Skate shoes are expensive and destroying your gear is an inherent part of the learning process. That said, being aware of it doesn’t make less painful the fact of tearing a hole in your last purchased pair of shoes.
If you skate regularly, you’ll go through shoes rather quickly. That’s when knowing how to fix your shoes could save you quite some money. Either by prepping them beforehand or repairing them after hand.
Here are all techniques I’ve used during the years to make my skate shoes last longer, prepare to get your hand dirty (especially when applying RipCare).
How to Repair Skate Shoes Once they’re Destroyed
You didn’t take preemptive measures to make your shoes last longer? Don’t worry, there are plenty of way to fix them to ride them a few more sessions. If you do it right, it’s totally worth it.
Tip: Never throw away your old skate shoes. You can use them to cut out suede patches and fix your skate shoes. Not aesthetically pleasing, but it works like a charm.
Cardboard Piece and Tape
The good old combo of cardboard and tape is the cheapest way to fix his shoes. Quick and easy to set-up, this technique doesn’t require patching up the shoe directly.
Instead, you want to wrap up a piece of cardboard over your sock around the area of the shoe that teared up. However, as it is the cheapest way of skating with beat-up shoes, you’ll have to repeat the process before, and sometimes in between, every session.
Pro Tip: Always take a piece of shoe box with you so you have an easy fix in any circumstances — when you’re tired of ripping your socks and skin.
Shoe-Goo/Hot Glue/RipCare and Suede
A better and more cost-efficient way of patching a hole in your shoes consist of using shoe-goo — or any type of hot glue, really — coupled with a piece of suede, that you can cut out from old pair of shoes.
- Apply a thin layer of shoe-goo over and around the area to fix
- Put a piece of an old shoe over the hole
- Cover the patch with yet another layer of glue
This can last a few sessions depending on the application of the patch. Pro Tip: Do this in the evening so that there’s enough time for the glue to dry out before riding them the next day.
If the shoe has large tears try to combine RipCare, a suedw patch, and shoe Goo. Fill the hole with RipCare and let it dry, 12 hours later you can patch it up with shoe goo and suede. Use a spatula (comes with RipCare) to prevent the sticky stuff getting all over your hands.
Adhesive Shoe Patch
Adhesive shoe patch is a great ready-to-go method to fix up sneakers and skate shoes. The brand TrickTape even commercialized shoe patches specifically designed for the practice of skateboarding. Made off 100% recycled synthetic suede, the sticky patches will last quite a few sessions without messing up with your flick — which is a big plus.
There’s no particular technique here. Apply the patch at the horizontal and let it stick for a few minutes before you can ride free.
How to Fix Every Type of Hole on a Skate Shoe
There are three principal areas of the shoe that interact with the grip tape when doing skateboard tricks. One will rip out before the other two depending on the type of skating you do and the tricks you’re working on.
How to Repair a Kickflip Hole
The kickflip area is by far the most used and stressed part of the skate shoe. Situated right before the toes, on the external part of the shoe, a hole there usually means the end of the shoe.
Indeed, despite its name, this area involves not only kickflip tricks, but any trick involving an ollie such as grinds, manuals, rails, stairs…
Not fixing it means eventually ripping out your socks and skin —if you wait long enough. Despite being the more common hole, the kickflip hole is the easiest one to patch, with plenty of options available.
- Use Glue and a piece of suede to cover up the area.
- Use Adhesive shoe patch
- Strap cardboard around your foot to avoid tearing in your sock and skin.
How to Repair a Heelflip hole
The Heelflip hole is probably the least common one. Appearing right at the junction between the heel reinforcement of the shoe and the logo, this hole only appears if you mainly do heelflips most than any other ones.
Less debilitating than the Kickflip hole, the heelflip one is however harder to patch because of its localization. See, most skate shoes have reinforced paddings around the heel, making it harder to rip out. However, once you’ve teared up a hole in this area, it will be harder to fix.
The only solid way to fix a hole in the heel part of the shoe is to use a mix of shoe-goo and suede:
- Apply shoe goo both around the hole of the shoe, and on the back of the suede piece to make it stick.
- Place the suede patch between the reinforced padding and the first layer of the shoe.
- Apply yet another layer of glue on top of the suede. Cover the piece with the reinforced padding, using it to make the patch stuck in place.
How to Repair a Sole Hole
Tearing up your sole is a quite common thing. Especially if you do loads of transition, constantly wiggling and adjusting your feet on the deck. Most time, the sole will give up right before the toes area.
Once the hole goes through the sole, the grip might tear up your insole too. That’s exactly why you want to patch it up as soon as possible.
For this one you’ve got two options.
- The Lazy Option: Place any protective material (piece of cardboard, extra-insole…) between the sole and the insole to prevent the grip tearing in the insole. This won’t repair the hole but at least you can somewhat ride your shoes serenely.
- The Long-lasting Option: Fill up the hole with shoe-goo or glue and use two pieces you’ll still need a patch on the inside of the shoe to avoid your insole and sole sticking together.
As a side note, you can’t re-sole skateboard shoes. Even if you could, it wouldn’t be worth the price. You’re better off investing in a fresh pair when you see signs of a hole in the flat of your shoe. It’s the only thing really protecting your feet when skating.
How to Fix Skate Shoes with Duck Tape
Duck-tape is the cheapest and quickest alternative to cover up your beat-up shoes. Now, there are two ways you can repair these holes.
The first method comprises simply covering up the hole by tapping layers of tape going from the cup sole to above the hole. This probably won’t last the longest but will provide a solution ready on-the-go, as long as you carry duck-tape with you.
The most durable technique comprises cutting thin pieces of tape to make it match the form of the shoe perfectly. Once the first layer covers the hole, put a larger band on top of the first layer to solidify the patch. This should last you 1-2 sessions depending on the roughness of your grip.
Preventing Skate Shoes From Ripping
As the old saying says: “Prevention is better than cure”. Even if your shoes are brand new, you can still prop them up in order to expand their lifetime. These common hacks are useful if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to switch shoes straight away.
Reinforce the Laces
Laces are usually the first part of the shoe that will give out. If you’re a flip trick type of skater, chances are, you’ll go through laces almost weekly. Luckily, they aren’t expensive, nor difficult to replace, but there are a few tricks to know in order to increase their lifespan.
Some skate shoes come with specific designs to counter this problem. Metal eyelets, suede reinforcement or ghillie mounts are some of the most common technologies to keep your laces intact.
However, if you picked a standard pair of shoes and don’t want to rip your laces off after only one session, you can use shoe-goo, or any kind of hot glue, to reinforce them.
Put a single drop on each eyelet so that you have a thin yet protective layer over your laces. Once you see it deteriorate, reiterate the entire process. Just make sure you stick to one drop so that you don’t seal your laces to the eyelets.
Pre-Patch the Main Flicking Areas
If you feel like your shoes have almost reached their breakpoint, cover up the areas at risk to gain some extra-sessions skating them. To do this, you’ve got three viable options: shoe-goo, glue or adhesive shoe patch.
All three of them add an extra layer of protection on the shoe. Although glue and shoe-goo will leave stain on the shoes whereas shoe patches can be removed, letting the shoe intact.
I would argue that shoe-goo is the best solution, value-for-money wise. Adhesive shoe patch is a great option if you want also want to wear your skate shoes going to work or school.
If you rip your shoes faster than normal, the problem might not come from the shoe itself, but from the grip-tape: fresh grip-tape is crazy abrasive. It’s the moment where it damages your shoes the most. Always sand down new grip with leftover grip tape before riding the deck, it really makes a difference.
Repairing skate shoes is really worth it, I’ll update this post in a few weeks and share the results of the shoes we repaired and how long they lasted.