Vans are not the cheapest of shoes to go boarding in but hey, they feel good, grip well and look the part. but what happens when your Vans or other skate shoes become a casualty of the sport? The good folks at Vans have wised up and will not refund you on your damaged pair of shoes.
This leaves us with two choices. Throw them and never look back or become the ultimate fighting skate shoe repairer. The good news is that your shoes can be repaired with some thought, effort and cunning. Let’s face it, wrapping a roll of duct tape around them may hold them together but again not a good look.
Let’s Start You On Your Shoe Repair Journey
Your inner sensei will help guide you through the process, but the very first step in the journey is to perform some triage. If you are going to get busy fixing shoes, you may as well dig through your cupboard and see what else can be revived with your new found skills that you are about to find.
Tears in your canvas sides
Tears happen, we choose to live our life on the dangerous edge of a board so they are bound to happen at some stage or another. If you have a tear it can be fixed.
Clean the infected area by using small sharp scissors to carefully cut away any loose strands that may be there. Do what you can to make your tear as smooth and as neat as possible.
Use some duct tape, or another type of tape and apply a piece on the inside so that when holding the shoe up the tear looks like it is part of the shoe again. Grab some clear glue,
Shoe Goo works really well and carefully smooth some of it along the edge of the tear making sure that you feather the glue onto the outside of the tear so that when it dries the tear will once again be bound together with the rest of the canvas.
Put the shoe to one side to dry after making sure that you very carefully wipe any excess glue from the area of the operation. Make sure that you have a hand inside the shoe to give pressure to the inside of the tear.
This will make sure that you accidentally push the tear back through to the inside of the shoe leaving you to start over.
Leave the shoe in a warm dry area to dry. In an act of unselfish brotherhood, leave the second shoe without for the company – Sole brothers. Check the shoe in a day or so to see if the glue has dried firmly and that the tear has bonded to the surrounding fabric.
If done carefully you should now have a shoe worthy of wearing again. Skateboarders everywhere shout in victory and applause you wildly. The trick is now to head back to the park and run through your routines without anyone being the wiser for your close call.
Getting Your Sole Patched
Most shoes these days are going to give up somewhere if they are worn hard enough, and let’s face it we didn’t buy them to be soft.
One of the more frequent repairs that need our attention is when the glue between the sole and the base of the shoe decides that its had enough and starts to try to pull away from you.
While this is an easy repair to make, we want to only have to make it once – And once only. If you notice that the sole of your shoe, whether it be the heel or the toe is starting to fade and the adhesive is breaking down and pulling away, your urgent attention is required post haste.
No one looks cool with half of the bottom of their shoe flapping away, and when you are on your board, if it flaps enough it is going to pull away enough for it to double over and create an issue on your landings.
The fix is obviously to apply more adhesive. Most people are down with that, however, the unknown truth is that there is one glue that is superior to all others and one that a shoe sense holds in the highest regard.
Its name is never revealed to the uninitiated, but seeing as it’s you reading this, I can reveal the sacred name. Gorilla Glue. The beauty of this glue is that it is 100% waterproof which is pretty handy for a shoe, as well as being incredibly strong.
One of the major facts of Gorilla Glue is that it becomes stronger when the two surfaces that it has been tasked with holding together are different. So, in this case, the rubber of the sole and the compound of the body of the shoe are a good mix when it comes to applying our Gorilla Glue.
The secret is not to lather on a whole heap, instead keep to the shadows and simply apply a light but the complete covering of the glue making sure that both the heel and toe edges are covered.
Now, all we do is sit and wait right? Well yes, but to be a little more sensei, applying some light weight to the shoe will assist the bond. Now don’t get all lets put 4 balling balls on top of each other to give it some weight, what you are actually looking for is to make sure that there is no possibility for the edges of the sole to lift slightly, or curl, so again a light weight just to make sure that there is a slight compress between the two.
Glue is your weapon of choice when it comes to shoe repair, and using the above techniques you can also perform the below 3 fixes.
Re adhering the insides of your shoes when the internal lining begins to come apart – Use the glue method discussed when repairing tears.
A few ways to fix damaged skate shoes
One quick method is to simply plug up the holes.
A product like All Star Gum can be a life saver for skaters as you can make your shoes last longer.
It works by resisting grip friction so there is less wear on the shoe when ollying or rubbing against the board.
It’s a matter of personal taste if you want to use something like this but for those on a budget it can come in handy.
For the hole in the sole, again we turn to our trusty Gorilla Glue. First sandpaper down any uneven edges and then pull out the interior of the sole. Use Gorilla glue to fill up the hole. Don’t squeeze too hard, just slowly fill the hole up and then reinsert the sole and put to one sire sole upwards.
Leave in a warm dry area and check in a day or so. The Gorilla Glue will have hardened into the solid state and will have now closed the hole and will keep it waterproof. After a day of wearing your shoes, you won’t notice the hole as the glue would have worn slightly to mimic the flex of the shoe.
For cracks in the sole – Do you really need me to say it? Go grab the Gorilla Glue and use it to slowly fill the cracks, making sure that you wipe off any excess adhesive. Just like the hole in the sole above, this will fill the cracks while keeping the integrity of the sole.
I hope that the above has been a life-altering experience for you and that you are now ready to brave all future shoe casualties in your stride. Skate and Conquer.