There is a tear on your boot? Your sole is starting to fall off? Before tossing them out and heading to the shoe store for a new pair, why not try to repair them by yourself? Yes, for serious damage you may need a professional cobbler to help salvage a damaged boot, but in some cases you can actually repair them at a much lower cost at home.
Here are some guidelines to follow for the DIY boot repair:
To fix tears or holes in the leather uppers you will need to:
- Remove any waterproofing, grease or conditioner so that the glue can work properly directly on the leather.
- Clean the upper around the torn part or hole thoroughly with a damp cloth or brush.
- Stick a piece of duct tape from the inside under the tear or hole.
- Apply leather glue or another appropriate adhesive to the tear or the hole.
- Spread the glue on the entire torn area with an appropriate instrument, or with the help of an ice cube which will ensure that you don’t get yourself or anything else stuck to the leather.
- Let the glue on the repaired boot dry completely.
- After the adhesive is dry, peel off the duct tape from the inside.
- If there is excess glue surrounding the repaired area, use a small brush dipped in paint thinner to remove it.
- Voila! Your boot is repaired and ready to go.
To repair a sole which is detached from the upper you should follow these steps:
- Clean both the sole as well as the upper at the parts which will be treated with some water or with a brush.
- Let the cleaned boot dry off.
- If the sole is seriously detached, it is easier to remove it completely, so that you can apply the glue in full.
- Apply the leather or other glue on both surfaces which you will be re-attaching.
- Line up the sole to the upper properly and press on the area where the glue has been applied so that they make full contact at all places.
- If there is any excess glue, wipe it off.
- Place a heavy object on top of the boot to ensure that the sole and upper are properly and strongly glued together.
- Let the repaired shoe sit for 24 hours with the heavy item on top of it.
- After it is dry and properly stuck, you can remove any leftover adhesive around the treated area with the help of some paint thinner.
Not all boot types can be repaired as described. Learn here about the construction type of boots and which ones can be repaired/resoled.
To repair leather boots which are dried up, cracking or flaking, you should do the following:
- Clean the damaged upper with lukewarm water and saddle soap. Use very little to avoid further damage to the upper.
- Let the boot dry completely, but do not place it directly under the sunlight or near a heat source. You may want to let the boot dry off overnight before you proceed with the repair.
- To make the task easier and to help the boot keep its proper form – stuff it with a towel or newspaper.
- Use a soft cloth dipped in mink oil to treat the damaged surface by rubbing it in so that it gets absorbed into the pores of the leather.
- Apply appropriately colored leather shoe cream on the entire upper.
- For best results buff and polish your repaired boots.
Bonus tip: Learn how to care properly for your boots and you will get much more mileage out of them!