How to reattach a shoe sole

How to reattach a shoe sole

Is reglueing a loose shoe sole yourself a good idea? How should you properly repair your shoes? Here's the lowdown.

Shoes are part of your basic sports equipment. No matter which sport you play, they are designed to keep you safe.
However, with regular wear and tear, the sole can become unglued. What should you do? We'll explain when you can reglue the sole yourself and what you'll need for the repair.

Why do soles become unglued?

You dig through your closet to find the sports shoes you've hidden away for months and realize that the sole has begun to fall off. We can already hear you saying "but I never even wore them". And that's exactly the problem. If you bought sports shoes on a whim and never used them, or very rarely wore them, the sole may become unglued. This is even more likely if you stored them in a warm, humid spot. The best way to ensure this doesn't happen: regularly wear your sports shoes as soon as you buy them!

Other factors can impact the sole's glue, like time (materials and glue inevitably age), wear and tear, and even snagging the sole during play.

Which glue should you use for a shoe sole?

Ideally, you should use a special shoe glue. If your shoes are leather, opt for a leather- specific glue. Same for rubber and other materials. By using a glue specifically designed for the material, your repaired sole is more likely to stay in place!

Depending on how you use your shoes, you may want to look into moisture-resistant or heat-resistant glue.

How to reattach a shoe sole

Repairing a shoe sole without glue

You may have come across some "natural" tips on blogs that recommend repairing your shoes using homemade sticky jelly. Maybe your friend Jo repaired their shoes by hand without glue and now claims they're "good as new"? We don't recommend trying to repair your soles by hand without using glue.

Your sport shoes are a key part of your gear and are designed to keep you safe. A badly reattached sole can cause unfortunate accidents (falls, injury, etc.). Keep in mind that these repairs are makeshift at best.

How to properly repair an unglued sole

If almost the entire outsole is detached: head to a shoe expert or get new shoes! You can only repair your shoes if a small part (heel, middle or toe) is unglued, here's how to reglue it:

➡️ The two gluing surfaces should be clean and dry. Clean them well beforehand with a cloth and a household cleaner or soap. If there is still old glue residue, you can remove it with alcohol or acetone. Then let your soles dry. It's essential to remove any residue between the sole and shoe to guarantee a good repair.

➡️ Apply glue to one of the two spots to be repaired (heel, midfoot or toe). Apply the glue in a thin, even layer. Don't use too much glue. “The more glue you use, the better it will stick?” Not really. The glue might spill over. If this happens, you can remove surplus glue (once dry) with glue solvent or gently rub it with sand paper.

➡️ Read all the instructions! Depending on the brand, there are two possible approaches: either you put the two parts together immediately, or you wait for the glue to dry before pressing them together.

➡️ Then press the two parts of the shoe together. You then have to apply pressure for about 5 minutes (again, this time varies depending on the brand of glue used). “Do I need to apply pressure to the shoes this whole time to make sure it sets properly?” Unless you want to get an arm workout, make sure you also have a clothes pin, rubber band, a weight to place on the shoe, or really anything that applies pressure without damaging the shoe.

➡️ Let it dry in a cool, dry spot. The drying time depends on the glue. Here again, refer to the instructions.

Only too happy to have repaired them, you only have one thing in mind: wearing them during your next workout! So yes, but no. We're sorry to say it but we don't recommended wearing your shoes immediately. Wait at least 24 hours to guarantee the repair takes hold. Take a few steps to test the soles before exercising in them.

Can rubber or plastic soles be repaired?

Yes!The process is the same for other shoes, you just need to use a rubber or plastic-specific glue.

Reglueing a football boot sole

If you have a mishap with your football boots, reglueing them is a potential solution. But keep in mind that it will be a temporary, makeshift repair. Nothing beats a professional repair!

What should you do if you want to repair your sole at home? Well, the process is the same as previously explained.

Reglueing a hiking boot sole

Reglueing a football boot sole

The first question you should ask: is this a good idea? We're afraid not.

When trekking and hiking, shoes are considered to be safety equipment. An improperly resoled shoe, repaired without the help of a professional, can cause serious consequences when you're on the mountain. Our tip: if your shoe shows any signs of damage, do not try to repair it yourself. Contact a professional and show them the extent of the damage to see if a repair is possible.

When in doubt: ask the professionals

Not sure how to do it? Unsure if repairing your sole yourself is a good idea? If you have any doubt, you know the answer! Visit a professional and show them your shoes. They can give you advice and, if necessary, make a repair that really works.

Repairing a hole in fabric shoes

There are 2 possible options:

➡️ If the hole is very small, you can try repairing it with glue. Pinch the fabric together to cover the hole, apply a dab of glue, keep the fabric together for a few minutes so that the glue sets and leave them to dry for a few hours.

➡️ If the hole is a...real hole, you'll need a bit of fabric (make sure it's durable and larger than the hole). You can then sew it with a needle and thread or glue it in place with a material-specific glue.

Repairs: how to bring your worn, damaged or torn shoes back to life?

Before you start shopping for new shoes, make sure there's nothing you can do to fix your old ones. With the right tips, you can work miracles and extend the life of your favourite shoes. Check out all our shoe repair secrets right here:

👉 Repairing your sports shoes

Shoe insole maintenance

When to replace the insole of your sports shoes

Now that we've covered the outside of the shoe, let's move on to the inside. Insoles wear out over time and with regular use.

Smells, stains and outlines of your feet are a common sight in well-worn shoes. If you want to get rid of an unpleasant smell:
● Remove your insoles after a sweaty workout and let them air out!
● If the smell persists, you can use an odour-neutralizing spray or sprinkle your shoes with a bit of baking powder (which is also a good disinfectant).

If your insole needs to be cleaned, check out these tips:
● For foam soles, carefully brush them with a soft bristle brush and soapy water.
● For leather soles, do the same thing but with a soft cloth. You should also make sure you don't get the leather too wet.

👉 Cleaning the insoles of sports shoes. Check out our article and become an expert!!

Do they have a hole or tear? It's time to go shopping! Take out your old insoles and replace them with new ones.

Reglueing your sports shoe's sole is a potential solution if they're falling off, but you should do so with the greatest care! Your safety depends on it. With a tube of glue and a little patience, the process should be easy enough. Our tip: if you're unsure about the repairability of your shoe (or the quality of your repair), seek help from a professional.

Marie Barreau


Web editor

I'm a passionate dancer, fitness enthusiast, lover of water sports and aspiring runner. When I'm not playing a sport, I like to write about its history and benefits!

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