How Do Adults Put on Shoes?

I recently realized that I put on shoes like a little kid.

Aside from my cats, I live alone, so usually when I put on my shoes, I’m not really aware of what I’m doing. I just go through the motions of putting them on without the weight of society on my shoulders.

But yesterday I was hanging out at a friend’s house, and at the end of the night, I was the first of four people to leave. I did as I always do when I put on shoes: I sat down on the floor and tied each shoe.

As I was doing it, I became acutely aware that this is how kids put on shoes, not adults. There’s something almost childishly comical about sitting on the ground to do anything. It’s like if I had to lay down to put on my pants because I hadn’t quite perfected balance yet. That’s what it felt like.

I realize there are other ways to put on shoes. Some people simply never untie their shoes–they just slip them on and hope they don’t fall over. Others kneel, which seems like an adult thing to do, but then you’re wavering on one knee after another.

I think what I’m struggling with is that it really seems like the best way to put on a shoe without straining anything or risking old-person injury is to sit on the ground and tie your shoes. But that can’t possibly be it, right? Can it be true that the way I did something when I was 5 is still the best way to do it at 36?

It sounds like a silly, obvious question, but I’m truly interested in how you (a fellow adult) puts on your shoes.

9 Responses to “How Do Adults Put on Shoes?”

  1. Jeff Spenner says:

    Are you going to creepily watch everyone put their shoes on after game nights, now? Keep stats on your whiteboard?

    I either kneel, sit on the ground/floor, put my foot up on a stair/chair/raised surface, or sit on a couch/chair…whatever my knees, balance, and comfort seem to dictate at the time. I also won’t necessarily untie my shoes as I take them off, but I’ll ALWAYS untie them before putting them on. There are few worse feelings than loose shoes.

    I actually tend to go through a complicated decision process whether or not to do the initial untie. If I’m anxious to get them off, and I’m not worried about making a quick exit (either by necessity or by awkward introvert “taking too long to leave” feelings), I’ll untie. If I want to be able to beat a hasty retreat (again, even too avoid feeling like I’m overstaying my welcome or holding up other people), I’ll put the initial effort in and untie them up front.

  2. Nik says:

    Sit on a chair/bench/curb/etc. If there is no chair stand. If it’s complicated I guess I kneel. I don’t think I could do it sitting on the floor. It doesnt seem like you could get your foot into the right position and shoe the correct tightness without your weight on it and it at a right angle to your leg.

  3. Sean says:

    I keep my shoes in just the right tightness to be able to slip them on and off, and then retie them about once a week, usually on a chair. I tried some elastic shoelaces that cinched for a while, but they kept the shoes too tight.

  4. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:


    At home: I sit down on a chair
    At a friend’s house: I kneel down
    At the gym: I lean against the lockers


  5. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Thank you all for sharing your methods! I will continue to try to learn the art of tying shoes like an adult.

  6. Want me to blow your mid? I saw this and it changed… everything.

    Or at least how I tie my shoes 😉

  7. I was about to post the TED talk that @Insideupgames posted. It blew my mind also when I first saw it.

    As for me, I always sit on a chair when I need to tie shoes or boots. The instability of being on one leg is what makes me prefer doing it sitting on a bench of some sorts.

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