Having a shoe sole become unglued can be annoying and inconvenient. But with the right adhesive and technique, you can easily reattach a loose sole and get more wear out of your favorite pair of shoes.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Clean the shoe and sole thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Apply contact cement or shoe glue to both surfaces. Let them dry 5-10 minutes until tacky. Press together firmly for 30 seconds. Weight down shoe overnight while glue sets fully.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to properly glue a shoe sole back on, including which glue to use, how to prepare the surfaces, application tips, drying times, and how to get the strongest bond.

Assess the Damage and Choose the Right Glue

When it comes to gluing a shoe sole, the first step is to assess the damage and determine the best course of action. Start by inspecting the sole and seeing how much of it is detached. Is it just a small section or is the entire sole coming off?

This will help you understand the extent of the repair needed.

Inspect the sole and see how much of it is detached

Take a close look at the sole of your shoe and identify the areas where it has become detached. Is it just a small section, or is the sole completely separated from the shoe? Understanding the extent of the damage will help you determine the appropriate repair method.

Determine if the sole can be reattached or needs replacing

Once you have identified the areas where the sole has detached, you need to assess whether it can be reattached or if it needs to be replaced entirely. If the sole is still in good condition and only a small section is detached, you can likely reattach it with the right glue.

However, if the sole is worn out or damaged beyond repair, it may be necessary to replace it.

Pick shoe glue based on sole material (rubber, leather, etc.)

Choosing the right glue for your shoe sole is crucial to ensure a successful repair. Different types of shoe soles require different adhesive materials. For example, rubber soles require a different glue than leather soles.

It is essential to choose a glue that is specifically designed for the material of your shoe sole to ensure a strong and long-lasting bond.

When selecting the appropriate glue, consider the specific recommendations of the manufacturer. They will usually provide information on whether the glue is suitable for rubber, leather, or other materials.

Additionally, you can also consult online resources or visit a local shoe repair shop for expert advice on the best glue to use.

Remember, using the right glue is key to achieving a successful shoe sole repair. Taking the time to assess the damage and choose the appropriate adhesive will help ensure that your repair lasts and keeps you walking comfortably.

Prepare the Shoe Sole and Upper for Gluing

Use rubbing alcohol and rag to clean sole and upper

Before gluing the shoe sole, it is essential to ensure that both the sole and the upper are clean and free from any dirt or debris. To do this, take a clean rag and dampen it with rubbing alcohol. Gently wipe down the surface of the sole and upper, paying special attention to areas where the glue will be applied.

This step will help remove any oils or residues that could hinder the adhesive’s effectiveness.

Roughen surfaces with sandpaper for better adhesion

To maximize the bond between the shoe sole and upper, it is recommended to roughen the surfaces using sandpaper. Gently sand both the sole and the upper in a back-and-forth motion, creating a slightly rough texture.

This roughened surface will provide more surface area for the adhesive to grip onto, resulting in a stronger bond. However, be cautious not to sand too aggressively, as it can damage the materials.

Apply glue deglazer to strip any old adhesive

If you are regluing a shoe sole that has previously been glued, it is crucial to remove any remnants of the old adhesive. This can be done by applying a glue deglazer, which is specifically designed to strip away old glue and prepare the surface for a fresh bond.

Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the deglazer bottle and ensure that all traces of old adhesive are completely removed before proceeding with the gluing process.

Remember, proper preparation is key to achieving a successful shoe sole glue-up. By cleaning the surfaces with rubbing alcohol, roughening them with sandpaper, and removing any old adhesive with a deglazer, you can ensure a strong and long-lasting bond between the sole and the upper. Happy gluing!

Apply the Adhesive and Clamp Shoe

Spread thin layer of glue on both parts

Before bonding the shoe sole, it is important to apply a thin layer of adhesive to both the sole and the shoe itself. This ensures that the glue is evenly distributed and provides a strong bond. Use a small brush or a toothpick to spread the glue, making sure to cover the entire surface area.

Let glue become tacky for 5-10 minutes before bonding

After applying the adhesive, it is crucial to let it become tacky before bonding the shoe parts together. This allows the glue to reach its optimal bonding strength. Typically, it takes around 5 to 10 minutes for the glue to become tacky, but it’s important to refer to the instructions provided by the glue manufacturer.

Press surfaces together firmly for 30 seconds

Once the glue has become tacky, it’s time to press the surfaces of the shoe together firmly. Apply even pressure for approximately 30 seconds to ensure a secure bond. This step is crucial in creating a long-lasting bond between the shoe sole and the shoe itself.

Use clamps or weight to hold while glue dries fully

After pressing the surfaces together, it is recommended to use clamps or a weight to hold the shoe in place while the glue dries fully. This will prevent any movement or shifting that could weaken the bond.

Leave the shoe undisturbed for the recommended drying time, which can vary depending on the type of adhesive used.

Remember, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by the adhesive manufacturer for best results. Different adhesives may have specific requirements for drying times and application techniques.

If you’re unsure, consult the manufacturer’s website or contact their customer support for guidance.

Wait for Glue to Cure Before Wearing

When gluing a shoe sole, it is important to wait for the glue to fully cure before wearing the shoe. Rushing the process can result in a weak bond, causing the sole to come loose and potentially ruining the shoe. Here are some tips to ensure that you give the glue enough time to cure properly:

Let glue dry overnight before wearing shoe

Most shoe glues require at least 24 hours of drying time to fully cure. It is best to leave the shoe untouched during this period to allow the glue to set and harden properly. Patience is key when it comes to gluing a shoe sole, as a rushed job may not provide the desired results.

Applying heat can help speed cure time

If you are in a rush and need the glue to cure faster, applying heat can help speed up the process. However, it is important to note that not all glues are heat-resistant, so make sure to check the instructions on the glue packaging.

Using a hairdryer on a low setting or placing the shoe near a heat source can help expedite the curing process.

Test strength of bond before walking on shoe

Before confidently walking in your newly repaired shoes, it is crucial to test the strength of the bond. Gently tug on the sole to ensure that it is securely attached to the shoe. If there is any movement or if the bond feels weak, it is best to wait longer for the glue to cure.

Taking the time to properly test the bond will help prevent any mishaps or damage to the shoe.

Remember, gluing a shoe sole requires patience and precision. By following these steps and giving the glue enough time to cure, you can ensure a strong and long-lasting bond between the sole and the shoe.

Tips for Getting the Strongest, Longest-Lasting Bond

Roughen smooth plastic or rubber with sandpaper

When it comes to gluing a shoe sole, one of the most important steps is to ensure that the surface is properly prepared. Smooth plastic or rubber soles can be difficult for glue to adhere to, so it’s recommended to roughen the surface with sandpaper.

This creates a textured surface that allows the adhesive to grip onto the sole more effectively. By taking this simple step, you can significantly increase the strength and longevity of the bond between the sole and the shoe.

Use contact cement for immediate strong bond

Contact cement is a popular choice for gluing shoe soles due to its immediate strong bond. This type of adhesive is designed to create a permanent bond between two surfaces, making it ideal for shoe repairs.

To use contact cement, simply apply a thin layer to both the sole and the shoe, allow it to dry for a few minutes until it becomes tacky, and then press the two surfaces together firmly. The result is a strong and durable bond that will withstand daily wear and tear.

Clean off any old loose glue before applying new adhesive

Before applying any new adhesive to the shoe sole, it’s important to remove any old, loose glue that may be present. This can be done by gently scraping off the old glue using a knife or scraper. Removing the old glue ensures that the new adhesive can bond directly to the sole, rather than sticking to the old glue residue.

By taking the time to clean off any old glue, you’ll ensure a stronger and more reliable bond between the sole and the shoe.

Clamp tightly or weight down while glue sets

Once you’ve applied the adhesive and pressed the sole and shoe together, it’s important to keep them securely in place while the glue sets. This can be done by using clamps or weights to hold the two surfaces together.

By applying pressure, you’re ensuring that the adhesive is evenly distributed and that the bond is as strong as possible. Leave the clamps or weights in place for the recommended drying time specified on the adhesive packaging to ensure a successful and long-lasting bond.


With the right preparation, adhesive selection, and application technique, you can securely re-glue a loose shoe sole and get more wear out of your footwear. Just be sure to take the time to properly clean and roughen the surfaces first, apply an even layer of strong shoe glue, clamp tightly, and let cure fully.

The result will be a long-lasting shoe repair that can withstand plenty of wear and tear.

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