How to Repair Sperry Shoes

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to Repair Sperry Shoes
Worn Sperry soles may cause a slip on a wet boat deck. (motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from

You can repair a broken pair of Sperry shoes to restore their look and improve your comfort. Leather boat shoes like Sperry Topsiders are popular among the yachting and country club crowd and are often considered a staple of preppy style. Some Sperry shoe wearers develop a special relationship with their broken-in pair of soft leather boat shoes. Get more wear from your favourite pair of Sperry shoes by making minor or major repairs to enhance their functionality.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Needle nose pliers (optional)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Towel
  • Shoe trees
  • Upholstery thread
  • Upholstery needle
  • Thimble
  • 1 pair leather laces (1/8 inch square)
  • Padded insert
  • Scissors
  • Leather conditioner

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  1. 1

    Remove the insole and leather laces from the Sperry shoes, if they are still intact. Some older models of Sperry shoes have leather soles that are not removable. Laces that break apart when they are pulled may require needle nose pliers to remove every last piece.

  2. 2

    Apply a few drops of liquid dish soap to a moistened brush and clean all the surfaces of the Sperry shoes. Add a few more drops of liquid dish soap and rinse the brush with hot water to develop a good lather on the shoes.

  3. 3

    Rinse the shoes under hot running water to wash away all the soap residue. Pat the Sperry shoes dry with a clean towel and set them to dry out completely in a warm place that is out of direct sunlight. Insert adjustable shoe trees to keep the drying leather from shrinking as it dries.

  4. 4

    Replace lost stitching on the shoe using matching colour upholstery thread. Reuse the holes created by the original threading as much as possible. A thimble is helpful when pushing the needle through two layers of leather.

  5. 5

    Lace the Sperry shoes with a new set of matching colour, squared leather laces and slide in a pair of new padded insoles. Cut universal insoles to size with a pair of scissors for a comfortable fit. Tie the laces before trimming away excess length.

  6. 6

    Condition the leather with a leather treatment product according to the manufacturers directions. Some conditions are designed to restore a specific colour to leather. Select the leather product that is right for your shoes by consulting a shoe store or shoe repair shop with the shoes in hand.

Tips and warnings

  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of cornstarch under the insole of each shoe if they make squeaking noises.
  • Eraser sponges like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser work well to return a dingy grey rubber sole to a clean white.
  • Internet companies and shoe repair shops are able to resole Sperry boat shoes that have lost all their tread or worn through.
  • See the link in Resources to resole a pair of Sperry shoes.

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