How to Reheel Your Shoe

by David Lipscomb ; Updated September 28, 2017

Re-heel your favorite shoes at home.

Sky View/Photodisc/Getty Images

Repairing a pair of nice shoes can be an expensive proposition, depending on the brand of footwear and the cobbler you choose. However, most shoes are constructed in a similar manner, making them relatively straightforward to repair if you're not afraid to get out some tools and go to work. Re-heeling that favorite pair of captoes or loafers yourself can save you significant money you can put toward that new pair you've been eyeing.

Items you will need

  • Pliers
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Clean cloth
  • Mineral spirits
  • Shoe repair adhesive
  • Replacement heel and tacks
  • Hammer
  • Edge dressing
Step 1

Turn the shoe over. Slide the tip of the standard or flat-head screwdriver between the sole and the squared-off section of the heel.

Step 2

Loosen the old heel with your screwdriver, using care to not poke through the good part of your sole.

Step 3

Wiggle the heel gently firmly to remove it from the shoe. Pull out any exposed nails with your pliers.

Step 4

Sand away any residual adhesive from the sole. Clean up any remainder with the mineral spirits and cloth.

Step 5

Apply shoe repair adhesive liberally over the mating sides of the new heel and sole. Wait a few seconds for the adhesive to become tacky prior to adhering the pieces together.

Step 6

Wipe off any excess shoe repair adhesive that may have squeezed out from between the new heel and sole with your cloth and a dab of mineral spirits.

Step 7

Coat the heel tacks with shoe adhesive. Drive the heel tacks into the holes on the base of the replacement heel, into the shoe.

Step 8

Allow the adhesive to set up for about 24 hours, or as directed by the manufacturer.

Step 9

Blend the sole and new heel visually by applying edge dressing to both with your cloth. Do not get any on the upper, as the dressing will stain the leather.


  • Replace both heels at the same time for a uniform appearance and feel as you walk.

    You may require a new half-sole in situations where the heel-end of the old sole pulls away from the insole. If this happens, place a new half-sole on the bottom of your shoe to measure the proper length. Cut off the damaged section, then glue the new half-sole in its place, butting it against the remaining good half.


  • Don't use super glue or craft adhesives to bond shoe pieces together. Cyanoacrylates dry brittle, while craft glues are water-soluble -- neither being conducive to a long-term repair.

Photo Credits

  • Sky View/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.