If your favorite work boots are showing signs of wear and tear, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get those work boots resoled. How much work would go into it? How much would it cost? And is it worth the effort and money?
It is possible to resole most work boots, but there will be exceptions. Whether or not your boot can be resoled is going to come down to how it was built, and the extent of the damage. Boots made with a welt construction where the sole is stitched to the boot upper are almost always re-solable. Boots that have direct attach soles molded to the upper and boots that have soles cemented to the upper are not re-solable.
It usually takes a cobbler 1-3 weeks to fix and return a pair of work boots depending on their current workload and how much repair is needed. In most instances, it will cost somewhere in the $75-$150 range to get your work boots re-soled. There may be exceptions to this range depending on the cobbler, location, and type or size of boot.
But it isn’t just cost that you will want to consider – you will also want to consider the other materials used to make your work boot. For example, was the upper itself made with premium materials that can even last long enough to get enough use out of a new outsole?
It does you no good to get a new sole put on your work boot if the upper itself won’t last much longer. Handcrafted boots that cost $500+ are almost always worth re-crafting, but boots that fall below that price point may not have the material quality to survive long term anyway, even if you have a new outsole put on the boot.
It is possible to get some boots completely re-built (including the parts on the upper), but that can be very costly, and usually only makes sense for premium handmade boots. In this article let’s take a closer look at the types of work boots that can be re-crafted, and let’s also discuss some of the pros and cons of getting a boot re-soled.
PRO TIP – Perhaps the easiest way to understand if your work boots can be resoled is by looking to see if the upper is stitched to the lower. If it is, pretty good chance it is able to be resoled (yes, there are exceptions). If your upper is glued to the lower, you likely will not be able to resole it.
Can Work Boots Be Resoled?
As we just discussed above, yes, many types of work boots can be resoled, but there will be exceptions. Boots that have been built with a welt construction where the upper is stitched to the lower usually can be resoled. Boots that have the upper glued or cemented to the lower almost always cannot be resoled.
If you are not sure what type of build your boots have, you may need to visit the boot’s product page on the company website. If that produce page doesn’t answer your question, try reaching out to the customer service department of that boot company, or just ask a local cobbler.
What Type of Boots Can Be Resoled?
In almost every case, any boot with stitched soles can be resoled. This includes:
- Goodyear Welted
- Blake Stitch
- Norwegian stitch
Welt construction is by far the most common from this group. Many work boots are made using a welt construction. For example, here is a pair of boots that I own that are made using a welt construction:
As you can see, the upper has been stitched to the lower. A cobbler can remove the stitching, replace the needed parts, then re-attach the upper to the lower.
What Type of Boots Can’t Be Resoled?
Unfortunately, there are also many types of work boots that can’t be re-soled.
The types of soles that can’t be replaced (or aren’t worth replacing) are usually the ones that are glued or cemented on, using methods like:
- Cementing, which is exactly what it sounds like – the outsole is glued, or cemented, to the upper.
- Direct attach, which are boots that are built by injecting molten rubber or other materials into a pre-made mold to form the sole of the boot. Then, that formed sole is immediately attached directly to the bottom of the boot, allowing the injection to securely bind to the boot, which connects the boot upper to this newly formed sole.
These methods can’t simply be unstitched, replaced, then re-stitched. Also, these methods are often less reliable and used in cheaper work boots, that aren’t worth resoling anyway.
Here’s a pair of direct attach boots that I have. As you can see, there is no stitching that connects the upper to the lower:
Warning Signs That Your Boots Need to be Resoled
If your boots are holding up structurally, but exhibiting problems with the tread, resoling may be the answer you’re looking for. You may want to consider getting your boots re-soled if you’re experiencing any of these issues:
- Worn-down tread. If the bottoms of your boots are looking smoother than they should, or if you don’t get the same traction you used to have, a worn-down tread is the most likely culprit. This is a common sign of wear and tear. No matter how high-quality the treads may be, eventually, with enough use, they’re going to wear down.
- Damaged or torn tread. If you step on a nail, do a lot of heavy-duty work, or your boots get mistreated, the tread may be punctured or torn from the sole. It may only be partially torn off, or the whole thing could get ripped away. Whatever the extent of the damage, getting the boot resoled is the best way to fix it.
- Tread coming off. Over time, you may notice that the tread is beginning to separate from the sole. This is, again, a product of wear and tear and is fairly common.
- Foot Pain. If you’ve been wearing your boots for 12-24 months, and although the tread isn’t torn or damaged, it seems to have worn down in certain spots, and you’re starting to feel it more in your toe pad and heel, probably a good time to consider a new sole.
If the boot is damaged or worn out beyond the tread, it may need to be rebuilt, which is a more involved process than resoling and will most likely cost more. This won’t make financial sense unless you have invested in a premium pair of handcrafted work boots.
Is it worth it to get boots resoled?
Getting your boots resoled may seem like a bit of a hassle. After all, you’ll have to find a specialized shoe repair shop or service to do the work. You may be concerned about the cost involved or the amount of time it’s going to take. Is getting your boots resoled worth it?
It might sound cliché, but the answer is it depends. To help you determine whether it is best for you, let’s take a look at some of the factors you’ll want to consider.
The Cost of Boot Resoling
The cost of getting your boots resoled will depend on where you live, who does the work, the material used, and the amount of damage being repaired. It will probably cost you more to get it done at a footwear repair shop in a large city than at a small town local cobbler, and a full tread replacement will be more expensive than repairing a small separation.
A good range for a general boot resoling is around $75-$150 (yes, there can be exceptions). It may cost significantly more for specialized or extensive repairs, or it may cost much less for a simple or inexpensive fix.
The Time Involved
Getting your boots resoled can take a bit of time. For one thing, if there isn’t a local repair shop you can take them to, you may have to drive some distance to find a good cobbler. Alternatively, you may be able to send them through the mail to a repair company in another part of the country, but this will take extra time and cost extra money for the delivery.
Even if you take them to a local cobbler, it may take them a few days to get to your boots, depending on how busy they are. All in, it is not uncommon to see a process like this take 2-3 weeks.
Where to Get Boots Resoled
As noted above, you may have multiple options for where to get your boots resoled. If there is a local cobbler or repair shop in your area, you would take your boots there. If not, you could either take them to a repair shop in a neighboring town or city, or look online.
It is also worth noting that some boot companies will offer to re-craft their own boots (at a cost to you of course), so it might be worth checking on that first before you make your decision.
Pros and Cons of Getting Work Boots Resoled
So yes, there are some factors involved in getting work boots resoled, and it may be a bit of a hassle at times. That said, there are other pros and cons to take into consideration before deciding whether or not to get the boots resoled.
Pros of Resoling Work Boots
- You get to keep your favorite boots. This is a real perk especially if you spent top dollar to get a high-quality, heavy-duty pair of work boots. With resoling, you get the tread replaced, but you get to keep the same pair of boots that you’ve broken in and that you don’t want to part with.
- Save money on expensive boots. Again, if you invested a decent sum of money for your work boots, you may not want to throw them away and spend just as much money on a new pair. Getting the old pair resoled may cost significantly less than buying a new pair.
- Fix only what needs fixing. When you get your boots resoled, you don’t have to have the entire sole replaced. You may only need half the tread repaired, or it may simply need to be reattached. With boot resoling, you have options and only pay for what you need.
Sounds great, right? Of course, nothing is perfect, and everything has its drawbacks – here are some drawbacks to consider.
Cons of Resoling Work Boots
- Resoling may not be cost-efficient for inexpensive boots. If you spent less to buy the boots than it’s going to cost to get them resoled, you may be better off simply buying a new pair. Resoling is most cost-efficient for expensive, well-crafted boots.
- It may take time. As mentioned above, the resoling process may take some time. It could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks for the repairs to be completed. If you wear your boots every day, this delay may prove to be quite an inconvenience.
- The boot upper may not have enough quality to warrant a new outsole. It does you no good to get a new sole when the rest of the boot is beginning to wear out too. Many inexpensive boots don’t have the quality it takes to warrant repair.
Seek Advice For Repairing Boots
Getting your boots resoled is a great way to extend the life of the boots. By getting the soles repaired, you can save money on buying an expensive new pair of boots and not have to worry about breaking in a new boot.
If you are on the fence about whether or not it makes sense, it is probably best to just seek out a local cobbler and ask them to inspect the boots and quote you a price. In some instances, the repair may be much cheaper than you expected.
Most cheap work boots ($150 or less) aren’t worth resoling. They don’t have the quality to last long term anyway. Boots in the $150-$300 range may be worth it, depending on the cost to repair. Handcrafted premium boots that cost $500+ to purchase are almost always worth repairing if possible.