It is common for shoe soles to unexpectedly come off even with minimal use.
Most shoe soles naturally degrade with time, but under certain conditions, shoe soles may degrade at a faster rate. Read on to learn how to protect shoe soles for extended wear and save on regular replacement or new purchase costs.
9 Genius Hacks to Protect Shoe Soles
Whether you’re dealing with leather shoes for men or high heels for women, the soles always need protection. Here are 9 genius hacks you can try to protect your shoe soles.
1. Store your shoes in a cool and well-aerated space
To protect your shoe soles, store them in a dark, cool, dry, and aerated place. It might sound simple, but avoiding sunlight and damp places can make a world of a difference.
Too much sunlight removes moisture from shoe soles, especially those made of leather. This makes them brittle and less capable of handling mechanical abrasion or supporting your weight.
Similarly, too much moisture encourages mold growth and accelerates wear and tear on shoe soles. You wouldn’t want molded soles now, would you?
It’s true that shoe repair businesses have figured out a way to repair molded soles, however, it’s best to avoid them in the first place. Keep your shoes in a cool and dry place.
2. Install clear vinyl sole protectors
If you want to add a layer of protection to your shoe soles, installing clear, vinyl sole protectors are the way to go. Not only are they not noticeable but they are also easy to apply.
Vinyl sheet protectors are clear and self-adhesive. Think of them as an invisible shield for your shoe soles. They are perfect for protecting the entire bottom of your shoes.
Installing vinyl sole protectors requires you to cut the shape of your shoes. You also need to make sure the bottom is very clean and free of debris, otherwise, it will be stuck inside the layer.
Cobblers are the best to apply sole protectors for a guaranteed excellent finish, but it isn’t something you can’t handle. Replace sole protectors once worn out as many times as you prefer.
However, keep in mind that installing a clear vinyl sole protector will take away the traction of your sneakers. It might be a little slippery, but it’s good enough for the task.
3. Use rubber taps
Shoe soles typically wear out, starting at a specific heel edge for most people. This destroys the shape of the sole and spreads out pressure unevenly, leading to faster degradation.
One of the easiest ways to guard your shoe soles against everyday wear and tear is with rubber soles and shoe taps. Affixed to the heel and sole of your shoes, these simple items will minimize the damage caused by walking, especially if your shoes have leather soles.
For best results, add the rubber taps at the point where your shoe soles wear out first.
The rubber taps correct the uneven shape of the sole, allowing for even pressure distribution, which guarantees uniform and slower shoe sole degradation.
Just remember to replace the rubber taps when they’re worn out. It is important to note that most rubber taps have tiny pins or nails for fastening on the shoe soles.
While choosing rubber taps, ensure the fastening pins or nails are not too long (like this product), as these will pierce through the shoe soles and get to your feet.
4. Clean your shoe soles regularly
Cleaning shoe soles helps remove dirt and chemical abrasion agents that may erode the sole. However, please do not put your shoes in the washing machine to avoid damage.
Here’s how to effectively clean your shoe soles without reducing their lifespan:
Dust them lightly or gently hit them with a broom to remove loosely attached debris. Use a tiny soft brush (or an old toothbrush with soft bristles) to scrape out tightly lodged debris.
Once all the debris is gone, clean the stains using a soft brush and a detergent solution. For this step, be sure to only use cold water and a soft laundry detergent.
Sometimes not all stains clear out.
For stubborn stains, mix some baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it to the stained parts. Leave it for at least 25 minutes, then wash away the paste.
5. Use anti-slip shoe pads
Anti-slip pads can be helpful for any shoe with a slippery bottom. For some people, the soles wear out most at the ball of the foot-this is the area just below your toenails.
There are anti-slip pads for high heels and anti-slip pads for men’s leather shoes.
These pads come with adhesive, but this is not always sufficient to guarantee they’ll stick to the shoe soles. It is best to scrape it off and use a stronger adhesive (like Gorilla Glue).
Apply shoe pads when the shoe soles have worn out a bit to allow for a proper fitting. If the shoes are still new, wear them for a while to determine the points that wear out fastest.
6. Apply waterproofing cream or spray on your leather shoe soles
Waterproofing shoes is a great method to protect their soles.
Excessive moisture can encourage mold growth on leather shoes if they’re not regularly cleaned and stored properly. It can also accelerate wear on the shoe soles.
To avoid this, spray or apply waterproofing cream to your shoes, including the soles, before venturing out into wet terrain. You can also use conditioning cream or spray on your leather shoes to ensure they don’t lose too much moisture and become brittle.
7. Wear your shoes regularly
It may seem like wearing shoes regularly is counterproductive to protecting the soles, but it’s not. Most people store their favorite shoes more than they wear them to preserve them for longer.
However, when you store shoes for extended periods without use, their soles may become brittle and wear out even faster when brought out of storage, compared to when worn.
8. Wear shoes as intended by the manufacturer
There are shoes explicitly manufactured for hiking, jogging or running, working in the office, and working in high-risk environments like factories. Different materials are used to make these shoe soles depending on the type of terrain, comfort, and aesthetics required.
Shoe soles for hard terrain activities, i.e., safety shoes, are made using polyurethane (PU) solid. This type offers the best protection and is the most durable in harsh terrain.
Soles made from leather or Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) can’t handle abrasion as much in such terrain and naturally will degrade faster than when used in an office or gym setting.
So, wear your shoes as intended.
Don’t wear dress shoes for running and don’t wear sneakers for hiking on wet terrain. As long as you wear them properly, the soles should last as long as they should.
9. Patch wear and tear using Shoe GOO
Inevitably, shoe soles will sustain damage over time. If you see holes and cracks in your shoe soles, the best thing you can do is to patch them up using Shoe GOO.
Shoe GOO is ideal for fixing worn soles or damaged heels, coating shoes to prevent premature wear, and sealing galoshes, waders, or rubber boots. The unique formula is designed for strong abrasion resistance and better adhesion to flexible materials.
When it hardens, Shoe GOO feels very rubber-like and is mostly clear. It then seems very strong and holds on to the shoe bottom surprisingly well.
And there you have it, 9 methods to protect shoe soles.
By protecting your shoe soles, they will in turn protect your feet. They are crucial in guaranteeing your feet’s protection from the elements, comfort, and maintaining the shoe’s aesthetics.
Repeated exposure to certain elements like excessive moisture and thermal heat from ultraviolet light may cause rapid degradation of shoe soles.
However, regular cleaning, maintenance, and proper storage can help reduce the effects of these elements and ensure your soles remain intact for a long time.