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Good for the Sole: Boot Repair Essentials

On a recent backpacking trip, the sole of one of my hiking boots came loose. I was able to use a tent cord to tie it on and hike back to the trailhead. How do you repair loose soles on hiking boots?

Question:

On a recent backpacking trip, the sole of one of my hiking boots came loose. I was able to use a tent cord to tie it on and hike back to the trailhead. How do you repair loose soles on hiking boots?

Submitted by - Martha, Kirkwood, MO

Answer:

Way to improvise, Martha! Duct tape also works in a such a pinch. Hopefully, your hike back was dry and short. Delamination is a pretty common boot problem caused when the glue that bonds the sole to the upper comes loose. Why does this happen? Sometimes it just does, no rhyme or reason. Other times you can trace it back to the night you put your wet boots too close to the campfire to dry out. Excessive heat like that can toast the adhesives and cause the peeling. In any case, now that you’re home there’s an easy way to make a permanent repair, which works equally well on heel or toe delaminations. Here’s what you do:
 
1.      Clean the leather and the rubber with an alcohol prep pad from your first aid kit.
2.      Squeeze a generous, even coat of Freesole (mcnett.com, $7) to the inside of the sole.
3.      Bond the two sides, smoothing any excess Freesole along the seam. Then weight the inside of the boot with a full water bottle. If the delam occurred at the toe, it’s a good idea to wrap some tape around the toe area (or secure it with a C-clamp).
4.      Let it cure overnight.
 

In the field, you could make the same repair using Seam Grip (something many of us carry in our repair kits because it fixes everything from tent tears to jacket gashes to sleeping pad punctures). It just wouldn’t be as permanent. —Kristin

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