Author Topic: DIY sole or heel repair?  (Read 829 times)

Kev06

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DIY sole or heel repair?
« on: 19:28:11, 11/03/21 »
I've an old pair of boots that are still serviceable but by this stage probably don't justify the cost of another professional re-sole, especially as they'd likely need a new mid-sole this time too.

But rather than just say goodbye to them, I'm wondering about attempting some kind of DIY sole and/or heel repair. ONLY to use on local walks (where failure wouldn't be dangerous), to spare my better boots from being worn unnecessarily. Glueing on another (probably cheap) sole or even just building up the heel again with rubber, or something like that.

Has anyone had a go at this kind of thing before? I'm pretty handy and have various suitable tools, but suspect it would be pointless if (e.g.) it needs unobtainable adhesive etc to make a decently robust job of it.
Thanks, Kev

gunwharfman

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #1 on: 13:01:17, 12/03/21 »
I used to do this because my heels and the outer length of my boots used to wear to the point where it became uncomfortable to walk. At that time we had a Timpsons type elderly man, who had a small shop in Southsea. He did my heels for me more than once.

In the end, I found out by trial and error how to stop the problem from happening in the first place. On the offending side of each boot I fitted an angled length of an old trainer insert and then placed my normal inserts over them. I don't have the problem now, my boots now wear evenly. When I buy new boots I just have to remember to buy 7.5's or 8' instead of my normal 7s.

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #2 on: 13:26:34, 12/03/21 »
Thanks, thats good to know. So it can certainly be done then, which is encouraging. I shall have a look at what adhesive might be best and how much it costs.

The type of wear you're describing seems likely to be due to the level of pronation involved, I think you can even get commercially made versions of the  insert you made for yourself so definitely sounds like you've sorted it.

My own wear pattern is pretty even across the sole, but I scuff the outside-back of the heel down somewhat prematurely - I believe due to how my heel just initially meets the ground. I reckon if I can build that part up and avoid wearing into the mid-sole there, then it would be sufficient to let me wear the sole pretty much bald everywhere else, so might be worth a go then.

Thanks again,
Kev

gunwharfman

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #3 on: 14:27:02, 12/03/21 »
In the 'olden days,' my Dad used to bang in steel studs to the rear of his heels, by the time my boots needed doing they had changed to hard plastic-type material. I presume such things are still available?

As an aside, when I worked in a large psychiatric hospital years ago, I worked with a member of staff who always steel studs fitted to the heels of his shoes. As he walked across the Marley tiled floors of the wards you could hear the tap, tap, tap from his shoes a 'mile off!' One day he was attacked by a very paranoid patient, who got it into his head that the member of staff was a member of the Military and was going to arrest or kill him. So many little things like that could easily work against us, we had to be so careful. The staff member stopped wearing shoes with metal studs soon after.

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #4 on: 14:55:19, 12/03/21 »
Ah that is an interesting idea, thanks. It certainly works with leather soles, but for some reason I'd not thought about it for rubber. Given the difficulty in getting thorns out (sooo much hedge cutting has happened this year!) I'd bet nails would stay in fine, or if not then screws might.

Though it sounds best to steer clear of psychiatric institutions afterwards, lets hope the future doesn't have that in store for me!

Probably wouldn't be the smartest of repairs, but objectively the boots aren't worth spending much on by this stage so it would be quite in keeping. Or I suppose I could flog them for cheap work boots and invest the funds in the next pair, though they don't look very saleable by this stage!
Cheers,
Kev

Peak

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #5 on: 03:27:46, 13/03/21 »
Have you thought of trying ShooGoo?, I've used it a few times to repair soles & heels on footwear that's just for local walks. I usually get mine from a skateboarders shop, they tend to wear soles out quickly, around 6.

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #6 on: 09:33:16, 13/03/21 »
No I've not tried that before, so thanks for the info! It does seem like there might be various things to try then. :)

Last night I decided to have a go, and so ordered a cheap bit of rubber sheet and some 'klebfest' glue, which doesn't look as good as shoo-goo but is reasonably popular for shoe repairs. TBH I'm not expecting very much from this combo, but think it might be interesting to test. If it works out then it could be re-done with better materials and/or combined with things like the nails suggested earlier. 

This particular pair of boots isn't very valuable, and the soles would have some life left even if I did nothing. But I'm getting through about two soles a year so if they can be cheaply kept going for a bit longer it could be useful in the long run.

I did wonder about attempting a more proper re-sole. But I'm not at all a skilled cobbler, so not sure I'd ever trust the results for serious use, and vibram soles of the right type also seem hard to get too (in small numbers), so that idea has been shelved for now.

jimbob

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #7 on: 12:07:29, 13/03/21 »
Ah how we miss Woolworths, they sold soles and heels for all sports of shoes and boots, and the glue to go with them or if you wanted, segs... However if you live near a Boyes stire they sell a lesser range, but do have the glue.Also ebay sell soles, heels and glue for home boot repair.May sound silly but have you tried Timpsons?
Too little, too late, too bad......

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #8 on: 13:13:03, 13/03/21 »
I miss woolies too.. used to get quite a bit of stuff from them. But yes some of the ones on ebay look quite potential thanks, so if the rubber patch stays on reliably then it could be worth buying a proper heel in future.

I haven't yet tried Timpsons, but that kind of thing could certainly be worthwhile for some of my other boots (which are in better shape) when they next wear down. As I'm currently using nearly-new boots, the cost of a truly professional/original replacement sole doesn't really offer any financial saving over replacing the whole thing. But obviously they're broken in quite well by then, so a more generic cheaper replacement service might be just the ticket - especially if local to avoid 2-way postage costs. They could always be retired to walks in safer locations, if not to original standards.

I'm feeling a bit cheap as this thread goes on, the cost of two or three soles/boots a year isn't too bad considering how many miles they'll cover. But even were I richer, I don't like to waste otherwise perfectly good boots and I suppose I get a bit sentimental about them too, so a sensible way to extend their life a bit does seem worthwhile.

Peak

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #9 on: 13:30:01, 13/03/21 »
If you can find a independent cobbler I would ask about repairs before going to Timsons,  I've found them to be expensive on most things from shoe repairs and key cutting to watch battery replacement. I'm lucky to have a great local cobbler very close to home.

shortwalker

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #10 on: 13:52:29, 13/03/21 »
If you can find a independent cobbler I would ask about repairs before going to Timsons,  I've found them to be expensive on most things from shoe repairs and key cutting to watch battery replacement. I'm lucky to have a great local cobbler very close to home.


I agree I would look for an independent cobbler. (I am even luckier, in that my local cobbler lives 2 doors away from me, so just drop things off at the house.)
Let your soul and spirit fly Into the mystic.

Van Morrison

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #11 on: 14:10:23, 13/03/21 »
Sounds like a good idea, thanks!

Hopefully all the shielding business will be over by the time my next pair of soles wears down, so I'll be able to wander into town with the boots to see what they think.

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #12 on: 17:58:56, 20/03/21 »
Well, I had a go and it hasn't gone too badly. But it'll depend on how well it lasts as to whether it is a success or not. I've done this before the heel rubber is excessively worn, as once it gets too thin it can often give way even before it has worn fully through.

Firstly I trimmed and ground down the worst worn of the heel grips to make a mostly flat surface, then cut a rubber patch and glued it on with Klebfest contact adhesive (apply to both sides, allow to go tacky and stick together):

The heel at the very back of the other boot had worn somewhat thinner though, leaving a curve; I'd hoped the glue would hold the patch to this curve, but after about a day it gave way of its own accord and the patch sprang back to being flat, which perhaps isn't too encouraging for the bond strength. So I got some shoe-goo and, after cleaning out the gap, filled it.

The shoe goo is very sticky stuff and some people even use it directly to build up the heel; I shall possibly have a go with that in future as an alternative to using a rubber patch. But the goo is reasonably expensive and apparently doesn't keep too well once the tubes are open either, so rubber patches would probably still be cheaper 'if' this works. Next time though, I would build up the curved bit at the back with a separate bit of rubber, to make a completely flat surface before sticking on the patch.

So I'll be testing it over the coming weeks, when doing local walks where failure wouldn't be too awkward. Fingers crossed!
« Last Edit: 18:17:30, 20/03/21 by Kev06 »

Ridge

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #13 on: 18:54:12, 20/03/21 »
If you can find a independent cobbler I would ask about repairs before going to Timsons,  I've found them to be expensive on most things from shoe repairs and key cutting to watch battery replacement. I'm lucky to have a great local cobbler very close to home.
I agree. Some Timpsons have good people but, on the whole, they are not great. Where in the world are you, we may be able to recommend a good cobblers.
For glue use Evostick but it is tricky in tight spaces as you have to coat both surfaces and leave them to air dry before sticking them together.

Kev06

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Re: DIY sole or heel repair?
« Reply #14 on: 19:48:18, 20/03/21 »
There are local and independent cobblers, certainly. I shall probably visit some to ask about doing proper resoles at some point, after these strange times subside.

But I'm curious to have a go and see to what degree DIY can be useful. Just to extend the time between visits to the cobblers or (as in this case) extend the life of boots that aren't worth spending proper money on. For example, these would have another few hundred miles in them, but the heels will go first so bolstering those could make it several hundred, instead. I may well also try the equivalents to hobnails, mentioned earlier, as well.

The klebfest I used is very like evostick's impact adhesive, though supposedly a bit better for the job, so in effect that is what I'm testing. But neither appear to be as tenacious as the shoe-goo, which also has a lot more substance to itself - once set it is a little like rubber in its own right. Not something I've tried before though, so it'll be interesting to see if it is useful.