Almost everyone has a favorite pair of shoes that they like to wear, either because they’re the most comfortable or the most stylish. Unfortunately, the more you wear a pair of shoes the more you wear them out. The majority of damage done to a shoe is at the sole, which is the portion of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground. The worn sole can start to peel, rip or come apart from the rest of shoe. There is a way to fix the damage on the sole of your shoe and salvage the pair.
Repairing a Peeling or Damaged Sole
Cut away any stitching that is holding the shoe and sole together, if there is any, using a craft knife. Starting at the toe of the shoe, peel the sole completely back away from the shoe so that what was the inside of the sole is now lying out. Be gentle when using the craft knife so that you do not accidentally cut into other parts of the shoe.
Lay down a layer of newspapers onto your work surface. Place the shoe and sole onto the newspaper and clean all parts of the sole using rubbing alcohol a cleaning rag and water. Dab alcohol onto the rag and rub it all over the sole, including in between crevices, to remove any dirt and debris. Rub the sole down with water to remove the strong alcohol smell and dry the sole with the rag.
Scrub the sole with a sheet of sandpaper. Scrub all parts of the sole with the sandpaper to roughen it up. A rough sole will give you better traction when walking and will also allow the adhesive to stick better.
Look the sole over carefully to identify any damaged parts. Completely cover the part of the sole that will be adhered to the rest of the shoe with either acrylic or rubber-to-cement adhesive, both of which will securely bond the sole back onto the shoe, yet allow for the shoe to be flexible. Spread the adhesive around the sole with a putty knife. Concentrate the adhesive in areas where the sole is damaged or starting to come apart.
Fit the sole back onto the shoe. Press the shoe and sole together and then place the shoe, sole side down, onto the newspapers. Place a plastic sheet or bag over the top of the shoe and set a heavy object onto the plastic. The heavy weight will put pressure on the sole and shoe and aid the adhesive in getting them to stick together.
Repairing a Scuffed Sole
Find a ripe banana and peel it completely. Set the banana aside and take the peel in your hand. Rub the scuffed portions of your shoe, including the sole, with the inside of the peel.
Brush your entire shoe lightly with a coarse-bristled brush. Move the brush in short motions and don't press down too forcefully. Use an old toothbrush to brush any small tread areas on the bottom of the shoe. Wipe down the shoe with a dry, clean rag.
Apply an generous amount of shoe polish to the shoe using a rag. Use a color of polish that most closely matches the color of the shoe. Allow the polish to sit and dry on the shoe for approximately 10 minutes. Lightly brush the shoe once again with the coarse-bristled brush and rag.
Apply a rubber shoe sole protector to the sole of the shoe. Buy a sole protector that will fit your size of shoe. Place the protector onto the sole of your shoe as per the directions included with the protector. Shoe sole protectors help shield your soles from the elements, scuffing and general wear and tear.
Dan Richter began freelance writing in 2006. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the "Wausau Daily Herald," "Stevens Point Journal," "Central Wisconsin Business Magazine" and the "Iowa City Press-Citizen." Richter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media studies.
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