How to Replace Leather Soles

by Philippa Jones

The soles of leather shoes wear out with normal wear-and-tear. Holes may appear or the stitching can come undone causing discomfort and allowing moisture in. Instead of ditching the worn shoes, replace the sole to give them a new lease on life. You could take your shoes to a cobbler but with some simple tools and guidance, you can replace the soles yourself.

Items you will need

  • New pair of leather soles
  • Utility knife
  • Shoe-repair contact cement or strong adhesive
  • Grade 40-60 sandpaper
Step 1

Look at the sole of your shoes and assess if they can be replaced. Most leather shoes are durable and large holes and gaps are fixable.

Step 2

Take your shoes to the store to match the leather's color and size of the old sole against the new sole. If your sole wore down quickly, choose a thicker sole to prolong your shoe's life.

Step 3

Clean your old shoes. Get rid of any mud, debris or loose material using scissors or a utility knife. Remove anything that create problems when fixing them. Cut off hanging flaps of leather and ensure there is no dirt on the soles. If you wash them, allow them to dry thoroughly.

Step 4

Scuff the bottom of your old shoes with the rough sandpaper for a couple of minutes before applying adhesive. The adhesive will bond better to a rougher surface.

Step 5

Coat the bottom of your old soles with the adhesive, following the product's instructions. Each glue will differ in drying time and application. Attach the new soles.

Step 6

Put on your shoes and stomp around in them. Make sure you wear socks. This will firmly compress the surfaces together for a tight fit between the sole and the shoe. Stomp for two minutes and then take off your shoes.

Step 7

Cut away any excess material around the edge of your shoes. Be careful not to cut into the soles.

Step 8

Let your shoes dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them to ensure the glue has dried and the surfaces have bonded.

Tips

  • Apply the glue to the full surface area of the sole so it attaches firmly to your shoe.

    Use a waterproof glue.

Warnings

  • Use the glue adhesive in a well-ventilated area.

Photo Credits

About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.