Good work boots are essential for many dangerous jobs and jobs that require manual labor or long hours on your feet.
If you don’t have good shoes, you can risk losing your footing, injuring yourself if something falls on your foot, or damaging your feet, knees, back, and neck over time.
Unfortunately, good, sturdy work boots can be expensive. The cost is understandable, given the necessary high quality and how important good boots are when it comes to protecting yourself and doing your job right.
But still, no one wants to spend the kind of money needed for a good pair of boots more often than is necessary.
In order to extend the life of your boots, you should focus on maintaining them while they’re still in good shape and repairing them as soon as they start to show signs of damage.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common damage boots suffer, and how to repair work boots, fix damaged soles, and repair scuffs in leather shoes so they can last as long as possible.
There’s also a question and answer section at the end that will go over some of the more commonly asked questions when it comes to work boot repair.
No matter how sturdy your boots are, they will suffer damage over time as they do their job by protecting your feet in tough environments.
The most common problem with work shoes is damage to the sole, either through being worn down or when the sole begins to separate from the rest of the boot.
This separation is called delamination and often occurs when the shoe isn’t properly glued, has been damaged by water, or is simply getting old and worn.
Another common problem occurs when the insoles and arches of a boot start to break down. This is an inevitable process that happens to any shoe as your weight and the pressure of your step, combined with the force of gravity, slowly breaks down the built-in support.
Scratches and scuffs are also an extremely common problem. While this will also happen naturally as the boots are worn, scuffs, scratches, and grooves can allow dirt and moisture to seep into the outer lining.
This will cause the scuffs to slowly widen into cracks that can seriously compromise the integrity of your boots. Too many deep cracks, and your boots will either have to be repaired or thrown out if the problem isn’t fixed in time.
Here we’ll take a quick look at the problems that need to be addressed when fixing boot soles and the components that you will need to properly repair your boots.
Re-attaching a separating sole is one of the most common skills when it comes to boot repair and is actually quite easy to accomplish.
If the sole is still in good shape and doesn’t need to be completely replaced, you just need some high-quality shoe glue, some rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, and maybe some fine-grit sandpaper.
Start by using the rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs to clean the surfaces that will need to be re-attached.
Once clean, let your boot dry completely before thoroughly applying the shoe glue.
Once the adhesive is in place, firmly press the sole and the rest of the boot together. You may want to stand in your shoes or place weights in them until the glue has set.
Once the adhesive is dry, you can use the sandpaper to remove any excess, being careful not to damage the sides of the sole or the boot.
My go-to glue for repairing boots and soles is E6000 Adhesive.
This is a cement-based glue that is temperature resistant, waterproof, and non-flammable once it’s completely cured. It’s easy to work with and takes about five minutes to harden, which lets you re-adjust as needed without having to hold the boot in place for too long before the glue starts to set.
It takes about 24 – 48 hours to cure completely and is an industrial-strength bonding agent that comes in a clear-dry option that will be hard to see if you get any excess on the rest of your boot.
The E6000 Adhesive works on leather as well as a variety of different materials.
Shoe Goo Repair also works on leather and is sturdy enough to use in boot repair.
There are several adhesive options out there that can work on leather, you just have to check the details on the back of the bottle to make sure leather is listed as one of the materials that adhesive can be applied to.
Be careful not to get general leather crafting glue, though, when you’re trying to repair your boots. Though this kind of glue can technically bond leather, it’s usually not designed to withstand the elements or the amount of wear and tear that shoes will be subjected to.
You don’t want your boots falling apart again once you think you’ve got them fixed.
Fixing scuffs and cracks is one of the most important steps when looking at how to repair boots.
Scuffs don’t just look bad, they also lead to the slow deterioration of your shoes and can give way to serious cuts and cracks. In order to repair a scuff before it gets worse, you just need some vinegar or olive oil, a soft cloth, and a little patience.
Start by adding a little oil or vinegar to your cloth; I prefer oil because it smells better, but the choice is yours.
Massage the oil over the scuffed area in a circular motion for a few minutes, working the oil into the leather as much as you can.
When you’re done, don’t wipe off any excess oil. Instead, leave your boots for 24 hours so the oil can absorb into the leather and the boots can dry completely. If you can still see scuffs, repeat this process until they are gone.
To repair deeper cracks, you’ll need some superglue, rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, some newspaper, and some fine-grit sand paper.
First, stuff the newspaper into your boots to simulate the shape of your foot. Don’t over-stuff or the cracks will bulge when dry.
Next, thoroughly clean the crack and the area around it with the alcohol. Let your shoe dry completely, then fill the crack with superglue, being careful not to get any on the rest of your boot. Superglue is very hard to remove, so any excess will probably be noticeable when you’re done.
While the glue is still drying, gently sand the top of the crack and the surrounding area with the sandpaper. This will create a fine leather dust that will settle into the glue and help it match the rest of the boot. This way, your cracks aren’t just repaired, they’re also covered up and looking better too!
Depending on the type and quality of your boot, it will usually cost between $80 – $100 to get them resoled.
Boots without a rubber rand tend to be less expensive, while resoling boots with a rubber rand generally costs a little more. Some boots will cost even more than this, depending on the brand, the amount of damage, and how the boots are made.
Generally, good quality work boots that see regular use should last for about a year.
This answer will vary greatly, though, depending on the quality of your boots, what kind of work you’re doing, and how often you wear them.
If you’re willing to spend the money, it’s possible to get a good pair of boots that will last a couple years even in the harshest conditions.
Meanwhile, cheaper boots might last you a while if you’re not wearing them often or aren’t exposing them to extreme elements.
Decent quality boots might only last you a short time if they are seeing extreme use. To really get a good idea of how long your particular boots should last, try looking up reviews or customer feedback to see what others have to say.
Not usually. When it comes to things like repairing or reattaching soles and fixing scuffs and cracks, it doesn’t matter if your shoes are steel-toed or not.
Steel-toed boots do tend to have more wear around the toes which can sometimes be fixed in the same way cracks can. You will probably need professional help, though, if the steel itself is damaged.
Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.