Monday, August 25, 2014

Gear Review: Shoe Goo Repair Adhesive

Tube of Shoe Goo repair adhesive

It seems with each passing day, we are living in a culture more accustomed to disposable goods. Once upon a time, quality shoes were designed to last for many years, though they might involve the occasional trip to the cobbler to be re-soled, re-stitched, or otherwise repaired. Admittedly, these shoes were often made of heavy, durable materials and took forever to break in. Too often today, though, at the first sign of disrepair (what we now ominously call “failure”), shoes are headed to the garbage bin and then the landfill. Often, with just a little bit of time and effort, a shoe’s life can be extended for many months or longer. I’ve found that repairing gear makes me enjoy using it more, too. It feels more personalized, and I feel more invested in it. This is the reason I decided to pick up a tube of Shoe Goo recently in the hopes of repairing my Keen sandals. Shoe Goo has been around since I was a kid, and I remember using it on many a pair of running and basketball shoes. However, it’s been well over a decade since I’ve given it a try, and I was curious to see if it works as well as I remembered. I also assume I’m a little more patient and detail-oriented as an adult, so the chances of a solid repair should be better. Let’s see…

Shoe Goo comes in a pretty generously sized tube 3.7 oz. tube. I a paid just under $7 for mine at Kroger. I suspect I used less than 1/8 of the tube for this repair.

Keen sandals with a tear in footbed

Initial Prep
For this first repair and reacquainting with Shoe Goo, I used one of my Keen Newport H2 sandals. The footbed of the sandal had become ripped around the area where the upper is sewn on. This area proabably receives a ton of stress with each step. The Shoe Goo directions said to apply a generous amount to each area that is to be bonded. It also suggested waiting two minutes before mating two surfaces, which I did. Note, however, that as the glue begins to dry, it becomes rougher and “uglier” upon handling.

Preliminary Clamp
After waiting two minutes, I mated the areas together, wiped off the excess, and clamped the shoe. I wedged a piece of brown paper coated in petroleum jelly between the shoe’s upper and the footbed so that they wouldn’t adhere to each other. I also placed a skim of petroleum jelly on the clamp surface, too, to prevent it from adhering. I then left it clamped for several hours before removing.

12 Hour Touch Ups, 24 Hour Cure Time
The following morning (apprx. 12 hours later) I removed the clamp and paper barrier. The glue seemed to be dry enough to hold its form, but the excess on the outside of the shoe was all roughed up and ugly from being handled. I picked off some of this rough surface and applied a very thin coat of Shoe Goo that I immediately smoothed out over the surface. This dried nice and clear. I waited about 20-30 minutes and did this again to build up a nice, durable skim (the package suggested waiting 3 hours, but I found this excessive.) After 24 hours, the repair appeared to be holding well and looked decent (as if that really matters on these old shoes.)

Finished Repair
So far, the repair has help up perfectly well with no signs of failing. My initial impression is that Shoe Goo works as well as I remember from childhood. This, however, is only about a week after making the repair (though I’ve worn the shoes every day since.) I’ll update this post if (or when) this repair fails to give an idea of the life span. I also have some other small shoe repairs to work on, and perhaps I’ll add a few notes about those later.

REI for $6; Amazon for $6.53

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