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How to Repair Shoe Soles


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You might be surprised to learn that Americans are spending over $300 each year on new footwear. But fortunately, it’s possible to keep costs down if you take care of your shoes. If your shoes have an issue with their soles, you can try some simple tricks to remedy the problem.

Curious to learn more? Read on to learn how to repair shoe soles!

Examine the Extent of the Damage

Your approach to repairing shoe soles may depend on the level of damage. You might have trampled across a construction area and scuffed the bottoms of your shoes, for instance. For smaller abrasions or broken areas that result from this activity, you can do some light patchwork.

Or after wearing your shoes for a few months, you might notice that the shoe sole is separating from the base of the shoe. This, too, can be a relatively simple fix involving some adhesive.

Shoe sole repair can get more complicated when you have significant gouges in the bottom of your shoe. Remember that it’s always better to invest the effort in a repair than it is to wear uneven shoes and deal with foot problems. Examine your shoes to see which approach below makes the most sense!

Start by Cleaning the Shoe Soles

As with any project, you should start by cleaning the area where you’ll be doing the work. Your shoes are your first point of contact with the world, so they pick up lots of dirt, oil, and grime. This kind of debris can work against you when you’re trying to apply an adhesive and ensure good contact.

Use a damp towel for the initial cleaning. Try to remove as much grime as possible. If you use mild dish soap or a chemical cleaner, too, apply plain water again afterward.

You’ll want to use fine-grit sandpaper, too, to smooth out any roughness. If you’re planning to remove the entire sole, you can skip this step. But if you’re doing light repair work, it’s important to create a smoother surface!

Finally, use a tack cloth to remove the grit from the sandpaper. If necessary, clean the area with a damp cloth again. And most importantly, let the area dry thoroughly for a few hours before moving on to the next steps.

Apply a Shoe Sole Filler or Adhesive

When you repair shoe soles, you can use a filler or adhesive on most smaller jobs. And there are two scenarios that you’ll likely encounter if you have a smaller job.

In the first scenario, your shoe sole may have detached from the rest of the shoe due to moisture or age. In this case, after cleaning, you’ll want to apply a designated shoe glue. You can find these online or at big box or hardware stores.

Put some beads of glue around the perimeter of the sole. Don’t overdo it or you might see glue seeping out around the edges. Then compress the shoe and heel together.

You can hold the two pieces together to create a bond. But for a stronger bond, consider clamping your shoe to a table. Be aware, though, that the clamp could create a depression on your shoe, so exercise caution with leather.

In the second scenario, you might need to use shoe filler to fill in a chunk of your sole that is missing. As with shoe adhesive, you should plan on using a designated shoe sole filler. Fill in the missing area, being sure to create as smooth and clean of an edge as possible.

After filling in the missing portion, let the area dry. Then you’ll want to reach for the fine-grit sandpaper again. Use it to sand away the filler to create a seamless transition from the filler to the rest of the shoe sole.

Consider Removing the Entire Sole

No shoe sole repair guide is complete without going over the most extreme option: replacing the entire sole. For soles that are starting to disintegrate, this is a critical step. A bad shoe sole can become a tripping hazard and it won’t provide much support as you move.

To replace the entire sole, you’ll use pliers to remove the existing sole. Then remove the original glue marks with nail polish remover or acetone to create a smoother surface. Next, apply sandpaper to create a more uniform textured surface.

Your next step is to paint on a generous amount of shoe glue. And, of course, you’ll want to have your new shoe sole ready to apply before you hit this point in the process! Carefully put the new sole in its place, and consider putting rubber bands around the shoe to hold everything together and ensure good contact.

At a certain point, you may want to invest in a new pair of shoes if your current kicks are failing. Learn more here about sporty and comfortable shoes that can become your favorite replacement.

You won’t need to worry about sanding or gluing for a long time. And you will come out ahead versus paying $100 to get your shoes resoled.

Learn How to Repair Shoe Soles

When you know how to repair shoe soles, you can breathe new life into your favorite footwear. Start by assessing the level of damage to the shoe soles. Then determine whether you’ll need to apply adhesive or install a new sole altogether.

Find more tips to stay on your feet. Check back soon for new and informative articles!

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