Wearing your favourite pair of shoes and ended up tearing them apart? If the material of the shoe is not too thick and is lightweight, chances are, it may start tearing and spoil the overall built of the shoes.
If you do not want to waste your money on buying a new pair in replacement for the torn shoes, you can always fix the hole in your shoe. It will increase the life of your shoes while also not allowing any dust or gravel to dirty your feet. It is also a very cost-effective alternative.
Therefore, we suggest some quick and handy tricks for you to try in order to fix a hole in a shoe and make them durable in a jiffy.
How to fix a hole in a shoe
Ideally, there are two budget-friendly and easy methods that you can apply to fix a hole in a shoe. They are:
- Using an adhesive
- Using a patch cover on the hole
Let’s see each of these steps in detail while you can use either one as per your convenience.
Fixing a hole using an adhesive
Make sure to have these following items handy before you fix a hole in your shoe using an adhesive:
- Adhesive sealant
- Sealing tape/duct tape/electrical tape
- Stick for applying
Follow the step by step procedure to fixing a hole in a shoe using an adhesive:
1. Buy an adhesive sealant
You need to choose an appropriate sealant that fits your budget as well as covers the hole in your shoe accordingly. You can get an adhesive easily from any hardware store or even get one online. Various brands like Shoe Goo, Gorilla Glue, and Liquid Nails are great and strong adhesives.
However, they will leave a milky white patch on the shoe which may look obvious and spoil the look of the shoes. Shoe Goo leaves a clear and black patch which may be a great fixing agent but does not suit the design of the shoe. Make sure to check if the adhesive is waterproof or not.
2. Remove the insole
If you do not want any glue patches or glue marks falling on the insole and making the insole surface sticky, remove them out of the shoes before you use an adhesive. If the insole is glued to the shoes, make sure to cover it with a newspaper or tape and then move on to sealing the surface.
3. Use duct tape
Once you have applied adhesive, it needs a surface to bind to. In that case, you can use duct tape to give it some support for binding and cover up the hole. The tape provides enough support to the adhesive to bond.
Make sure that the entire hole is covered with the tape and the areas where you will apply adhesive. You can also use electrical tape instead of duct tape. Let the sticky side of the duct tape stick on the down inside part of the shoe.
4. Apply adhesive on top of the holes
Squeeze the adhesive or apply it evenly on top of the hole/holes in the shoe and gently spread it. You do not need to be very neat during the application process but make sure that the entire hole gets covered up evenly. It should not leave any empty holes and spaces for dust or water to enter the shoes.
You can always cross-check after applying a single coat and allowing it to dry. Then apply multiple coats of adhesive if necessary. If the glue clumps over the hole, it is normal and can be chipped of later.
5. Spread evenly
Shoe adhesives are very sticky so make sure to allow them to settle for a minute or two. After which, you can gently spread it using a stick or your fingers. Don’t stick your fingers or the stick on the glue surface for too long. It may cause your fingers or the stick to get stuck and chip off the glue.
7. Allow it to dry overnight
Make sure that the adhesive gets enough time to dry overnight and form a tight seal on the surface having a hole. You can cross-check by pressing on the adhesive for any weak or soft spots. If the glue has not dried properly, the layer will start peeling off. Else it will feel hard and firm over the hole surface.
8. Insert the insole
Remove the duct tape once the glue has hardened. Make sure that the glue has entered deep up to the midsole section of the shoe to harden and remain stiff enough. Put the insoles inside if you were using one for your shoe. You can check by walking once, and if all procedures are done appropriately, then the hole in your shoe is fixed and good to go.
Know About: Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Handy tips to consider while fixing a hole in your shoe using an adhesive:
- If the hole is not too deep and confined around the outsole i.e. if it has not penetrated the inner section, you can use sandpaper to remove any dust, gravel, or uneven edges of the shoe surface.
This allows the glue to spread evenly and does not cause uneven layers while application. You can also use sandpaper once the glue has dried up to even the layers and not cause any indentation on the lower surface of the shoe.
- While the adhesive is drying on the shoe surface, do not let any objects or items come in contact with the shoe. This may cause the glue to peel off and not spread evenly.
Pro Tip: If you do not want to mess your hands up, you can simply use a glue gun for application which works equally well. However, it is ok to use if there are minor holes while you may want to fix major holes using an applicator or your fingers.
Fixing a Hole in a Shoe using a Fabric
This is one of the best tried and tested and a well-worked a method for fixing a hole in a shoe. This method is even applied by cobblers and is followed by shoe professionals. It may be a little painstaking and requires efficiency and effort at stitching but can work a long way for your favourite pair of shoes to not fall apart. And who knows, if you get a funky fabric, you may even end up setting a new trend with a pair of colorful and patchy shoes.
This works best for shoes that have softer materials and works only for the upper material of the shoes. If the shoe surface is soft, it is easier to stitch and seal the patch on the shoe. It works best on suede skin or sheepskin boots and even mesh fabric or soft leather-like suede.
Here is a list of items that you will need to get started:
- Steam iron
- Needle and Thread
Follow this step by step procedure to fix a hole in a shoe using a fabric:
1. Stuff pieces of newspaper into the shoe
Crumbles of newspaper or any paper pieces make for the best fillers. Simply pile them up and stuff them into the shoes inside the hole surface. This acts as a base for stitching just as we used duct tape as a supportive agent in the previous technique.
2. Buy an appropriate fabric
If you want the patch to match the design or fabric color of the shoes, choose a color that fits best and is not very easily visible. Else, you can always choose a contrasting color if you want to make a style statement with your pair of shoes.
It can look attractive if chosen in contrast depending on how you tend to use the shoe, formal or casual occasions. Some suggestions for fabrics include tartan, leather, and suede that blend well with shoe fabrics as well.
3. Cut a large piece of fabric to cover the hole
The size of the fabric that you cut to fix the hole solely depends upon the size of the hole that needs to be covered. For example, if the hole is too big, you may want to ut some extra fabric to cover the hole properly.
Whereas if the hole is small, you can cut only a small portion for the cloth material to not look weird and mismatched on the surface of your shoe. If your shoes feel out of shape and style, you can always cut an extra piece of cloth to stitch on the other shoe just to maintain the style and for both the pairs to not look different.
4. Align the fabric to the shoe with a pin
Now comes the tricky part, fixing the fabric on the shoe. Make sure that it is neatly aligned to where the hole is present on the shoe. You can always cut multiple fabric sizes to check which one best fits and matches your shoe and hole size.
Make sure to align the placement and fix the position by pinning it on the shoe surface. If you are applying a patch on both the shoes, check the alignment and pin it in the same position as that of the other shoe.
5. Steam iron over the fabric
Now, you can take a damp piece of cloth and place it on the hole and fabric surface. Take a hot iron and press it against the hole area of the shoe. Do this 3-4 times until the fabric is set uniformly and flatten the edges of the patch for 5-10 seconds. Allow it to set and adjust to the shape of your shoe and flatten the cloth patch completely.
6. Sew the patch on the shoe
Once the position is sealed and fixes and the patch is adjusted with heat iron, the next step would be to try your stitching skills on the shoe surface. If you are a novice, it is highly suggested to practice a few times before you set your hands on the shoe. You can always seek help from someone to help you stitch or align the fabric and for a better judgment. Additionally, you can also approach a cobbler who would stitch it for you professionally.
Here, pierce a needle with a thread through the patch of the shoe. Then remove the thread and needle through the other end of the shoe. Similarly, sew the entire patch and continue until the patch has been securely stitched on the surface of the shoe.
Once done, tie the threads with a knot to keep the fabric in place and secure the stitching. You can restitch with a second layer of thread for the patch to last longer on the shoe surface and not fall apart.
For better and secure stitching, you can use different stitching techniques like a catch stitch or slip stitch to create a different design as well as a firm and strong stitch. Make sure to keep the stitch uniform if you are doing it for both pairs of shoes.
Handy tips to think while fixing a hole in your shoe using a fabric patch:
- For the stitches to not be visible, you can choose the color of the thread accordingly to match with the color of the shoes
- Make sure to keep the stitches uniform and not too spaced up to avoid the fabric from tearing apart and be stitched loosely.
How to Prevent Getting Holes in any Shoes
While we suggested a few tips to fix holes in your shoes, a hole in a shoe can happen anywhere, anytime, and is certainly unavoidable. However, one can keep these ideas in mind which can prevent your shoes from getting holes due to wear and tear:
Holes in Toebox:
Toebox is one particular area that is most prone to getting holes and getting torn. The major issue is that most shoes these days are made of mesh fabric that is very lightweight and almost open to making your shoes feel ventilated and make them feel more breathable. However, in the process, the fabric is thinner and fairly easy to come apart. Here is what you can do to prevent them from tearing in the toe region:
- Choose shoes with a deeper toe box
- Visit a cobbler to stitch a patch inside as a preventative measure
- Keep the toenails short to avoid nails from piercing through the fabric
- Choose a tougher material for preventing holes and the shoes to last longer
- Use socks with good padding and thickness
- Lock your heel in better to avoid your legs from slipping into the front section causing it to bulge and tear.
Holes in Collar of the Shoes
It is not the toe box but also other areas of the shoe that are prone to wearing off like the heel and collar section. This is bound to happen as we constantly keep wearing our shoes on and off, due to which, the fabric from the collar section starts wearing off.
Now, here is what you can do to prevent holes in the collar section of the shoes:
- Wear shoes that prevent pronation
- Replace regular insoles with corrective insoles to prevent pronation
- Stitch preventive patches in the heel lining – ask cobbler for professional help
- Tie the shoes properly to have a snug-fitting shoe around the heel section
- Buy heel pads for support
- Use shoe horns to not rub your feet against the collar region of the shoe.
While holes in shoes are inevitable, you can certainly repair them instead of wanting to spend a heavy buck buying a new pair of shoes or spend money at the cobblers. Our methods suggested above to either stitch fabric or use an adhesive are very easy to follow and quick as well as cost-efficient. Moreover, we also suggest some bonus ways of preventing your shoes from getting spoilt or getting holes in the toe box or heel region.
However, it is necessary to invest in quality shoes if you are purchasing one as they are bound to be used roughly in certain or almost any circumstances. Read our tips above and tell us which one worked best for you through the comments section below.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.