Similar to macroscopic ropes and cables, long polymers create knots. We address the fundamental question whether and under which conditions it is possible to describe these intriguing objects with crude models that capture only mesoscale polymer properties. We focus on melts of long polymers which we describe by a model typical for mesoscopic simulations. A worm-like chain model defines the polymer architecture. To describe nonbonded interactions, we deliberately choose a generic “soft” repulsive potential that leads to strongly overlapping monomers and coarse local liquid structure. The soft model is parametrized to accurately reproduce mesoscopic structure and conformations of reference polymer melts described by a microscopic model. The microscopically resolved samples retain all generic features affecting polymer topology and provide, therefore, reliable reference data on knots. We compare characteristic knotting properties in mesoscopic and microscopically resolved melts for different cases of chain stiffness. We conclude that mesoscopic models can reliably describe knots in those melts, where the length scale characterizing polymer stiffness is substantially larger than the size of monomer–monomer excluded volume. In this case, simplified local liquid structure influences knotting properties only marginally. In contrast, mesoscopic models perform poorly in melts with flexible chains. We qualitatively explain our findings through a free energy model of simple knots available in the literature.