How to repair boot heel is a common question many shoe enthusiasts and hardworking professionals ask. Here’s a quick, simplified answer to get you started:

  1. Clean the damaged area with isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Sand the heel gently to roughen the surface.
  3. Apply shoe adhesive like Aquaseal SR.
  4. Clamp or tape the heel in place overnight to cure.

Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping your boots in top shape. It extends their lifespan, saves you money, and reduces waste. Damaged heels can cause discomfort and even affect your posture. Learning how to repair them can bring your favorite pair back to life and keep you walking comfortably.

I am Eric Neuner, founder of NuShoe Inc., America’s finest shoe repair. I started the company in 1994 by purchasing cobbler shops in southern California and have since expanded our services nationwide. Our mission is simple: to provide the highest quality craftsmanship and best customer service possible.

Step-by-Step Guide to Boot Heel Repair - how to repair boot heel infographic infographic-line-5-steps

Understanding Boot Heel Damage

Boot heel damage can take many forms. Knowing the type of damage helps you understand how to repair it effectively.

Types of Heel Damage

Worn Heels: This is the most common type of damage. Over time, the rubber or leather on the heel wears down, making the boots uneven and uncomfortable to walk in.

Cracked Heels: Cracks can develop due to exposure to harsh weather or chemicals. These can let water in, damaging the interior of the boot.

Detached Heels: Sometimes, the heel can partially or completely detach from the boot. This often happens with heavy use or poor-quality glue.

Holes in Heels: Some heels, especially those with a hollow interior, can develop holes. This not only affects comfort but also the boot’s structural integrity.

Common Causes

Frequent Use: Boots that are worn daily, especially for heavy-duty tasks, are more likely to experience heel damage.

Poor Maintenance: Lack of regular cleaning and conditioning can lead to quicker wear and tear.

Improper Storage: Storing boots in damp or overly dry conditions can cause the materials to deteriorate.

Environmental Factors: Walking on rough terrains or exposure to extreme weather can accelerate heel damage.

Low-Quality Materials: Cheaper boots often use lower-quality materials that wear out faster.

Real-Life Example

Consider the case of a person who found a pair of cowboy-style boots in a trash pile. After drying them out, they discovered the heels were 95% separated from the shoe. They turned to NuShoe Inc. for advice, and the consensus was clear: taking them to a professional for repair would be the best solution.

Expert Tip

Eric Neuner from NuShoe Inc. emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance. “Frequent cleaning and conditioning can extend the life of your boots significantly,” he says.

Understanding these types of heel damage and their causes can help you take better care of your boots and know when it’s time to repair them.

Preparing for Heel Repair

Tools and Materials

Before diving into how to repair boot heels, gather the right tools and materials. Proper preparation ensures a smoother repair process and better results.


Start by cleaning the damaged area. Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris. For a thorough clean, wipe the area with isopropyl alcohol (up to 70%). This step ensures that the glue will adhere properly.


Next, sand the heel to create a rough surface for the glue to adhere to. Use 150-grit sandpaper. Sanding removes old glue and smooths out any fuzzy bits.


Measure the leather you’ll need to wrap around the heel. Use a piece of string to determine the length. Mark the string length on the leather wrap and cut accordingly.


Choose a flexible, waterproof adhesive like Aquaseal SR Shoe Repair Adhesive. It’s durable and won’t crack over time. Apply the glue liberally to ensure a strong bond.

Mink Oil

After dyeing the leather wrap, apply mink oil to the entire boot. This oil soaks into the leather, waterproofing and protecting it, while giving it a soft shine.

Leather Wrap

You’ll need stacked leather wrap for the heel. Stain it to match your boots. Two coats usually give an even color.


For sanding the heel and removing old glue, 150-grit sandpaper works well. It creates a rough surface that helps the new glue adhere better.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Clean the surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove any oils or residues. This step is crucial for ensuring that the glue sticks properly.

With these tools and materials ready, you’re set to move on to the actual repair steps. The next section will guide you through removing the old wrap and preparing the heel for its new leather covering.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Repair Boot Heel

Repairing the Back of the Heel

Removing Old Wrap

First, remove the old leather wrap from the heel. This can be done by peeling off as much as possible by hand. For stubborn sections, use a knife to carefully pick away the remaining material. Once all the old wrap is removed, sand the heel using 150-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface for better glue adhesion.

Measuring Leather

Use a piece of string to measure around the heel. This will help you determine how much leather you need. Cut a strip of leather to the measured length.


Apply dye to the leather strip. Two light coats are better than one heavy coat. This ensures an even color without weakening the glue bonds.

Applying Glue

Liberally apply glue to the center of the heel. Start attaching the leather at the back of the heel, pulling and stretching it around the sides. Avoid tearing the leather. If needed, add more glue. Hold the leather in place for a couple of minutes to ensure a firm bond. Then, clamp it with a spring clamp and let it dry for about an hour.

Cutting Leather

Once dry, roughly cut the excess leather, leaving about a 1/4″ margin around the heel. Make your cuts by pushing the knife towards the heel to avoid pulling off the wrap. For the final cuts, use a knife to make clean, straight cuts along the sides and bottom of the heel.

Fixing the Interior Piece

Making a Pattern

Create a pattern for the interior piece using cardboard. Cut two pieces of leather using this pattern, ensuring it fits both shoes.


Dye the leather pieces and let them dry. While drying, apply mink oil to the rough spots on your boots, avoiding the areas where you will glue.


Once the dyed pieces are dry, apply glue to the flat interior surfaces of the heel and attach the leather pieces. Let the glue harden.


Trim the leather pieces using the same technique as before. If you have a long, sharp knife, you can make one continuous cut for a cleaner look.

Sealing and Finishing Touches

Mink Oil Application

Liberally apply mink oil to the new leather wrap. This helps to waterproof and protect the leather. Continue spreading mink oil over the entire shoe as needed.

Dyeing Cut Edges

Finally, dye the cut edges of the leather to match the rest of the heel. Let it dry completely.

By following these detailed steps, you can successfully repair and revive your boot heels, extending their life and maintaining their appearance.

Alternative Quick Fixes and Tips

Not every boot heel repair requires a full overhaul. Sometimes, you need a quick fix to get you through the day. Here are some effective, easy-to-apply solutions:

Hot Glue

Hot glue can be a lifesaver for temporary fixes. If your heel is starting to separate, a small amount of hot glue can hold it together until you can do a more permanent repair. Apply the glue along the edge where the heel meets the boot and press firmly.

Shoe Goo

Shoe Goo is another popular option for quick fixes. It’s a strong adhesive that can fill gaps and cracks. Simply apply a bead along the damaged area, press it together, and let it cure. One user shared that their repair held up for three years!

Edge Dressing

Edge dressing can help improve the appearance of a worn heel. It’s a liquid product that you can apply to the edges of your heels to restore their color and shine. This is a great way to make your boots look presentable in a pinch.

Sugru for Interior Wear

Sugru is a moldable glue that can be used for interior wear. If the inside of your heel is hollow or worn out, you can mold Sugru to fill the gaps. It’s flexible and durable, making it perfect for interior repairs.

When to Seek Professional Help

Warranty Repairs

If your boots are still under warranty, check with the manufacturer first. Many brands offer free or discounted repairs. For instance, brands like Ariat and UGG have specific renewal programs to keep your boots in top shape.


For more extensive repairs, visiting a cobbler is a good option. Cobblers have the tools and expertise to handle complex repairs that DIY methods can’t fix. They can also replace heels, soles, and even refinish the leather to make your boots look like new.

NuShoe’s Expertise

NuShoe offers specialized repair services for various boot brands and styles. With over 5 million pairs repaired, their craftsmen have the experience to handle any repair job. You can even order shoe renewal and repair online, making it convenient to keep your favorite boots in great condition.

By knowing when to apply a quick fix and when to seek professional help, you can ensure your boots last as long as possible. This balance can save you money and keep your boots in top shape for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Boot Heel Repair

Can walking boot heels be repaired?

Yes, walking boot heels can definitely be repaired. Whether it’s a minor scuff or a major separation, most heel damages are fixable. For simple issues like worn-down heel caps, a cobbler can replace them for less than $50. For more severe problems, such as delaminating soles or cracked heels, using a flexible adhesive like Aquaseal SR can do wonders.

Pro Tip: Regular maintenance, like applying mink oil and keeping the boots dry, can prevent serious damage.

How do you fix a hole in the heel of your boot?

Fixing a hole in the heel of your boot is simpler than you might think. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Clean the Area: Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the damaged area thoroughly.
  2. Apply Adhesive: Use Aquaseal SR or a similar flexible adhesive. Fill the hole completely, ensuring it reaches every nook and cranny.
  3. Cure Time: Let the adhesive cure for 8-12 hours in a level area.

Pro Tip: If the hole is extensive, consider reinforcing the area with a patch of leather or rubber before applying the adhesive.

Is it cheaper to repair or replace boots?

In most cases, repairing boots is cheaper than replacing them. For example, replacing a heel cap can cost around $15-$50, whereas a new pair of quality boots can run you hundreds. Moreover, repairing extends the life of your boots, making it a more sustainable choice.

Case Study: According to a Reddit user who had their heels replaced for about $15 per pair, they extended the life of their boots almost threefold. Another user recommended using PL Premium polyurethane construction adhesive, which costs just $3.99 and can fix multiple pairs of boots.

By investing in quality repairs, you not only save money but also contribute to less waste.

Now that you have answers to the most common questions about how to repair boot heel, you can confidently tackle your next repair project.


Repairing your boot heels doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Let’s recap the steps:

  1. Clean and sand the damaged area.
  2. Measure and cut the leather wrap.
  3. Dye and glue the leather.
  4. Clamp the leather securely.
  5. Trim and finish with mink oil.

Regular maintenance is essential. It extends the life of your boots and keeps them looking new. Regularly clean, condition, and inspect your boots to catch any issues early. This can save you from more extensive repairs down the line.

If you’re unsure or need professional help, don’t hesitate to reach out to NuShoe. Our expert craftsmen have repaired over 5,000,000 pairs of shoes since 1994. We offer a variety of renewal services to keep your footwear in top condition.

By maintaining and repairing your boots, you not only save money but also contribute to a more sustainable future. Keep walking with confidence, knowing your boots are well taken care of!