Complete Guide for Resole Your Shoes

Many of us grew up with shoes that were disposable, like sneakers.

However, a fine pair of leather shoes is different. It can last very long by repairing outsoles, called “Resoling”.

In this article, I will go through all about Resoling.

What is Resole?

Generally, the sole of leather shoes is replaceable, as you can see in the photo below.

Leather shoes are shaped to your feet and become better fitted with time as you wear them, but after a while, the worn outsole is thinner and may feel uncomfortable.

Once resoled, you can continue wearing your comfy fitted shoes, so don’t chuck them away- fix them!

Process of Resole

The process of resoling is essentially replacing an old sole.

I will briefly introduce the resole process for “Goodyear-Welted” shoes.

STEP 1: Remove the heel

First, remove the heel attached to the outsole.

STEP 2: Cut the thread

Cut the thread that holds the outsole so that it can be easily peeled off.

STEP 3: Remove the sole

Remove the old outsole.

STEP 4: Put new cork

Remove the old cork, and put new cork after cleaning.

STEP 5: Put on new sole

Attach new sole and cut all around it.

STEP 6: Stitch the sole

Sew the new sole with machine(This is called “out-stitching”).

STEP 7: Put new heel

Attach the heel and color it.


You may think, “Just peel off and put on a new sole? Easy!”, But it’s surprisingly difficult and needs some technique!

3 reasons why you should Resole your shoes

You may think that buying new shoes is faster and easier. However, let me introduce 3 reasons why you should get the shoes resoled instead.

Reason 1. Longevity

The best reason is that you can keep wearing your favorite shoes for a long time.

Leather shoes are beautifully aged like antique furniture with time as you wear, so it is much worth to continue to wear them!

Reason 2. Cost

It is cheaper to resole your shoes rather than purchase a new pair.

The repair cost is a bit expensive but still cheaper than the price of new shoes, in most cases.

If you want to save money, it is better to do resole.

Reason 3. Better Look

Resoled shoes simply look so much better!

The photo below shows a comparison of before (left) and after (right) resoling.

The edge is actually pretty thin and uneven because this part can get easily damaged, while the edge of the outsole looks beautiful after resoling.

3 signs for Resole

When you are not sure when to have your shoes resoled, please refer 3 signs introduced following.

1. Hole in the outsole

The resole is needed immediately if you find a hole in the outsole.

The hole in the outsole

A hole may cause further damage which is difficult to repair, so stop wearing and go to the cobbler for resoling!

2. Outsoles gets too thin

When the sole gets too thin, it is a good time for resoling.

If you are not sure whether the outsole is too thin or not, push the center of the outsole with finger as shown in the video below.

If the outsole gets dented, it means it is very thin so go to the cobbler before the dent turns into a hole!

Heel or Toe can be repaired partially

When only the heel or toes are worn out, you should get this part repaired because it is cheaper & faster.

3. Outsoles peel off

If the outsoles peel off as shown in the photo below, you should have it repaired, too.

You may only need it bonded rather than resoled, so it is better to discuss this with a cobbler.

Price and types of Resole

There are 2 types of materials of outsoles, leather or rubber, so pick the one you prefer to have.

Leather sole

Leather soles are used for smart shoes and have excellent breathability and heat resistance.

However, leather soles are easily worn out and slippery when it is wet, so you should refrain from wearing them on rainy days.

The price for the leather soles is about USD 80 (EUR 70), and the repair takes about 1 month.

Rubber sole

The rubber sole is characterized by high durability and better grip.

If you usually wear shoes with leather sole and feel that the soles get worn out quickly or you live in a rainy area, you may want to consider the rubber sole.

The price of rubber sole is about USD80 (EUR70), and the repair takes about 1 month.

Option to put half rubber

The resoling costs a bit much and takes about a month to repair, but half rubber soles are cheaper and can be done quicker.

However, half rubber sole is just put thin rubber on the outsole and is a temporary repair, so you will need to resole anyway.

Wrap it up

Leather shoes are not disposable, but last a long time if you are happy to have them repaired from time to time.

The method and price of resoling differs depending on the construction of shoe and a cobbler.

Find a cobbler near to you, and discuss how you can keep your favorite shoes around for longer!

About the author

Ken Kataoka

Hi, I’m Ken Kataoka, based in Tokyo Japan. I’m fascinated by leather shoes and shoe care. Also, I make bespoke shoes. I write articles on shoe care & tools, shoe brands and more from my experience.

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