Monday, 2 January 2012

Shoe Repair - Fitting New Buckles to Straps

So I'm wearing pretty much what I wore yesterday. Now that's over with here's another shoe repair tutorial.

Problem: You want to replace the buckles on shoe straps or replace the elastic which has fallen apart.

How to Fit New Elastic to Shoe Buckles (or fit new buckles) 

You need:
Small sharp scissors
Needle and thread
Nail Varnish
Good quality contact glue like UHU contact power glue. Not superglue (it dries too brittle)

Tip: Chopsticks are very useful for careful glue application. Sharpen them with a pencil sharpener to get a more delicate point or to remove dried up old glue.

1) Unpick the stitches that hold the buckle to the shoe. Pull out the elastic using small sharp scissors.

2) If you are replacing the original elastic with wider elastic, widen the slit to accomodate it.

3) Cut your elastic pieces to size. Seal the ends with nail varnish.

4) Fold in half and snip a tiny slit for the buckle prong to go through. Avoid cutting the elastic woven into the elastic (identifiable by the thicker ridges of the elastic) and snip inbetween these ridges. Fit the elastic to the buckle and glue the ends together. Seal the buckle prong hole with nail varnish. If your shoes have one of those little rings to tuck the strap into after doing up the buckle, slide this onto the elastic.

5) Push apart the shoe and its lining in the buckle hole using the chopstick. Apply glue using the chopstick into the hole, pushing it down as far as you want the elastic to go. Then poke the elastic-plus-buckle into the hole and poke so the elastic lies flat. Apply more glue to the edges of the hole to secure. Press the two sides of the shoe together over the elastic as recommended by glue instructions. 

6) Check the movement of the buckle prong - the elastic around the prong may require more nail varnish to seal fraying but not so much the prong cannot move. 

7) Once the glue is dry you may want to sew through all three layers to secure the elastic to the shoe. 

Note even if the elastic is not exactly the colour of the shoe/original elastic this does not matter as it will be covered by the strap. What is important is the width of the elastic and that it is sewn/glued in securely and neatly. 

For this pair of Clarks shoes the elastic was sewn directly to the suede. I did not want to sew into the suede in case I shredded it so added another layer of elastic to the scrappy elastic underneath to strengthen it. 

On the reverse side I glued and sewed the elastic to the inside of the shoe (more layers to sew through so more secure). 

So while it doesn't look great in the first photo when covered with the strap it looks fine. 


  1. wow great idea. I bought a new pair of school shoe for my kid. and she lost the buckle from place on next day itself. so i had to keep them aside as the repair guy would charge me almost the same amount as the shoe's cost if i go to him for repair. Now i got an idea how to fix it after reding this. thanks alot for the idea and for saving me so many bucks for another new pair of shoe. thanks.

    1. No problem! Glad it was helpful. Hope it goes well :-)