When it comes to the longevity of your footwear, knowing how to repair boot soles can make a big difference. Whether you’re dealing with delaminating soles or pesky cracks, fixing these issues promptly can keep your boots from the landfill and save you money. Below are immediate quick steps for repairing boot soles:

  • Clean the Area: Use a stiff brush and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Apply Adhesive: Evenly spread Aquaseal SR or a similar glue.
  • Secure and Dry: Clamp or tape overnight to let it cure.

Although these are high-level steps, we’ll go into more detail later in this article.

Shoe soles take a lot of wear and tear. From hiking trails to city streets, they protect our feet from harsh surfaces and elements. But what happens when they start to fall apart? Tossing them might seem like the only option, but repairing them can be quick, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

My name is Eric Neuner, founder of NuShoe Inc., where we specialize in quality shoe repair. With over two decades of experience, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t when it comes to how to repair boot soles.

Steps to repair boot soles - how to repair boot soles infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Identifying the Damage

Before diving into how to repair boot soles, it’s crucial to identify the type of damage your boots have. Different issues require different approaches.

Types of Damage

  1. Delamination
  2. What it is: Delamination occurs when the sole separates from the upper part of the boot. This is common in hiking boots and work shoes that see a lot of use.
  3. How to spot it: Look for gaps between the sole and the shoe’s upper part. If you can slide a piece of paper between them, it’s delaminated.

  4. Cracks

  5. What it is: Cracks are splits in the sole material, often caused by wear and tear or exposure to extreme temperatures.
  6. How to spot it: Examine the sole for visible lines or splits. Press on the sole to see if the cracks widen.

  7. Peeling

  8. What it is: Peeling happens when the outer layer of the sole starts to come off, exposing the inner layers.
  9. How to spot it: Check for flaking or peeling edges on the sole. If small pieces come off when you rub it, it’s peeling.

Common Scenarios

Delamination in Hiking Boots

Imagine you’re halfway through a hike, and you notice your boot sole flapping with each step. This classic case of delamination not only makes walking difficult but also increases the risk of tripping.

Cracks in Work Boots

A construction worker might find cracks in their boots after months of heavy use. These cracks can let in water, making the boots uncomfortable and unsafe.

Peeling in Casual Shoes

Even your favorite sneakers can suffer from peeling soles. This usually starts at the edges and can quickly worsen if not addressed.

By accurately identifying the type of damage, you can choose the right repair method and materials. This ensures a longer-lasting fix and keeps your boots in top condition.

damaged boot sole - how to repair boot soles

In the next section, we’ll discuss preparing for repair, including cleaning techniques and necessary materials.

Preparing for Repair

Before you dive into fixing your boots, it’s crucial to prepare them properly. This ensures a strong bond and a lasting repair. Here’s how to get started:


Step 1: Remove Dirt and Debris

Use a stiff brush to scrub away any dirt or debris from the damaged area. This is especially important for delaminating soles, as dirt can interfere with the adhesive’s bond. For stubborn grime, a cleaning cloth or brush works wonders.

Step 2: Wipe with Isopropyl Alcohol

Once the surface is free of loose dirt, it’s time to clean it thoroughly. Dampen a cleaning cloth with isopropyl alcohol (max 70%) and wipe down the area. This helps remove oils and other residues that could prevent the adhesive from sticking properly.

Pro Tip: Make sure the isopropyl alcohol is not too strong, as higher concentrations can damage some materials.

Essential Cleaning Materials

Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need:

  • Stiff brush: For removing loose dirt and debris.
  • Cleaning cloth: For wiping down the surface.
  • Isopropyl alcohol (max 70%): For thorough cleaning and degreasing.

Why Cleaning is Important

Proper cleaning ensures that the adhesive bonds well with the material, leading to a more durable repair. Skipping this step can result in a weak bond, causing the sole to separate again.

Case Study:

“I once tried to fix my hiking boots without cleaning them first. The adhesive didn’t hold, and I had to redo the entire repair,” says Rio Jongsae Kim, a designer shoe and bag repair specialist. “Now, I always make sure the surface is squeaky clean before applying any glue.”

By following these simple cleaning steps, you set the stage for a successful repair. Next, we’ll look at choosing the right adhesive for your specific type of damage.

Choosing the Right Adhesive

When it comes to how to repair boot soles, selecting the right adhesive is crucial for a lasting fix. Different adhesives offer various strengths, flexibility, and drying times. Here are some top choices:

Shoe Glue

Shoe glue is specifically designed for footwear repairs. It’s strong, flexible, and generally waterproof. Brands like Loctite Shoe Glue and E6000 are popular choices.

Loctite Shoe Glue: Known for its quick-drying formula, Loctite provides a strong bond and is perfect for minor fixes. It’s also water-resistant, making it suitable for outdoor use.

E6000: This adhesive is highly flexible and durable. Users often praise it for its strong bond and versatility. One Reddit user said, “I use E6000 to repair whitewater rafts. If it’s good enough for that, it’ll hold a shoe together no problem.”

Shoe Goo

Shoe Goo is a long-standing favorite for many DIY shoe repairs. It’s durable, flexible, and waterproof. One user on Reddit mentioned, “I used Shoe Goo on a pair of hiking boots and it lasted for years!”

Bostik Fix & Glue

Bostik Fix & Glue is another excellent choice for reattaching soles. It offers a strong, long-lasting bond that resists movement and prevents water penetration. Bostik claims, “Our shoe repair glue ensures the sole is reattached with an ultra-strong, long-lasting bond.”

Aquaseal SR

Aquaseal SR is a flexible rubber glue that won’t crack or peel. It’s waterproof and abrasion-resistant, making it ideal for heavy-duty repairs. According to Gear Aid, “Aquaseal SR is perfect for permanently fixing delaminating soles and sealing leaks.”

Comparison Table

Adhesive Strength Flexibility Drying Time Waterproof Best For
Loctite Shoe Glue High Moderate Fast Yes Minor fixes
E6000 Very High High Moderate Yes Versatile, heavy-duty repairs
Shoe Goo Very High High Moderate Yes General shoe repairs
Bostik Fix & Glue Ultra High High Moderate Yes Sole reattachment
Aquaseal SR Very High Very High Slow Yes Heavy-duty, waterproof repairs

Choosing the right adhesive can make or break your repair. Whether you need a quick fix or a permanent solution, there’s a glue that fits your needs. Next, we’ll dive into a step-by-step guide for repairing your boots.

Step-by-Step Repair Guide

Repair Delaminating Soles

Delaminating soles are a common issue, especially for heavily used boots. Here’s how to fix them:

  1. Clean the Surface: Use a stiff brush and isopropyl alcohol to remove dirt and grime.

  2. Apply Aquaseal SR: Spread Aquaseal SR adhesive evenly on the sole for strong adhesion.

  3. Clamp or Tape: Use a clamp or duct tape to hold the sole and upper boot tightly together. This ensures the adhesive bonds effectively.

  4. Drying Time: Let it cure overnight (8-12 hours) for a permanent fix.

Pro Tip: Keep your boots away from heat sources like campfires to prevent the glue from melting and causing delamination again.

Sealing Leaks

Waterproof boots with leaks can be frustrating. Follow these steps to seal them:

  1. Clean Thoroughly: Ensure the repair area is squeaky clean with isopropyl alcohol.

  2. Apply Aquaseal SR: Fill cracks and holes with Aquaseal SR adhesive, making sure to get into every nook and cranny.

  3. Level Surface: Place the boot on a flat surface and allow it to cure for 8-12 hours.

Pro Tip: Use a brush or toothpick to apply Aquaseal SR along seams and stitches for extra waterproofing.

Rebuilding Worn Out Soles and Heels

Worn soles and heels can make walking uncomfortable. Here’s how to rebuild them:

  1. Sand the Surface: Use sandpaper to roughen the area, ensuring better adhesion.

  2. Apply Aquaseal SR: Spread the adhesive evenly on the worn-out area.

  3. Mold and Shape: Use duct tape to mold and hold the adhesive in place, shaping it as needed.

  4. Drying Time: Allow it to cure for 8-12 hours.

Pro Tip: For a smoother finish, you can sand the cured adhesive lightly.

Repairing Rands and Boot Panels

Torn rands and boot panels can be a pain. Here’s how to repair them effectively:

  1. Clean the Tear: Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the torn area.

  2. Apply Aquaseal SR: Spread the adhesive on both sides of the tear.

  3. Tape and Pressure: Use duct tape to hold the torn pieces together. Apply pressure to ensure a tight bond.

  4. Drying Time: Let it cure for 8-12 hours.

Pro Tip: For larger tears, you might need to apply a second layer of adhesive after the first one cures.

By following these steps, you can extend the life of your boots significantly. Next, we’ll discuss how to prevent future damage to keep your boots in top shape.

Preventing Future Damage

Taking proper care of your boots can save you from frequent repairs. Here are some tips to keep your boots in top condition:

Proper Care

  • Regular Cleaning: Make it a habit to clean your boots regularly. Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris. For stubborn stains, a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a cloth can work wonders.
  • Conditioning: Leather boots need conditioning to stay supple. Use a good leather conditioner every few months.
  • Waterproofing: Apply a waterproofing spray or wax to keep your boots water-resistant. This is especially important for leather boots.

Avoiding Heat Sources

Heat can be a boot’s worst enemy. Avoid drying your boots near a fire or heater. High temperatures can cause the leather to become stiff and brittle, leading to cracks and other damage. Instead, let your boots dry naturally at room temperature.

  • Pro Tip: If your boots get wet, remove the insoles and let them dry separately. Stuff the boots with newspaper to help absorb moisture.

Skip Lacing

Skip lacing is a technique that reduces pressure on certain parts of the boot, extending its life.

  • How to Skip Lace:
  • Lace Normally: Start lacing your boots as you normally would.
  • Skip a Hole: When you reach the middle of the boot, skip a pair of eyelets.
  • Continue Lacing: Resume lacing as usual after the skipped eyelets.

This method helps in reducing stress on the boot’s upper part and can prevent tearing and other damage.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your boots in great shape and avoid frequent repairs.

Next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about boot sole repair.

Frequently Asked Questions about Boot Sole Repair

What is the best glue for boot soles?

Choosing the right glue is crucial for a lasting repair. Here are some top options:

  • Shoe Goo: Known for its flexibility and strength, Shoe Goo is a popular choice for many. One Reddit user mentioned, “I used Shoe Goo on a pair of hiking boots and it lasted for years!”

  • E6000: This adhesive is highly flexible and durable. Another Reddit user shared, “I use E6000 to repair whitewater rafts, if it’s good enough for that it’ll hold a shoe together no problem.”

  • Aquaseal SR: This is a waterproof, clear, and abrasion-resistant adhesive. Gear Aid recommends it for delaminating soles and sealing leaks.

  • Bostik Fix & Glue: Ideal for shoe sole repairs, this glue provides an ultra-strong, long-lasting bond. Bostik claims it resists movement and prevents water penetration.

Can rubber soled boots be repaired?

Absolutely! Rubber-soled boots can be repaired using the right adhesive and techniques.

  • Delaminating Soles: Use a stiff brush to clean the surface and apply Aquaseal SR evenly. Clamp or tape the sole and upper boot tightly together overnight.

  • Cracks and Holes: Clean the area with isopropyl alcohol and fill the cracks with Aquaseal SR. Allow it to cure for 8-12 hours.

  • Worn Heels: Sand the area to create a rough surface, then apply the adhesive. Use duct tape to hold the parts together until the glue sets.

How do you fix cracked soles on boots?

Fixing cracked soles involves a few simple steps:

  1. Clean the Area: Use isopropyl alcohol and a cloth to clean the cracked area thoroughly.

  2. Apply Adhesive: Fill the cracks with a flexible adhesive like Aquaseal SR or Shoe Goo. Make sure to get the glue into every nook and cranny.

  3. Secure and Cure: Place the boot on a level surface and allow the adhesive to cure for 8-12 hours. For better results, you can use clamps or heavy weights to keep the sole in place.

  4. Smooth the Surface: After curing, use sandpaper to smooth out any excess glue and ensure a clean finish.

By following these steps, you’ll extend the life of your boots and keep them in good condition.

Next, we’ll dive into the conclusion where we discuss DIY versus professional repair and how NuShoe can help.


When it comes to repairing boot soles, you have two main options: DIY or professional repair.

DIY Repair

Doing it yourself can be rewarding and cost-effective. With the right tools and materials, you can fix many common issues like delaminating soles, leaks, and worn-out heels. Products like Aquaseal SR and Shoe Goo are excellent for these tasks, providing strong, flexible, and waterproof bonds.

However, DIY repairs require time and a bit of skill. Missteps can lead to incomplete fixes or further damage. For example, using the wrong adhesive or not allowing enough curing time can result in a failed repair.

Professional Repair

On the other hand, professional repair services like NuShoe offer expertise and high-quality materials that can extend the life of your favorite boots. Professionals have the right tools and experience to tackle even the most challenging repairs, ensuring a durable and aesthetically pleasing result.

According to a NuShoe article, professional repairs are not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly. They help reduce waste by keeping non-biodegradable materials out of landfills.

Why Choose NuShoe?

NuShoe has been a trusted name in shoe repair since 1994, having repaired over 5 million pairs of footwear. They offer various boot repair services tailored to different needs, from work boots to luxury leather shoes. You can even order their services online, making it convenient to get your boots fixed without leaving your home.

For those who value their footwear and want to ensure they get the best care possible, opting for professional repair services like NuShoe is a wise investment.

Ready to give your boots a new lease on life? Check out our boot repair services at NuShoe and let our experts handle the rest.