How to Repair Shoes or Boots – Shoe Goo or Super Glue?January 2, 2024
Just when your shoes or boots start getting comfortable you notice a split on the side of the sole. Or a heel starts to separate. You can take the culprit into a cobbler for some ‘shoe restoration’ to have the sole repaired or the boot heel glued back or you can do it yourself in a few seconds. There are a couple of options. Shoe Goo and an advanced or commercial grade cyanoacrylate (superglue).
Shoe Goo is the favorite of the skateboarders as it will glue most things together and fill some serious gaps left by the road scraping off parts of the sneakers.
Super Glue and Krazy Glue are cyanoacrylates – that is the chemical base of super glue or Krazy Glue. Advanced or commercial grade super glues have characteristics that make them a better fix than off the shelf super glue.
Both types of products (Shoe Goo and super glue type glues) have their use. Both of these types of glue will last for quite some time so are good to have around as they will not go bad and will be available when you need them. Both will dry flexible.
Shoe Goo can be purchased in hardware stores and some sports shops and certainly online. It is fairly thick and comes in clear, black and white. One can actually use it to rebuild a worn heel on a boot or running shoes. It can be used to re-attach a split in the sole of the shoe or heel but as it is so thick I find a product like a high end super glue (a commercial grade cyanoacylate) more useful.
To rebuild a heel with shoe goo you first of all need to use a bit of sandpaper to roughen up the surface. This gives the glue something to attach to. Once that is done just squeeze some out of the tube and shape it with a small stick. Most packages of Shoe Goo will come with a stick for applying. If you are going to apply in layers to build a bit thicker wait about 5-6 hours between applications. Allow 24 hours before walking on the boot or shoe. It dries shiny but that will wear off once you start walking.
If the sole has separated somewhere you can carefully squeeze in some of the glue then press the two surfaces together. This is not the best glue for this type of application as it can be messy but with care can be done. When you press the two surfaces together some will squeeze out and you can scrape off with a piece of wood or metal to get the edge smooth. Let this set for 24 hours as well. It will be flexible when cured.
How and when to use an Advanced Cyanoacrylate for a ‘Shoe Fix’
If you have a sole or heel starting to separate the Shoe Goo can get messy very easily and if you are trying to repair a pair of dress shoes or very nice boots this may not be the material to use. If you use super glue or Krazy Glue you may run into problems as well because they often get brittle when dry and once you start walking in your shoes or boots they very likely will come apart again.
Commercial grade cyanoacrylates are made from the same base as superglue but without the solvents will dry clear and flexible. They are extremely easy to use and being almost instant you don’t have to wait to wear the shoe or boot.
Some examples of types of situations where you might use this type of super glue: the toe of the sneaker or running shoe starts coming apart; heel of a boot starts to separate or falls off; two layers of leather on dress shoes start to separate.
One of the benefits of this type of product is that it will wick in. This means that if you put a drop at the edge of a crack or joint that is just starting to split, it will go into that space. It will kind of be drawn into it. This means less mess.
So, for a split in a shoe try to hold the shoe or boot so that the split is open as much as possible and so that the glue can run down into it. Place the tip of the spout at the edge and gently squeeze a drop into the gap. If it is fairly lengthy you may need to run the tip of the bottle along the line of the gap while gently squeezing out a bit of glue. Set the bottle aside and press the two surfaces firmly together. This type of glue takes only a few minutes to set. Give it a few more minutes and you can walk in your shoes or boots. Take care as some of the glue may run out as you squeeze the two surfaces together – hold the shoe so that it does not run onto the top or other parts where a stain could show.
This makes for a great emergency fix: You are ready to go to work or the party and you find that the heel of your dress shoe is loose. Take out your commercial grade super glue, apply it and within a few seconds you are good to go.
Both types of glue will be water proof when cured. With these two types of glue and a bit of duct tape you can fix just about anything.