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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Using Shoe Goo to repair running shoes

I go through my running shoes rather quickly, since I like lightweight (thin-soled) shoes and I wear the insides first thanks to my funky feet and bunions. In order to save some shoe-money,  I decided to try to extend the life of my nearly-dead New Balance shoes by using Shoe Goo. A trail runner I know uses it on all his shoes, but kind of preemptively. I wasn't sure how to go about saving a pair of shoes with it.
You can buy Shoe Goo online or at a hardware store. I walked to the True Value on Oak street, where I accidentally wandered onto a movie set and got yelled at. *sigh* Hollywood South, y'all! The Goo costs about $5.
The Goo
My shoes were pretty worn when I started:
You can actually see white foam THROUGH the gray outsole, it's so worn!
Try #1: I spread a thin layer of Goo on the worn areas with a plastic knife. Then I started hallucinating about purple ducks until I had the bright idea to put the shoes outside. This stuff is stinky! You have to spread the goo quickly as it starts to set immediately. After two days of drying (to be on the safe side), I took my shoes out for a 9-miler.
Results? Not good. Everything I applied was worn off or peeling!
The toe area wore off; the heels peeled.
Try #2. I realized that the layer of Goo I'd used was too thin to make up for the severe wearing on my shoes. I peeled off any remaining shreds of goo and tried again. This time around, first I roughed up to surface with a serrated knife since I was out of sandpaper and was too scared to venture back to Oak street. Then I squeezed lots of Goo onto the area, spreading it as I went. The Goo starts to set in just a few minutes, so once the surface was set I pressed in indentations where the treads used to be.
Thick Goo layer

I waited a day to be sure the Goo was completely dry before I wore the shoes for several runs. After about 40 miles they look like this:
After use, the Goo gets opaque. Notice no more white foam showing through!

The Goo is obviously taking some pressure, but it's holding for now. There is some lifting at the edges.  As for feel, I really didn't notice that there was anything different about the sole. The shoes didn't feel brand-new, but they also aren't continuing to wear.One thing I should mention is that the dried Goo makes horribly squeaky soles, so I sound like a one-man high school basketball game when I walk on my wood floors. Also I would estimate you can treat two pairs of shoes from one tube of Goo, so it costs $2.50 a pair. Or $1.25 a shoe...
So, my recommendation? Apply it sooner rather than later and you can probably get a few more months out of your shoes. For $5 it's worth it, but don't expect miracles. I'll use it on my shoes, but I will also rotate Goo'd shoes with newer pairs.
Have you ever used Shoe Goo? Would you try it, or are you skittish about messing with your running treads?

12 comments:

  1. Oh wow, you're WAY more brave than I am!! As soon as I hit about 400 miles on my shoes (way before the tread goes out) my legs start to get sore. I think it is beacuse of the padding wearing out.

    Now, I know that this is 105% in my head, but I swap 'em out and call it good.

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  2. I am pretty skittish about messing with my running treads since they are so brand new. I will see how long my shoes last. I might consider getting the goo for the next pair.

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  3. i've never even heard of this stuff.

    i am running in shoes that are over a year old... is it that bad to be running on the white foam? :)

    (i used to be all "every 500-ish miles" but my legs don't seem to be aching any more than normal so i figure why buy new ones)

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  4. I've been "gluing" my running shoes for over a decade. Use "polyurethane" construction adhesive. It grabs the sole better, is not as smelly, wears like iron, and even costs less! Use a calking gun and putty knife (Caution: wear gloves!) J.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing this! I am kinda' desperate as I am a walker who uses "minimalist" shoeing to the extreme.... The next best thing to barefeet?.... water shoes! I LOVE walking in these! BUT the soles are NOT made for such heavy duty walking and wear very quickly (the rubber must be softer). I can literally take my shoe and roll it up. It's THAT flexible - which is great for walking but proves to be a softer less wearing sole. *sigh* I am going to try out your suggestion on my water/walking shoes. THANX!

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    2. Thanks for sharing this! I am kinda' desperate as I am a walker who uses "minimalist" shoeing to the extreme.... The next best thing to barefeet?.... water shoes! I LOVE walking in these! BUT the soles are NOT made for such heavy duty walking and wear very quickly (the rubber must be softer). I can literally take my shoe and roll it up. It's THAT flexible - which is great for walking but proves to be a softer less wearing sole. *sigh* I am going to try out your suggestion on my water/walking shoes. THANX!

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  5. How much weight does the goo add to each shoe? Will it bond the soles back unto the uppers if they are becoming "unglued"?

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  6. Anonymous: Very little weight, less than an ounce. It is ideal for reattaching soles to uppers, etc. In fact it's an all-around excellent epoxy for high-wear items like boots, strollers, book bags, etc.

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  7. Its not an epoxy! Epoxies are two-part adhesives. This is a single component adhesive. All adhesives/glues are not epoxies!

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  8. 20 years ago as a young aspiring skateboarder, with little money, shoe goo was a resource to increase longevity out of our skate shoes. We would goo the side of the shoes, heal, and any holes. I haven’t thought about shoo goo since. Until lately I have been training for a half marathon, and my Nike air max 360 seem to wear unevenly on the soles. I have been getting about 15 runs of 12 miles max. When the sole wears exposing the air bubble, the shoes are basically history.
    I am going to give shoe goo another shot, thanks. Found it on ebay for about $5.50 for 3.5 oz tube. Also discussed was the "polyurethane" construction adhesive. Im also going to give that a try. Thanks for the help!

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  9. That's a great idea! I've been looking for a company that offers sole repair in Lasalle, IL, but I might have to try fixing it with some shoe goo first. My shoe is in pretty rough shape, though, so I'm not sure how it will turn out.

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