How to Replace Heels on Boots

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When the heel comes off of your boot, your first instinct might be to chuck the boots entirely. Instead, try reattaching the heel with a few specialty tools available at your local shoe repair. If you don’t already own things like shoe glue, shoe nails and a tack hammer, they’ll come in handy for future shoe repairs and small household craft projects.

Things You'll Need

  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Shoe cleaner or polish
  • Shoe glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Clean rag
  • Shoe nails
  • Tack hammer
  • Cushioned insole insert

Buff the heel’s broken surface with 200-grit sandpaper. You want to create an even surface for the glue to stick to, without taking away much of the heel’s raw material.

Buff the point of attachment on the shoe body, with the sandpaper.

Clean the exteriors of the heel and shoe before reattaching them; you won’t want to apply the pressure of cleaning on a newly attached heel. Apply cleaner or polish with a damp cloth, then wipe off.

Check for shoe nails that are still attached to the body of the shoe. If their points are sticking out, coat them with glue. If none of the shoe nails is still in place, coat the heads of new shoe nails with shoe glue and press them up into the body of the shoe, filling the holes left by the old nails. Coat their tips with glue.

Cover the heel and the point of attachment with shoe glue. Use a small paintbrush to make sure the whole surface is coated well.

Press the heel into the body of the shoe. Make sure it’s aligned in its original position.

Hold the heel in place for two to three minutes, applying constant, gentle pressure to the heel and body of the shoe.

Use a clean rag to wipe away any excess glue.

Allow the glue to set according to the instructions on the label, then test the heel’s strength by pulling it lightly.

Reinforce a still-wobbly heel by hammering additional shoe nails into the heel from the sole. Make sure that the nail heads lay flat against the footbed; if you can’t get them to lay entirely flat, cover them with an insole cushion to protect your foot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use super glue or craft glue in place of shoe glue. Only shoe glue dries as a rubber sealant. Craft glue can dissolve in water, leaving your boots vulnerable during wet weather.

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