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Old 03-03-2015, 02:31 PM
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Sole repair: best approach?

I have a pair of everyday work boots that are similar in most ways to Doc Martens, but are made by a different manufacturer. In particular, the soles are the same kind of hard rubber that you see on Docs; and in fact when I emailed the manufacturer they recommended re-soling with Doc Marten soles.

Anyway. Normally these are very durable; I've had two pair with the same sole last 7 years and 6 years, respectively. I got unlucky this time around, and after a year and a half the left sole is cracked, and the shoe leaks. I brought the boots to a shoe repair shop and he wanted $70-80 to re-sole them, which is half the cost of the boots brand-new.

So, can I fix them? I've done some googling and have found a product called Shoe Goo. Gorilla Glue also comes up as recommended for shoe repair, and sometimes epoxy glue. Since I can't afford to spend $40 trying out five different kinds of glue, what would work best? The tricky part is that the crack is right on the ball of the foot, where the sole does most of its bending, of course. The glue would be under constant stress, and I do wear these basically every day, so it would need to be able to perform under those conditions.

I realize it's not going to be a good-as-new repair, but I'd like to extend their life for another few months / year or two until I can afford to drop big bucks on either a re-soling or new boots. Any ideas?
Old 03-03-2015, 03:23 PM
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At $150, if they only last five years, that's $30 a year. I suggest that you buy a new pair and put aside the 2.50 a month so you have the cash to replace them in time.
Old 03-03-2015, 03:29 PM
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You said that this pair of shoes cracked after only eighteen months but two previous pairs of the same shoes lasted years. I'd recommend writing or calling the manufacturer and telling them this. They may replace or repair the shoes at their expense (because you've been a loyal customer or because a failure that quickly indicates a manufacturing defect).

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 03-03-2015 at 03:30 PM.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:02 PM
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To actually answer the damn question - Shoe Goo is better as it is flexible. Make sure the surfaces are clean.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:31 PM
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Former cobbler checking in:

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND LITTLE BUNNIES DO NOT USE GORILLA GLUE FOR SHOE REPAIR!!!!!

If you use Gorilla Glue for shoe repair I will be forced to HUNT YOU DOWN and perform Terrible and Unnatural Acts upon you with a shoe last. DON'T MAKE ME DO THAT!!!

USE THE SHOE GOO.

Here is what you do:

Allow the sole to dry THOROUGHLY. You want NO WATER on it or in it. This also means no sweat

Clean all surfaces with either isopropyl alcohol or acetone.

Allow everything to dry (again). Fortunately, neither alcohol nor acetone takes long to dry.

Slightly rough up all edges with sandpaper. Just a little, don't go crazy.

Apply shoe goo and straighten sole. If you applied enough some will goosh out. Clean it up a bit/smooth down/level with rest of sole.

Apply tape from toe to heel to hold everything in place, or somehow hold everything together. NOTE: be careful what sort of tape you use, you don't want excess gummy stuff left behind. Wide masking or pain tape is good IF it will stick to the boot.

WAIT 48 HOURS. I know the package probably says 24 or something like that, but the extra day is a good thing. Low ambient temps or humidity can/will delay setting time.

If necessary, apply a second layer of Shoe Goo, but allow 48 hours for curing again.

If the repair does not hold the boots are done.

If the repair holds but the sole cracks across again in another place it's probably not worth attempting to repair again.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
At $150, if they only last five years, that's $30 a year. I suggest that you buy a new pair and put aside the 2.50 a month so you have the cash to replace them in time.
Great, you buyin? (Since I did mention not having the big bucks to drop on a new pair.) And yes, I've been a return customer all these years because it works out to $30 a year, however having just spent that $170, I don't have it to spend again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
You said that this pair of shoes cracked after only eighteen months but two previous pairs of the same shoes lasted years. I'd recommend writing or calling the manufacturer and telling them this. They may replace or repair the shoes at their expense (because you've been a loyal customer or because a failure that quickly indicates a manufacturing defect).
Did that. They were the ones who recommended Doc Martens soles for the re-soling, and said they figured it would cost me $30. (Ha!) But they will not replace them. Apparently their time limit is 16 months and/or they make no guarantees about the longevity of their product. Oh well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
To actually answer the damn question - Shoe Goo is better as it is flexible. Make sure the surfaces are clean.
Thank you. Fingers crossed. I have already tried Goop but after curing for 2 days it didn't last me walking down the block. (In wet snow, granted, but I do kinda need it to perform in wet snow too.)

Last edited by Kaio; 03-03-2015 at 04:37 PM.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
...

Clean all surfaces with either isopropyl alcohol or acetone.

Allow everything to dry (again). Fortunately, neither alcohol nor acetone takes long to dry.

Slightly rough up all edges with sandpaper. Just a little, don't go crazy.

...
roughen first, then clean.

the roughening might leave material debris that you want gone before adhesive.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:51 PM
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@Broomstick & johnpost, thanks, that's helpful. Now I need to FIND Shoe Goo.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:52 PM
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Good point, although if it really is hard rubber Doc Marten type sole it shouldn't leave debris. You just want a couple swipes of the sandpaper to help the goo grip.

The main reason for cleaning is to remove oil or grease, Shoe Goo can handle a little dust, it's the grease and moisture that will prevent adhesion. But yeah, clean is good.

Last edited by Broomstick; 03-03-2015 at 04:53 PM.
Old 03-03-2015, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Now I need to FIND Shoe Goo.
Amazon.
Old 03-03-2015, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Did that. They were the ones who recommended Doc Martens soles for the re-soling, and said they figured it would cost me $30.
$30 is approximately the cost of the replacement pair of soles to a small cobbler shop, that price does not include labor. The labor involved is removing the old sole, cleaning/repairing as needed the exposed insole and upper, prepping surfaces for the new sole, applying the new sole (which may involve glue, stitching, and/or nails), and trimming the rubber sole to size. That can take one to several hours.

$70-80 for new boot soles is the going rate. If you are quoted something substantially lower I'd be suspicious of either cut corners or something hinky going on.


Oh, and for WHY you don't use Gorilla Glue: that shit expands as it cures. If you try to use it to repair a crack it will actually expand and force the edges further apart. It makes things WORSE, not better. Nor is it flexible, which a sole needs to be.

Gorilla Glue is nearly impossible to remove. Basically, we have to grind that shit off. It takes freakin' forever, can tear up the grinding belts, and it's a pain in the ass. Sometimes, we just flat out refused to work on shoes with Gorilla Glue "repairs". Please do NOT use Gorilla Glue to fix your shoes. Tell your friends. I'd really like to throttle whoever put the notion that was a good idea on the internet.
Old 03-03-2015, 05:22 PM
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I thought I would have something to add here, but it looks like Broomstick covered it all. I do a lot of hiking which means I am constantly repairing shoes and boots. What I learned is that despite what some people say, Gorilla Glue is unsuited for shoe repair for the reasons Broomstick notes. Shoe Goo (which you can find at Wal-Mart in addition to Amazon) is the way to go. That said, if you have a crack at the ball area of the sole, that is a hard area to repair.

Last edited by JKilez; 03-03-2015 at 05:25 PM.
Old 03-03-2015, 06:38 PM
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Found Shoe Goo at CVS, thanks guys. Will have to see about washing my soles tonight.
Old 03-03-2015, 10:04 PM
rsa rsa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Sole repair: best approach?
SPOILER:
Lots of prayer?


Old 03-03-2015, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsa View Post
SPOILER:
Lots of prayer?


Uh, do you mean
SPOILER:
Lots of prare?
Old 03-04-2015, 02:30 AM
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Thanks, man. Already spent some time cleaning and purifying my sole.
Old 03-04-2015, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Thanks, man. Already spent some time cleaning and purifying my sole.
Sole is best when cleaned, yes, then baked in a 350 oven with panko and lemon.

;-)

Last edited by DrDeth; 03-04-2015 at 12:20 PM.
Old 03-04-2015, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Former cobbler checking in:

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND LITTLE BUNNIES DO NOT USE GORILLA GLUE FOR SHOE REPAIR!!!!!
This is the type post I talk about extolling this board. We have doctors, lawyers, airline pilots... hobbyists of all manners. I'm a machinist myself but a cobbler chiming in. Where else?
Old 03-05-2015, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
At $150, if they only last five years, that's $30 a year. I suggest that you buy a new pair and put aside the 2.50 a month so you have the cash to replace them in time.
I'd suggest that the OP go to law school or med school. Said OP can then afford several pair an hour.
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