Can Leather Boots Be Fixed?

Yes, you can fix leather boots, no matter how bad the damage is...for the most part. Like so many other things in life, whether or not YOUR boots can be repaired depends on a number of factors.

If you invest in custom leather work boots from a boot maker that specializes in handmade boots and shoes, then you can have them resoled or even rebuilt as many times as you want.

Most boots and shoes of decent construction can always be resoled. Often enough, the footbed can be rebuilt as well. However, many boots and shoes are a lost cause. Once damaged or the soles worn out...that's all she wrote, so to speak.

How come? Can MY leather boots be fixed? Maybe they can, but maybe they can't. First, let's go over what makes a shoe or boot repairable at all, and what that means for your pair of Nick's Handmade Boots...or possibly a different brand, if you made other choices.

Can Boots Be Resoled? Can Boots Be Rebuilt? Yes! Except When They Can't

diagram of leather boots

Whether boots or shoes can be resoled or rebuilt depends entirely on the pair of boots or shoes in question and how they're made. How much you're willing to spend is also important.

As far as the sole, boots or shoes that are stitched to the sole are always resoleable. You send them back to the factory, if the service is offered, or take them to a cobbler/shoe repair shop and they do it for you.

With boots or shoes that are glued...that is a different matter. It depends heavily on who made it and how they made it. In some cases, new soles can be glued on and in some cases they can't; again, this depends completely on your specific pair, what condition they're in and so on.

Can boots or shoes be rebuilt if the upper is damaged?

The answer is either "yes" or "yes, but only if you find someone willing to do the work and if you're willing to spend a lot of money."

To explain that.

The uppers of a boot or shoe is everything above the sole and/or the midsole. The vamp, the upper, the shaft, the tongue...everything that sits on top of your feet and socks.

Now, some boot makers and shoemakers actually have a rebuild/recrafting program. Typically, this is reserved for rather high-end fashion shoes or the very best in work boots that money can buy.

After all, a company that specializes in working footwear or casual footwear that is more mid-market and does a lot of volume through retailers can't really afford the labor or material cost for the rebuild. It's just not worth it to offer this service for a $200 pair of shoes or boots.

Most businesses, after all, have to make money to stay in business unless you're a bank or a car company with lots of lobbyists.

If the manufacturer offers a rebuilding or recrafting program, you send in your old pair and - for less than the cost of a new pair - they'll completely rebuild them. Material that needs it is replaced, up to and possibly including everything.

This service is available for any footwear made by Nick's Handmade Boots. Our products are made to last. We want you to get years, if not decades, of wear from your pair of our boots or shoes, and we make them so they can.

However, a lot of the industry...does things a little differently.

Most Leather Boots Can Be Fixed...So Long As The Upper Is Intact

rebuilding leather boots

Without mentioning any names - and they'd be some big ones among leather boot makers - most of the industry offers SOME rebuild services, but they're limited in that damage to the upper will not be repaired by the factory.

In other words, any damage to the upper whatsoever won't be fixed, and parts of the upper will not be replaced.

What WILL they do?

Often enough, eligible products (which typically have to have welted/stitched construction) can have the footbed rebuilt by the factory or by a repair service that the factory partners with.

In other words, you can get the upper re-welted to a brand new footbed, shank, midsole and outsole. The insole and liner can also be replaced, as well as some new inserts put in should they be desired.

Everything that the upper sits on will, in those cases where its available, be rebuilt by the factory. They take the upper off your current boots, and put them on a new footbed and outsole.

Think of it like they're taking a car body off the frame and putting it on a new one. There's a new suspension, new chassis, new differentials and axles, new brakes, new wheels, new tires, but the engine, transmission and everything inside the car body itself stays the same.

You can have this done by the factory or at almost any shoe repair shop.

What can you do if the upper IS damaged, though?

Well, you have two options. Buy a new pair, or see if a shoe repair shop will rebuild them. In some cases that's feasible, but it's somewhat rare.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the cost of having a pair of boots rebuilt in such a manner will often be more expensive than just buying a new pair.

Typically, a brand that doesn't offer rebuild and resole services for their customers has a moderate-enough cost that makes extensive recrafting and repairs more costly or almost as costly as just buying a new pair.

That is, IF you have leather boots that are actually rebuildable. Not all of them, as discussed, necessarily are. If they aren't, then it's time to move on.

If you invest in a quality pair of leather boots or shoes that are rebuildable, you can have them repaired, rebuilt and resoled in perpetuity.