How to repair a shoe with rubber cement

Written by eva talent
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How to repair a shoe with rubber cement
Rubber cement can repair moderately to severely damaged shoes. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Shoes that are torn or those with separated soles can be repaired with rubber cement. Rubber cement is made of latex polymers designed to stick together two pieces of rubber. However, rubber cement can be used to create a waterproof and temporary coating over holes in the fabric or leather part of shoes, if painted on and allowed to dry. Rubber cement can also serve as a protectant to prevent wear and tear on shoes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rubber cement
  • Napkin/paper towel

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  1. 1

    Estimate the size of the hole. Cut or tear a napkin or piece of paper towel in the approximate shape of the hole. This piece should be twice the size of the hole.

  2. 2

    Place the torn napkin or paper towel inside the shoe, aligning it with the hole.

  3. 3

    Brush one thick coat of rubber cement over the hole on the outside of the shoe. The most effective method to cover the hole is by using long, steady strokes. Ensure the rubber cement is coating the napkin or paper towel and a 1- to 2-inch area surrounding the hole.

  4. 4

    Allow rubber cement to dry for three to four hours.

  5. 5

    Apply a second thick coat over the original area. Allow to dry for three to four hours. Once two coats of rubber cement have dried on a shoe, it can be worn.

  1. 1

    Remove any dirt or debris from between the sole and the body of the shoe. Dirt and debris will prevent the rubber cement from adhering properly.

    How to repair a shoe with rubber cement
    Soles can be reattached using rubber cement. (old corrupted shoe image by Pavol Kmeto from
  2. 2

    Apply a thick coating of rubber cement to the exposed area of the sole.

  3. 3

    Press the sole firmly to the shoe, applying pressure for one to two minutes.

  4. 4

    Place the shoe on a flat surface with a heavy object on top of it. This allows rubber cement to properly adhere in the correct places. Leave the shoe alone for 48 hours. After 48 hours, the shoe is fit to wear.

Tips and warnings

  • Rubber cement produces strong fumes, so work in a well-ventilated area when applying it to shoes.

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