How to Fix the Toe of a Shoe With a Rubber Sole

Pair of blue canvas tennis shoes

A well-worn pair of rubber-soled shoes, no matter how durable when new, can start to break down over time. A common problem for shoes that see excessive wear, like hiking boots or everyday sneakers, is a sole that peels away from the shoe's toe. Exposure to heat, applied force or just basic wear and tear can weaken the glue bond and cause a loose, flopping toe. Create a new bond between the "upper," or top portion of the shoe, and the sole, to restore its original function.

Wipe all dirt and residue from the shoe with a damp paper towel. Clean all dirt out of the gap between the sole and the upper. Let the shoe dry completely.

Stuff the toe of the shoe with newspaper to make the shape hold.

Pull back the edge of the sole. Apply shoe contact cement inside the gap, on the top and bottom. Let the cement partially dry, so that the texture is tacky.

Press the sole against the upper. Wipe away any excess cement that squeezes out of the gap with a damp paper towel.

Place the shoe into a table clamp to help hold the sole and upper together. Let the cement dry for two days.

Pour a urethane or silicone liquid seam sealer, typically used in outdoor gear repair, into an irrigation syringe. Apply a thin line of sealer along the seam between the sole and upper. Let it dry for one day.


If the sole rubber has degraded or peels in layers, be generous with the contact cement. Coat every surface inside the gap, then wrap the toe with duct tape while it dries.