How to Fix a Hollow Boot Heel: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have a pair of boots that you love but the heel has become hollow and worn, don’t despair. You can easily fix it yourself with a few simple tools and materials. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to fix a hollow boot heel. Follow these instructions and your boots will be as good as new in no time!

How to Fix a Hollow Boot Heel

Understanding Hollow Boot Heels

The first step in fixing a hollow boot heel is to understand what causes it. Most boots have a solid heel made of layers of leather or rubber. But over time, the layers of material can wear down, leaving a hollow space inside the heel. Additionally, some boots may have a hollow plastic or wooden heel that can crack or break, causing it to become hollow.

It’s important to note that a hollow boot heel can affect the overall comfort and stability of the boot. When the heel is hollow, it can cause the boot to feel unstable and wobbly, which can lead to discomfort and even injury. It’s recommended to have a professional cobbler inspect and repair any hollow boot heels to ensure the safety and longevity of the boots.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you start repairing your boot, you will need a few tools and materials. These include:

  • A screwdriver or pliers
  • Sandpaper (medium grit)
  • A putty knife or scraper
  • A filler material (such as a two-part epoxy, wood filler or Bondo)
  • A paintbrush or sponge applicator
  • A paint or sealant (optional)

It is important to note that the type of filler material you use will depend on the material of your boot. For example, if your boot is made of leather, you may want to use a leather filler. If your boot is made of rubber, a rubber filler would be more appropriate. Additionally, if you plan on using a paint or sealant, make sure it is compatible with the filler material you have chosen.

fixing heel on boot

Assessing the Damage: Identifying the Problem

The first step in repairing your boot heel is to assess the damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to remove the entire heel or just a section of it. Use a screwdriver or pliers to remove any screws or nails holding the heel in place. If the heel is glued on, gently pry it off with a putty knife.

It’s important to note that if the damage is extensive or if you are unsure of how to proceed with the repair, it’s best to take your boots to a professional cobbler. Attempting to repair the boots yourself could result in further damage or even render the boots unwearable. However, if you feel confident in your abilities, proceed with caution and take your time to ensure a successful repair.

Removing the Damaged Heel

Once you have removed the heel, use sandpaper to smooth down any rough edges or remaining adhesive. You may need to do this to the boot itself as well to ensure a clean surface for the new heel. If the heel is hollow, you can skip this step.

It is important to note that if the heel was damaged due to a structural issue with the boot, simply replacing the heel may not be enough to fix the problem. In this case, it is recommended to take the boots to a professional cobbler who can assess the damage and make any necessary repairs to ensure the longevity and safety of the footwear.

Preparing for the Repair: Cleaning and Sanding

The next step is to clean the area where the heel and the boot meet. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Then, use medium-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of the boot where the new heel will be attached. This will help the adhesive to stick better.

It’s important to note that if the boots are made of suede or other delicate materials, sanding may not be necessary or may cause damage. In these cases, it’s best to consult a professional cobbler for the repair. Additionally, if the boots have any embellishments or hardware near the heel, take care to avoid sanding those areas to prevent damage or scratches.

cowboy boot

Filling the Hollow Heel: Choosing the Right Filler Material

The next step is to fill the hollow space inside the heel. There are several types of filler materials you can use, including two-part epoxy, wood filler or Bondo. Choose a filler material that matches the color and texture of your boot heel. Follow the instructions on the package to mix the filler material and apply it inside the hollow heel. Use a scraper or putty knife to smooth the filler down and remove any excess. Allow the filler to dry completely (usually 24 hours or more).

It’s important to note that the type of filler material you choose will affect the durability and longevity of the repair. Two-part epoxy is a strong and durable option, but may be difficult to work with for beginners. Wood filler is a more forgiving option, but may not hold up as well over time. Bondo is a popular choice for automotive repairs, but may not be suitable for all types of boots. Consider the intended use of your boots and choose a filler material accordingly.

Applying the Filler Material

Once the filler material has dried, use a sandpaper to smooth it down and shape it to match the rest of the heel. Be sure to wear a face mask to avoid inhaling the dust created by sanding. Continue sanding until the surface of the heel is smooth and even.

It is important to note that the type of filler material used will depend on the material of the heel. For example, if the heel is made of leather, a leather filler should be used. If the heel is made of plastic, a plastic filler should be used. Using the wrong type of filler material can result in a poor repair job and may cause further damage to the heel.

Adding a Protective Layer: Painting or Sealing the Heel

If you want to protect your heel from future wear and tear, you can apply a coat of paint or sealant. Choose a paint or sealant that is appropriate for your boot material. Use a paintbrush or sponge applicator to apply a thin, even coat of paint or sealer to the entire heel. Allow the paint or sealer to dry completely before wearing your boots.

It is important to note that painting or sealing the heel may alter the appearance of your boots. If you are concerned about the aesthetic of your boots, consider testing the paint or sealer on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire heel. Additionally, keep in mind that painting or sealing the heel may not completely prevent wear and tear, but it can certainly help prolong the life of your boots.

modern boots with heel

Replacing the Heel Cap (Optional)

If your boot had a separate heel cap that was damaged, you can also replace it. Purchase a new heel cap that matches the color and texture of your boot heel. Use glue or screws to attach the new heel cap to the repaired heel.

Tips for Preventing Future Damage to Your Boot Heels

Now that you have fixed your boot heel, you can take steps to prevent future damage. Make sure to keep your boots clean and dry, and avoid excessive wear and tear by rotating your shoes throughout the week. Additionally, consider adding heel caps or taps to your boots to protect the heels from wear.

Now that you know how to fix a hollow boot heel, you can rescue your favorite boots from the trash pile and wear them with confidence. With a little effort, you can restore your boots to their former glory and enjoy them for years to come.

Patricia Merken

Interior design blogger

Neat freak and shoe lover. American expat in Switzerland.
Blogger and mom. Blogs at Footweardrobe.