Repairing Leather Shoes with Torn Leather – Leather shoes can last for years if properly cared for. However, daily wear and tear can cause leather to become damaged or torn over time. Instead of throwing away a great pair of leather shoes at the first sign of damage, it’s often possible to repair torn leather and extend the life of the shoes. With a few simple tools and techniques, you can fix tears, holes, and other damage in leather shoes and have them looking great again.
Repairing Leather Shoes with Torn Leather
Start by thoroughly examining the area that needs repair. Look at the size, shape, and position of any rips, tears or holes. Also note the condition of the surrounding leather. If the leather is cracked or brittle, the repair may be more difficult. Carefully clean the area with a soft brush and mild soap and water to remove any dirt or debris before attempting the repair.
Prepare the Leather
Use fine-grit sandpaper to gently rough up the surface of the damaged leather area and a bit of the surrounding area. This helps the repair blend into the existing leather. Avoid sanding too aggressively as you don’t want to thin the surrounding leather. After sanding, wipe the area with a clean damp cloth.
Select Your Repair Materials
For small holes and tears under 1 inch, an applicator tip glue works well for bonding the leather pieces back together. For larger holes, patches made from pieces of scrap leather make a more durable repair. You’ll also need wax paper, leather shears or sharp scissors, rubber bands or clamps, and a leather hole punch if using a patch. Select threads and/or adhesives designed specifically for leather repair.
Glue Small Holes Shut
Apply a thin layer of flexible leather glue around the inside of the hole using the applicator tip. Gently push the leather pieces together until they bond. Place wax paper over the repair and use clamps or rubber bands to apply steady pressure as the glue sets per the product directions. Remove bands and paper once dry. Apply a thin layer of glue over the top of the repair and let dry completely. Buff with fine grit sandpaper once dried to smooth the area.
Sew or Patch Larger Holes
For larger holes and tears, cut a patch piece slightly larger than the hole out of scrap leather using sharp shears. Use a leather hole punch to make holes around the edges of the patch about 1/8” in from the edge and spaced about 1⁄4” apart. Make sure the patch holes align with the area around the hole/tear on the shoe. Apply adhesive to the back of the patch and around the hole on the shoe. Place the patch over the hole and secure with sewing thread, stitches about 1/8” apart. Or, simply glue the patch into place without sewing by applying firm pressure for several hours until fully bonded.
Seal and Finish the Repair
Once the repair is complete, use a leather sealant or balm around the stitches or edges of the patch to help blend it into the surrounding leather. Buff and polish the area with creams and wax to nourish the leather. With proper care, your repaired leather shoes should hold up well and continue looking great.
With a few basic tools and materials, repairing small to medium tears and holes in leather shoes is usually a simple process. Pay attention to properly preparing the area, using quality adhesives and patches, and neatly finishing the repair. With some care and technique, you can often fix damaged leather shoes for a fraction of the cost of replacing them, while still having great looking footwear.