How To Repair Rubber Boots Like A Pro

While rubber boots are incredibly useful for all kinds of purposes, a crack or a hole can lead to water ingress, wet feet and a lot of discomfort. Knowing how to repair rubber boots can not only save you money in the long run but can save you the uncomfortable sensation of wet and muddy feet while out and about.

All kinds of people wear rubber boots, from gardeners and farmer to fishermen and outdoor workers, and whether you're heading to a festival or working in your back yard you will find that the thick, rubber surface will protect your feet effectively from poor weather and dirt underfoot. Knowing how to patch a pair of rubber boots can prolong the life of your footwear and keep your feet safe and dry for longer.


A Repair Method For Small Holes

If you only have a small hole in your rubber boots, you can follow this method to repair them:

1. Clean the boot thoroughly before beginning a repair. Wash using water and identify where the crack or hole is located on the boot's surface. If the hole is very small and hard to locate, simply fill up the boot with water and then look for the areas where the water is leaking out. Once the hole has been spotted, you can begin the repair.

2. Dry the boots thoroughly and then sand the area where the hole is located with sandpaper. Rinse away the sand dust using plain water and leave it to dry.

3.Using a silicone glue, fill the small hole by applying sealant to the boot's outer surface.

4. Leave to dry for 48 hours to allow the adhesive to properly cure.

5. After 48 hours, fill the boot up with water again to ensure that the hole has been properly sealed.

A Repair Method For Large Holes

When you have a larger hole in your boot it is best to use a boot repair kit. In the kit you'll find a patch, applicator brush and adhesive. Before applying the patch, always read the instructions thoroughly since some contain a stick on patch that has to be cut to the hole's size and then stick over the damaged area. 

Also, the drying time will be given in those instructions so waiting until the adhesive is properly cured before wearing the boot again is important. Other kits have a repair patch that requires a manual application. To apply this type of patch you need to first put a layer of glue thinly around the hole before covering it up using the patch. 

Even application is vital as well as sufficient pressure over the surface to smooth any wrinkles which may have formed. Waiting 48 hours before wearing the boots once more is important to allow the patch to adhere correctly to the boot.

A Repair Method Using Liquid Sealant

One way to repair rubber boots is to use a liquid sealant. Follow these steps:

1. Using duct tape, cut a piece which can cover the hole or tear completely. You should also ensure that the piece is big enough to allow a minimum of 1" of tape bordering around the tear.

2. Carefully align the hole or rip's edges and then apply the duct tape onto the tear inside the boot. Using duct tape will stabilize the area which is torn and prevent the tear from becoming bigger.

3. Apply liquid sealant onto the rip outside the boot. Overlap the rip's sides by at least 1/8".

4. Put the boot in a temperature controlled and well ventilated area and allow to dry for a minimum of 12 hours.

5. Take off the duct tape then apply liquid sealed onto the tear inside the boot. Again, make sure you overlap the sides of the rip by a minimum of 1/8".

6. Put the boot back into your drying area and leave to dry thoroughly for a minimum of 12 hours.

A Repair Method Using A Bicycle Puncture Kit

Many people have a bicycle puncture repair kit to hand, and this can be used to patch up damaged rubber boots. Follow this method:

1. Carefully clean the area surrounding the split in your rubber boots, taking care to remove all grease and dirt.

2. Using sandpaper, scuff the area gently around the hole where you will apply the repair patch. This will give the patch a roughened surface to fix onto.

3. Cut the rubber patch provided in the repair kit to the size required. Ensure you cut it larger than the split itself to allow for full coverage.

4. Using the rubber solution or adhesive which comes with the kit, apply a layer thinly onto the prepared area of the boot.

5. Leave it for a couple of seconds so that the rubber solution or adhesive starts to become tacky. Take the patch which was cut during step 3 and put it onto the solution or adhesive which you've applied.

6. Ensure that the patch's edges have been stuck down properly since it may peel around the edge if it hasn't been stuck down effectively. If you find the edges are peeling off, apply more adhesive to the edges and then press them down more firmly. If necessary, put an additional adhesive layer over the top of the patch's edges to ensure that the adhesive is overlapping the boot and the patch.

7. Leave the adhesive to dry thoroughly.

8. After the adhesive is dried, apply some chalk around the area that you have patched. This will ensure that no sticky patches remain that dust could be attracted to. Usually, you'll find some chalk included in a puncture repair kit to use for this purpose.

While different countries sell different kinds of puncture repair kit and some adaptation may be necessary to this procedure, the instructions provided here should be suitable for all standard kits.

Unfortunately, however, this patch will not last forever, so repatching your boot may be necessary in the future. However, it will make your rubber boots last longer and give you better value for money from your purchase. 

The puncture repair method can work very well to prolong the life of your rubber boots, however depending on the material used to make the uppers, the location of the hole, the size of it, and the amount of pressure put on the hole when walking can all have an impact on how effective this method is.

A Repair Method Using Tape

Another method which can be used to repair rubber boots is to use double sided tape. Again, this isn't a permanent fix but it will prolong the lifespan of your footwear. Follow these steps to use this method:

1. Clean the part of the boot that you are going to patch thoroughly to remove any dirt and grime.

2. Prepare the area which you will patch by using sandpaper to rough it up and to give the tape something to cling to.

3. Using the double sided heavy duty tape (a minimum of 2 inches in width), cut a piece to the correct size for covering the prepared area of the boot. A piece 2" x 2" is often large enough to fit.

4. Stick the tape which you can cut over the hole or crack in the boot.

5. Press down firmly to ensure that the tape has properly adhered to the surface.

6. Peel the protective layer from the tape to reveal the top sticky surface too.

7. Cut some gaffer tape in the same size that you already cut the double sided heavy duty tape.

8. Stick the gaffer tape onto the top of the double sided tape and press down very firmly to ensure that it is properly stuck down.

9. To ensure additional durability, put a layer of liquid adhesive around the patch's edge. Ensure that you apply some adhesive over the patch itself and some over the boot for additional protection and to guard against the tape coming off.

Top Tips For Repairing Rubber Boots
If you are using a bicycle puncture repair kit to repair your rubber boots you should find that the patch is watertight as long as the edges are properly stuck down, so your feet should remain dry if you end up walking through puddles or if it starts to rain. However, it would probably be unwise to walk through a stream wearing boots patched in this way as it will probably not be sufficiently durable to stand up to the strain of so much water pressure.

If you have used the tape method to repair your rubber boots, again you should find that water is effectively repelled, so you will be able to wear the boots to work in the garden or to walk outside during the rain, however again, prolonged soaking will probably lead to the tape peeling away from the surface.

When choosing an adhesive to repair your rubber boots you need to make sure that you are choosing a product that is suitable to use on rubber. While Super Glue is often a popular choice when repairing footwear, many brands of Super Glue aren't suitable for use on rubber boots. There are, however, a number of strong adhesives available to buy which are designed to repair wetsuits or other rubber items. Many people have found these adhesives effective when repairing rubber boots, although it will depend on which area the hole or rip is in on the boot. If it is in an area which is flexed repeatedly while walking this adhesive method will probably not be effective.

If you are bothered about the appearance of your rubber boots, you will want to choose a type of adhesive which dries clear so that you won't have a large white area on your boot surface. Of course, for many people, a pair of rubber boots are for utility purposes only and so appearance isn't always of paramount concern, nevertheless using the wrong kind of adhesive could have an impact on the aesthetics of your footwear.

What About Expensive Boots?

If you have a pair of very expensive rubber boots, you could damage them if you tried to repair them yourself, therefore going to a cobbler to get a professional repair is the best idea. If your boots are very badly damaged, you may be unable to carry out a repair and buying a new pair may be necessary.

Maintaining Your Boots To Guard Against Damage

Prevention is better than cure, so avoiding any object which could damage your boots in the first place is always wise. Watching where you walk and making sure to avoid anything that could rip or tear your boots is a good idea. Also, keeping your boots clean and free from dirt and grime will prolong your footwear's lifespan. 

This is especially important if you are working on a construction site where considerable dirt can build up. Water my not clean them properly, so using liquid soap to wash away oil and grime and a small brush to get rid of ingrained dirt will ensure that the surface is kept spotless. 

When drying your boots, don't leave them in direct sunlight as this can end up damaging the rubber and leaving it more likely to crack and split. Make sure that you never use a shoe cleaner on your rubber boots. These contain chemicals which can damage the rubber and cause it to break down, resulting in a risk of cracking and splits.

If you follow this advice you should find that you can prolong the life of your rubber boots so that they can continue to keep your feet dry and comfortable for much longer. You'll not only have the benefit of cozy feet, you'll also get much better value for money!

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