A hole can appear in shoes due to recurring friction in the same place. The rubbing of your foot with the surface of the shoe can damage not only your skin but the shoe fabric too.
Many of us have our favorite pair of shoes or “the chosen ones,” and unfortunately, it’s likely they can develop holes due to the amount of usage they incur. You may not be ready to let go of them just yet and are looking to extend their lifetime—at least for a couple of days or weeks.
Let’s learn some basic hacks on how to fix holes in shoes and the easiest materials to repair them. Before that, we need to know the types of shoe materials to fix them accordingly.
5 Common Materials Used To Make Shoes
Understanding the types of materials shoes are made from will help you figure out the best options for maintenance.
Leather is durable, flexible, water-resistant and breathable, making it a common material used by shoemakers. Tears and holes are common in leather shoes if the material splits. To prevent this, apply a leather conditioner to the shoes once a month to keep the material supple.
Textiles can offer many options for colors, varieties and textures for shoes, making them another common material for uppers. They vary in durability and breathability, meaning some can develop holes more easily than others.
Some of the most used textiles for shoes are:
Synthetic materials are supportive but affordable, making them a popular option for sports footwear. They also offer a variety of colors and textures.
The main characteristic of synthetic leather is that it’s less durable compared to the ones mentioned above and tends to degrade faster. You’ll get holes, cracks and peeling that’s more difficult to repair, so these shoes will need replacing more often.
Rubber is a popular material for the soles of shoes, as they can be worn in all weather and provide good traction on wet surfaces. It’s a durable material but slowly wears away level by level like an eraser, so if you tend to drag your feet, you may develop holes.
Foam is commonly used as midsoles—this works as a comfort and ventilation feature in shoes and sports shoes. It’s possible to get tears and holes in this area, which should be simple enough to repair.
How To Fix Holes in Shoes: The Different Options
The part you’ve been waiting for. To fix your favorite pair of shoes, you need to consider if it’s the upper material or the sole that needs repairing. We have methods for all options below.
Although they’re popular in formal wear, leather boots are also common for work and safety. If you’re desperate to fix your leather shoes that you wear on a daily basis, here are some useful hacks.
- Waterproof leather glue.
- Piece of scrap leather or releather in the same color as your shoes.
- Clean your boots thoroughly and allow them to dry.
- Rough the surface with the sandpaper—only in the area you will treat.
- Measure and cut a strip of leather large enough to cover the hole and reach across your shoes from sole to sole.
- Spread glue across the back of the leather strip, making sure to cover every section, especially the edges.
- Place the strip on the shoes, pressing from inside the shoe and outside.
- Allow to dry overnight.
- Polish the shoes before you wear them.
Note: The strip will be noticeable, but you may be able to design it in a way (e.g., the same on both shoes) to make it look attractive. After all, it’s better than holes in your shoes, right?
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also cover the hole with polymorph as a replacement for the leather strips.
Polymorph is better known as a biodegradable polyester that can be reshaped many times. It has a low melting point, and when dry, it forms a tough plastic.
To try this option, follow steps 1 and 2 mentioned above. Now follow the next steps:
- Melt the polymorph pellets in hot water in a metallic container, and once it gets to a manageable temperature, shape it into a rivet.
- Spread the material in the affected area, covering the hole.
- Cut the edges and let it seal for 30 minutes until it becomes white in color and is completely dry.
- With a stick or a toothpick, push the glue so that the poly glues to the shoe. This will also work as a “seal” for this.
- Let it dry for no less than 2 hours; it’s better to leave it overnight if possible.
- Sand the area again once it’s dry.
- Dye the area according to the color of your shoe.
If your leather shoes are only cracked, check out our guide on How to Repair Cracked Leather Boots.
If your shoes are made of cotton, polyester, wool or nylon, you can either repair the fabric or add a patch.
- Shoe repair glue.
- Patches of your choice.
- Clean around the hole and trim any excess material.
- Select two patches of the same size—one for the outside and one for the inside of the shoe. This will strengthen the area around the hole.
- Some patches already feature adhesive; others will need a thin layer of glue.
- Place the first patch on the inside of the shoe under the hole, glue side up.
- Then place the second patch over the hole, glue side down.
- Allow to dry overnight before wearing.
Some textiles are soft and easy to handle, and if the hole is small enough, you can fix it with a needle and thread. Simply sew up the hole in the same way as any other fabric, or sew a patch over the hole.
- Paper towels and a cloth.
- Waterproof glue.
- Duct tape or weather sealing tape.
- Ice cube.
- Remove any excess material around the edge of the hole using the sandpaper.
- Clean and dry the sole with a wet cloth and paper towels before starting.
- Use the sandpaper to work the edges of the hole to help with the glue to adhere better.
- On the inside, remove or lift up the insole.
- Place some insulating tape over the hole in the interior of the shoe. Be sure to cover it properly so that the glue will not infiltrate.
- Fill the hole from the outside with glue—be generous.
- Use an ice cube to spread the glue evenly. The glue won’t stick to the ice, and it will help it to set.
- Let it dry for at least 24 hours. Once dry, remove the tape and put the insole back in the shoe.
- Take the sandpaper and smooth the sole to make a uniform surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Keep Getting Holes in My Shoes?
There are several reasons why you may keep getting holes in your shoes, but the most common is friction and excessive movement of the foot inside the shoes. This is why runners commonly experience holes in the toe box and heels.
Try to buy shoes with more room in the toe box to allow your foot space to move forwards as you walk. As another measure, you can add shoe hole prevention inserts before any holes occur.
What Kind of Glue Can I Use To Repair My Shoes?
Any shoe glue or waterproof glue can work. The most popular are Shoe Goo and Gorilla.
How Do You Fix Worn-Out Sneakers?
If your sneakers have holes in the sole or the uppers, both can be fixed. In the case of the sole, use glue to fill the hole using the steps above.
If the hole is in the fabric, you can either sew the hole or apply patches in the area using glue.
Can Leather Shoes Be Fixed?
Leather shoes with cracks and holes can be repaired. You can apply either leather strips, leather patches or repair the hole using a strong material such as polymorph.
All shoes require maintenance, and a brief check will help determine any wear before holes are created. In this case, add a patch to strengthen the area and prevent a full hole from being created.
If it’s already too late, all the options on how to fix holes in shoes offered here are easy to follow and with materials that are easy to acquire. Make sure to take note of the material in order to select the best option to fix it.
Last but not least, if the shoes are severely damaged, it might be best to take them to a shoe specialist or replace them.