working backward.
8. Grip the remaining lace-ends, one in each hand, and pull firmly until
taut and the shoe feels tight against the foot.
9. Cross the left lace-end over the right, until it forms an “X.”
10. Grip the left-side lace-end with your left hand and hook your left index
finger through the crux of the “X”.
11. Thread the right-side lace-end under the crux, remove your left index
finger, and pull the lace-ends with both hands in opposite directions
until the crossover knot is tight against the top of the foot.
12. Extend your left index finger approximately two inches above the top
of the shoe and loop the right-side lace-end around the extended
13. Pinch the base of the loop with your right thumb and index finger.
14. Remove your left index finger from the loop.
15. Loosely loop the left-side lace-end once, counterclockwise, around the
base of the pinched loop and hold the remaining left-side lace-end with
your left hand.
16. With your left index finger, push the left side of the second loop
through itself until the top of the first pinched loop is easily gripped
between your left thumb and the base of your left index finger.
17. Release the first loop and pinch the top of the second loop with your
right thumb and index finger.
18. Pull both loops in opposite directions until the knot is tight.
19. Adjust the remaining lace-ends for comfort and safety by increasing or
decreasing the size of the loops.
20. Repeat instructions for the right shoe.

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