All Tied Up Kids Learning To Tie Shoe Laces Later Than Ever, Studies Show

Studies prove today’s children learn to use an iPad earlier than basic skills like tying shoes; trend blamed on busy parents and slip on or Velcro shoes.

Kids Learning To Tie Shoe Laces Later Than Ever, Studies Show

Recent findings have left some parents in knots over their children’s shoe lace tying skills.

According to a recent study, though young kids are masters at using hi-tech gadgets like iPads and video game consoles, they’re not so great at the basic skill of tying shoes. Few master the art before the age of six, with many not learning until they’re nine or 10 years old. The numbers come as a shock, considering 30 years ago, the average kid learned how to tie his or her shoes at the age of four.  

Why Are Today's Kids Delayed In Learning To Tie Their Shoe Laces?

Some worried parents are blaming too much technology and a disconnect with nature as the source of the late shoe tying trend, but Gary Kibble, retail director for, the company that conducted the study, says changes in shoe design and footwear fashions are more likely to blame for kids learning to tie their shoe laces much later in life.

“Today's children now learn how to operate complex technology long before they know how to tie shoe laces. They understand navigation paths and algorithms — yet still don't know how to make a knot,” he concedes, adding: "The enormous popularity of slip on shoes and those with Velcro straps has reduced the necessity to learn how to tie laces and children are now able to get themselves ready just that little bit faster with a simple buckle or fastener.”

Furthermore, Kibble points out, "Many nursery schools now insist upon every child wearing shoes with Velcro straps to save staff time — even when some children already know how to wear tie on shoes."

Retail sales figures seem to back up the exec’s claims. Slip on shoes such as a ballet flats and shoes with Velcro dominate the children’s shoe market up until the age of six. In fact, out of the top selling 100 pairs of girls and boys shoes sized between 10 and 3, only one is a traditional lace up style. 

Busy Parents Also To Blame For Current Shoe Tying Trend

The study goes on to claim that shoes with laces begin to rise in popularity when kids are nine and 10 — an age when they start taking sports seriously and need proper athletic shoes. Therefore, the job of teaching children how to tie their laces often falls on sports coaches and other teachers. 

"Teaching children how to tie their shoelaces used to be a job for mums in the home. She passed on the skill while helping their child to dress,” Kibble adds. “Nowadays, both parents often have to work, and so it quite understandable why few hard pressed mums and dads can spare the time to hold lessons in shoelace tying before dashing to catch a train."

However, Ian Fieggen, an author known as Professor Shoelace, warns parents that delaying their children’s shoe tying skills could be a disastrous mistake. “Parents are able to give their kids Velcro shoes so they can delay these developmental milestones,” he says. “This is actually a problem because it's not just that they can't tie their shoe laces but they no longer have gone through a difficult thing to learn and found that OK, it does sometimes take a lot of work to learn something."

Notice concerning medical entries:

Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information. Such articles are not suitable for any (self-) diagnosis and treatment of individual illnesses and medical indications. In particular, they cannot substitute for the examination, advice, or treatment by a licensed physician or pharmacist. No replies to any individual questions shall be effected through the articles.

Kambra Clifford