Thursday, May 15, 2008

Liquid Nails for Shoes

I have repaired shoes many times over the years using lots of different adhesives, including the famous "Shoe Goo".

I repair lots of stuff. I have kind of a McGyver reputation. I hate buying new stuff if the old stuff will do, especially if replacing the old stuff with new stuff requires a significant amount of money.

I have a nice pair of shoes I like, but the sole material kept coming loose, beginning to peel off the softer sole material at the toe. And I cleaned it with alcohol and used Shoe Goo three times trying to fix it.

Each time, within a few days the bond broke down and the peeling started again.

I don't know when I first discovered Liquid Nails for Subflooring. The name itself has a high grunt factor. Subflooring. Something that contractors talk about. It's tough. It's strong. It's not pretty. We cover the sub-floor with pretty stuff like carpet and Pergo and linoleum. (I'll give hardwood a break... it's about as tough as subflooring. But not quite as rough and rugged.)

I've used it to glue boards to a concrete wall to hang tools from. I even used it to attach a board to a concrete wall to attach a hand rail for a staircase. That's what kind of bond you can get with this stuff.

And each time I tried repairing the shoe, I thought "I should be using Liquid Nails for Subflooring."

I'd even looked at Lowes for it, but I couldn't find it.

Well it turns out I couldn't find it 'cause I'm a guy. And guys look for key shapes and colors when they're looking for things. Since all of it is the same shape, I was looking for a color. Not reading the words on the label, really, unless I thought the color was close enough.

Turns out they changed the color on the lablel for the Sub-Flooring mixture to green. I found it last time I looked (after ALMOST giving up).

I bought it. Cleaned the rubber on the shoes again. And applied it.

After it dried, I colored it with a black permanent marker to make it blend in with the rest of the rubber.

That da*ned rubber ain't goin' nowhere. In 10 million years, after the rest of the shoe has rotted away... the Liquid Nails for Sub-Flooring will probably still be there.


  1. I used Liquid Nails (the household version in a squeeze tube... not sure how that compares to the kind for subflooring) to reattach the soles of my cycling shoes many years ago. Unfortunately, the soles finally separated again at the end of a very hilly bike ride from Boston to Montreal and back.

    Here's a photo of the now-separated shoe:

    Tempted to try it again since I have a lot of this stuff, but am thinking of going out to get a stronger adhesive. Maybe a polyurethane glue like Elmer's Ultimate Glue or Gorilla Glue.

  2. Phil,
    The liquid nails still holding after all these years or was there a breakdown point in time you recall? THANKS!