Quick Fixes for Hikers: Repair a Separated Sole

Don’t let a minor malfunction ruin your big trek. Learn to patch a sleeping bag, glue together a boot, and make four more simple repairs that everyone should master before setting foot on the trail.

    Photo: Keith Ellwood/Flickr

The situation: After spending a cozy night with your feet propped up by the campfire, you wake up in the morning to find the sole of your boot has separated from the upper. The nearest resoler is a long ways away. How do you continue your trek?

The fix:
If you packed a tube of Shoe Goo and can spare a day, the sticky adhesive let you tack your shoe back together. Make sure the surface is dry and clean of all dirt before applying the glue to both the top of the sole and the bottom of the upper. Wait about five minutes before bringing the surfaces together. Push down so the boot sits flush with the sole, and wait 24 hours. Keep in mind low temperatures will increase cure time.

If the thought of sitting in camp all day induces cabin fever, forgo the goo—which also adds weight to your pack—for an extra pair of shoelaces. Peggy Battershill, owner of Rocky Mountain Resole, has seen shoes jury-rigged with laces and duct tape to keep the sole from falling off. It’s not a permanent fix, but should get you off the trail and into a shop.

Even boots just sitting in the closet will eventually delaminate, but there are a few ways to delay the inevitable. Keep the shoes away from hot places—don’t prop them up by the campfire or leave them in a hot car—and go for a test walk before hitting the trail.

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