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Everybody deserves a good pair of shoes – some even have an entire closet section devoted to their shoe collection. Most of us have that favorite pair of shoes that we just cannot do without, but eventually, they will become worn and broken. But before you think about throwing them out, maybe you can use some shoe repair glue to make them last longer. When using the best glue for shoes, you can easily extend the life of your shoes by mending soles, fixing shoelaces, and repairing other minor issues.
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Types of Shoe Glue
When considering shoe repair glue, there are three main types, each of them having an active ingredient that creates the adhesive action. These include the well-known superglue which contains cyanoacrylate, and then there is neoprene cement and urethane.
This is a common glue that most of us have used at some time or another. Superglue can easily be used as a shoe repair glue, as it is an affordable option and can repair most shoe problems. As mentioned, superglue contains cyanoacrylate, and it is this that forms a reaction with the available moisture, creating a durable bond on the surfaces you applied it to.
Superglue dries extremely quickly, and you do not need to wait for it to do its job. Superglue can also be used on other materials, so it is quite handy to have some around the house. However, when it comes to larger, more flexible areas that need repair, superglue is not the best option. This is because it is not flexible enough when compared to other types of shoe glue.
This type of glue can be used for larger repairs and bonds with a variety of materials including leather, vinyl, synthetic items, and rubber. This glue is waterproof and is great for applying to items like wetsuits and, of course, shoes to keep water out. It has often been used by professionals as an effective shoe sole adhesive. You should note, however, that this product is flammable, so you must not work with it close to an open flame.
Urethane shoe repair glue is also waterproof, provides a strong bond, is heat-resistant, as well as resistant to cold temperatures – something that can be useful if you live in colder regions. This glue is also an excellent shoe sole adhesive and can help to fix severely damaged shoes where the sole has come off the shoe. You can also use this glue to rebuild a worn shoe heel or use it on boots, climbing, and athletic shoes.
The glue provides a strong bond but remains flexible, and can be used on a variety of surfaces like suede, vinyl, canvas, and neoprene. This is also a great glue for leather shoes. Since you get so many different products, it is always best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions concerning its uses.
Helping You Purchase the Correct Shoe Glue
If you are thinking of purchasing some shoe repair glue, you will soon find out that there are many choices available. Some glues might only be compatible with certain materials and you should also look at things like flexibility. Below are a few things to look out for when purchasing the best glue for shoes.
Type of Shoe Material
This is an important factor to consider as many types of glue do not work well with all types of materials. You can get glue that works well on leather, or another glue that works better on rubber. Always check the product instructions to make sure that you are buying the right glue for your specific shoe.
Glue Drying Times
Different types of glue have different drying times, so you might have to wait a few hours for the glue to dry, while others dry within seconds. You want to wait out the longer drying times, as any movement before it dries can break the bond. Smaller shoe repairs can easily be fixed with superglue, which dries quickly. However, for larger shoe repairs like re-attaching a shoe sole, you will need a more flexible glue, which might take longer to dry.
Again, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out if the glue can be used on multiple surfaces or not. For example, you might get a glue that is perfect for a variety of surfaces but is not effective for larger repairs. Also, it is a good idea to buy a product that can be used for other purposes so that you get the most out of the glue.
All of your outdoor shoes, like boots, climbing boots, and any other outdoor footwear will need a waterproof fix. Even if you are wearing day-to-day shoes, stepping outside into the rain can be a problem. So, you need to consider purchasing a shoe glue that is also waterproof. Many of the types of glue have waterproof or water-resistant properties, but the effectiveness is dependent on the product and how well you have applied it. If you follow the instructions provided for the glue and apply it to a clean, dry surface, you should produce repairs that are resistant to water damage.
In most cases, a clear and transparent glue will do the job. However, you can also get options where the glue comes in different colors like black. Black is a good option if you want to repair black rubber soles.
Best Glue for Shoes
In only a short time, you can have your shoes in working order again when using shoe repair glue. However, there are quite a few glue brands that have their own formulas and offer different things. We have already gone over what you should consider when purchasing shoe glue, so here are a few recommendations for you. Hopefully, one of these will be just what you are looking for.
Best Overall Shoe Glue: SHOE GOO Clear Shoe Repair Adhesive
The Shoe Goo Clear Shoe Repair Adhesive can be used on rubber, leather, canvas, and vinyl. The adhesive will help to protect and bond damaged shoes. Since it is a clear formula, the mend will be invisible. It is great for helping to reattach a rubber sole and can be used to patch up small tears and holes, providing a waterproof seal. You can also rebuild worn-out shoe soles. This adhesive can also provide improved traction; for example, it can be applied to skateboards.
Best Superglue for Shoe Repairs: LOCTITE Ultra Gel Control Super Glue
The Loctite superglue has a rubber-infused formula that helps to resist severe temperature changes, impacts, vibrations, and shocks. The glue is also resistant to moisture and can withstand freezing temperatures. It can be used on a variety of surfaces including rubber, leather, metal, wood, plastic, and more. You will have plenty of time to align things before the glue starts to set, and it will dry clear. You also do not need to clamp items before it sets.
Most Popular Glue: GORILLA Clear Grip Contact Adhesive
This Gorilla Glue for shoe repair is a popular choice as it is extremely versatile and can be used on different surfaces including plastic, metal, leather, and much more. The glue forms a permanent waterproof bond and is especially good for bonding the soles of shoes that have separated. Bonding occurs immediately, however, to fully cure you should leave it for at least 24 hours. The glue dries clear, and many have used Gorilla glue for hiking shoes because of its strong and flexible bond.
How to Use Shoe Repair Glue
Most shoes are worn almost every day and over time will experience a lot of wear and tear. This is especially true for hiking and athletic shoes. So, you are bound to need repairs done eventually. One of the main issues that come up with shoes is the separation of the sole. A few other problems with shoes include:
- Studs that might have fallen off of a dress shoe;
- Frayed shoelaces;
- High heels breaking off or being too slippery to wear anywhere;
- Cracking or peeling of shoes;
- Any holes and tears in shoes.
Next, let us have a look at how you can go about fixing these problems. Some issues are a little worse than others, but before you decide to throw out those old but beloved pair of shoes, at least try to repair them. You might be surprised at how much longer you can wear them, which will save you money from having to get a new pair.
Basic Guide on How to Glue Shoes
Let us first take a look at the most basic method of repairing shoes using shoe glue. The first thing that needs to be done is to make sure the shoe is clean. So, be sure to clean or wash the shoe in order to get rid of any grime. Once you have chosen the best glue for shoe soles, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Some glues require preparation while others can be used immediately.
Since this is a basic guide, we assume it is only minor damage. So, apply a thin coat of glue to the spot where the damage is. You might have to apply thin coats on both surfaces, press the two parts together, and let the glue dry. Again, read the product instructions to see if you need to apply pressure for either a short or long time, or to see how long it takes for the glue to properly cure.
You might need to use rubber bands or clamps to keep the two pieces together long enough for the glue to cure thoroughly. Once the glue has cured, it should be safe to wear your shoes again.
Some glue products have an unpleasant odor, so working outside might be the best option when doing repairs. Working with glue can sometimes be a messy job, so if you do not want to get any onto your skin, it is best to wear gloves when doing a repair job.
Repairing the Sole of Your Shoe
This is a common problem when repairing shoes. This is also a fairly easy problem to fix if the shoe is otherwise still in good condition. You can easily repair loose soles in a few minutes and be able to wear them again in about 24 hours. You can simply glue the old sole together and follow the instructions as above, or you can remove the old sole entirely and replace it with a new one.
Remove the old and loose sole completely. You might have to bring in some pliers to help you with this. If you are finding it a bit difficult to remove, try using a paint scraper and place it between the shoe and the loose sole while pulling it off. Another trick is to use a hairdryer or heat gun to soften the glue remaining on the loose sole.
You can take some acetone to eliminate any surplus glue remaining. Using a rag, scrub the bottom of the shoe until all the old excess glue has been removed. This will also help to remove any leftover dirt as well.
Take a piece of sandpaper and lightly roughen up the surface of both the bottom of the shoe and that of your new sole. You can sand with 120-grit sandpaper for this purpose. The rough surface will provide better adhesion.
Now you can apply the best glue for shoe soles, remembering to read and follow the product instructions. Apply the glue to the new sole and then press onto the bottom of the shoe, starting from the top, and slowly lay it down until all the edges line up. Once you are sure it looks in place, apply pressure.
You might have to use some rubber bands, weights, or a clamp to keep the pressure on the bottom of the shoe. To help keep the shape of the shoe, you can stuff it with some newspaper until the clamp comes off. You will then need to wait for about 24 hours before you can use the shoe. While the glue is curing, you should leave it in a cool, dry location where it will not be moved or disturbed.
The piece at the end of your shoelace is known as an aglet, and it is this that keeps the shoelace from unraveling. However, sometimes the aglets can come off, leaving your shoelace to come frayed and undone at the ends. There are different ways you can handle this problem; for example, you can simply singe the ends of the shoelace with a lighter to stop it from unraveling. You could also just use tape around the edges, although this might not last long as a solution. Then, there is the method of using glue.
Take a little tape to wind around a half-an-inch from the top of the shoelace – you can trim it down once done. Spread a drop of adhesive at the base of the tape and let this dry. Then squeeze some glue into the top so that it will penetrate and harden the half-an-inch taped area. Preferably use a thin, fast-drying superglue with a tip applicator. Before it dries or cures completely, you can remove the tape. Once fully cured, you will have a solid tip to your shoelace. It is best to use gloves when attempting this type of repair.
Quick Repair for High Heel Shoes
High heels may become loose and eventually break off over time. In many cases, you will need to take the shoe to a cobbler or specialist to fix it or have to purchase a new pair. However, you can also try to repair the heel damage yourself.
Clean the bottom of the shoe and the heel to remove any dirt and old glue residue. Make sure that you use professional-grade shoe glue and get yourself some sandpaper. Roughen both surfaces with the sandpaper to make the glue bond more efficiently. Spread the glue to both the base of the shoe and to the base of the heel part that broke off.
Again, always read the product instructions for that specific glue. Press the shoe and the heel together and make sure they line up properly. Hold for a few seconds and then use some elastic bands to keep everything in place. Leave the shoe for about 24 hours, allowing the glue to cure and bond completely.
Fun Fact: To stop heels from slipping on smooth floors, roughen up the bottom of the shoe and heel surface with sandpaper and apply some strong glue. Apply it in lines and let the glue dry.
Have you ever stepped in a puddle of water with your shoes on, only to feel your feet get a little wet? This definitely points towards a hole in your shoe. Here is a basic guide for repairing these holes so that you can wear your favorite shoes again.
It is important to clean the surface with a little water and some rubbing alcohol. Focus on the area where the hole is situated underneath the shoe. Once you are done cleaning the area, let it dry before moving on to the next step.
Take some sandpaper (120-grit) to roughen up the surface. Sand around the border of the hole. Next, take some duct tape and place it over the hole, but on the inside of the shoe. You will have to remove the insole for this.
Take the shoe repair glue and fill the hole on the bottom of the shoe. Fill the entire hole, even if it overflows a little. To smooth the glue, you can use a spoon covered in a little petroleum jelly or an ice cube.
Let everything dry for 24 hours, making sure that the shoe is facing up and will not be disturbed in any way. Once dry, you can use the sandpaper again to remove any of the glue that overflowed and to smooth the surface.
Tips for Repairing Shoes
Using shoe glue can be a messy job, and a repair job might even need more than one pair of hands. To make using shoe repair glue an easy and trouble-free experience, here are a few tips to help you out.
- To protect your hands and skin when working with glue, it is best to use gloves. We suggest using nitrile or latex gloves
- The adhesive does not stick to ice cubes, making ice a great solution for smoothing out the adhesive on surfaces. You can also try using a toothpick for more precision.
- The surface you are working on should always be clean and dry.
- It is best to work at room temperature and to avoid any extremes.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for that particular glue product.
- When done with the glue, clean the nozzle using a paper towel and replace the cap properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Glue for Leather Shoes?
When searching for glue for leather shoes, you will find that most glues can be used on different materials, including leather. However, to achieve the best results, you should go for a glue that is specially formulated for leather. The glue product should specifically state its use on leather.
Does Shoe Glue Take Long to Dry?
For glue to cure completely, you should preferably leave it for about 24 hours, and even up to 72 hours in some cases. Extreme temperatures and humidity can affect the curing time; for example, in high temperatures, the glue will cure faster. This is why you can use a hairdryer to speed up drying times if necessary.
Is Superglue the Best Option for Shoe Repairs?
Depending on the type of superglue and the damage, it is the least expensive and the more popular option when it comes to repairing shoes.
Are Superglues Similar to Shoe Glue?
Superglue has the active ingredient cyanoacrylate and can be successfully used as a shoe glue. However, there are other types of shoe glues available, each having different active ingredients. These include neoprene cement and urethane.