We live in a society of disposables. Landfills are full of items built cheap, built for temporary use, and thrown away for the next crummy version. Billion-dollar world-wide businesses are built on this model (cough…Wal-Mart). It’s a sad reality in our lives.
In our opinion, hunters kick back at this model. Hunting equipment is a tool for success and survival. Hunters are willing to invest more money on quality gear for this reason. Because we invest, we want the most out of our gear.
Boots are a hunter’s vehicle. We get in them and they provide the means for us to arrive at a destination, very much like a truck.
One of the most critical tools as a hunter is our boots. Boots are a hunter’s vehicle. We get in them and they provide the means for us to arrive at a destination, very much like a truck. We repair and replace components in our truck so why not our boots.
Boot Repair Virgin
Admittedly, this is the first time Muley Freak has gone through the process of rehabbing a pair of boots instead of purchasing new ones. It was eye-opening and frankly, fascinating and exciting. Shoe repair is a dying art replaced by mass production and disposabiltiy. Finding a good shoe repair shop (FYI, a shoe repair person is called a cobbler) takes effort. Secondly, finding one that does hiking/hunting/outdoor footwear is downright difficult. CRISPI FOOTWEAR directed us to a dealer in Richfield Utah, Gary’s Shoes, who specializes in boot repair. They so happen to also specialize in Crispi Boots.
We took in a pair of Crispi Laponia GTX’s in for a resole, rand restitching, and leather reconditioning. These boots have been part of several hunting trips over the last couple of years. The soles were worn down, cracked, and some stitching worn off the rands. What we learned was very cool. Follow along and we’ll take you through the process below.
- Remove worn soles
This is done using specialized knives.
- Grind excess sole material off
After cutting the sole off, excess rubber and foam material is ground completely down using this cool sander built specifically for shoe and boot repair.
- Rough-up the new soles for better adhesion
As with adhering any surfaces, roughing the surface helps with adhesion.
- Clean, then apply both primer and glue
Before applying adhesives, it’s important to clean all surfaces. After cleaning, a primer is applied followed by an adhesion agent.
- Reheat glue after letting sole and boot sit overnight
This is something we didn’t expect. After applying primer and glue the boots were left overnight. The next morning the glue was reheated using a heat gun before putting the new sole on the boot.
- Line up and attach the sole after reheating glue
It’s best to get it on right the first time. The boot and the new sole were carefully lined up before joining.
- Apply pressure using cool machines from Germany for proper adhesion
Once boot and new sole is joined, another cool German cobbler machine applies significant pressure along the length of the sole by moving it back and forth between this press to securely adhere new sole.
- Let them sit for a couple hours and do clean up work
Once securely adhered, boots and soles were cleaned up while the glue dried for a couple hours.
This pair of Laponia GTX’s had worn stitching on the rand. Below is how the stitching was repaired.
- Unstitch the corners where the tongue and upper part of the boot come together
We wondered how they were going to stitch the rand and preserves the waterproofness of the boot. This was done by unstitching the corner where the tongue and the boot meet. This provides access so the lower arm of the sewing machine can run under the leather uppers while staying above the Gore-Tex.
- Run industrial footwear sewing machine through hole
This is how they ran the lower portion of the sewing machine through the hole in the tongue. The sewing takes place only between the leather and rand, keeping the Gore-Tex puncture free.
- Stitch rands
The shop was able to stitch the entire rand using this machine.
- When done, restitch the corner of the tongue used for rand sewing access
Once rands stitching was complete, the access points used were sewn back together.
These boots had taken some abuse. The leather uppers were still in good condition but needed some love.
- Apply leather conditioner liberally
Using a sponge, ample amounts of leather conditioner were applied to the leather.
- Buff the newly coated leather, working in conditioner using another cool German cobbler machine
Using this industrial shoe buffing machine below, the conditioner was worked deep into the leather.
- Now ready to hit the backcountry
Take Home Message
We were extremely excited with the end product. We’ll certainly be getting a bunch more hunts out of these boots. Gary’s is a legit boot repair shop and the boots look and feel professionally done. Crispi boots are solidly made and a top tier boot. Having the ability to bring life back into them instead of trashing is a great option and saves money in the long run.