Boot Repair for my Best Friend

Happy Max

In winter of 2018, my then 15-year old dog Max tested a set of dog booties that had been sent to his rehab therapist. Originally we were protecting his paws from the rock salt that many people in my neighborhood use to melt ice in the winter. They did the trick, but Max was pretty hard on them. He does some intermittent scuffing with his back feet due to arthritis in his lower back.

As his arthritis has progressed, I’ve used the boots to help stabilize his back legs on slippery steps and protect his pad from unusually hot and cold asphalt and cement. Most recently, I discovered that his back paws are splaying wider than before. His toenails are filing down to the quick on our daily walks. His poor toenails need protection.

NO PROBLEM – I’m a shoe maker, I’ve got skills. I’ve got supplies. AND my best friend needs his boots.

Here’s the repair process

In the first photo above, you can see the wear, the tear and splitting after a few months of hard wear. They were in need of some serious repair.

First, I made a pattern for the new sole by tracing a boot onto a file folder. Fit the pattern to both boots. Make minor adjustments. Note- there is a right and left boot. You only need one pattern. You just turn it from one side to the other get the right or left boot.

To control the splits and the possibility of Max’s paws getting pinched if I didn’t secure them, I added a light leather liner to cover the splits and help maintain the original shape.

Trace and cut the right and left shoe pattern on the leather and soling materials. Next, I cut them with a utility knife. The key to success is to change your blade often. (See top right photo.)

Check the cut pieces against the boots a final time.Apply 2 coats of glue. Wait for the first coat to dry completely. Apply the second coat.

The Next Day…

After the second glue had dried for several hours, I reactivated the glue with a heat gun and glued the new liner and new sole over the damaged sole. I used a roller to make sure I got the sole completely covered. I use neoprene contact cement for my shoes.

Pressure is applied by wrapping each boot with elastic banding and securing it with masking tape.

The next morning I unwrapped the boots and finished the repair by grinding the edges of the soles with my dremel tool.

The repair works. My best friend is happy. The repair is starting to wear already. They will need to be repaired again and I’ll continue to do it. My Max is worth it!

You can do this too! Follow the steps above.

 To make the pattern you will need:
•1 file folder or light weight cardboard (empty cereal box weight)
•A pair of scissors
•A pen

To make the repair you will need:
•One utility knife
•A small piece of light weight leather
•A sheet of soling rubber
•Contact Cement – Barge or even shoe goo
•Elastic banding or elastic first aid wrap
•A rolling pin
•Masking tape
•Sand paper to finish the edge

These supplies are readily available online at or Tandy Leather online or in store.

If you don’t want to take it on, you can send the boots to me and I’ll do it for you. OR Host a workshop for you and your dog loving friends. Let’s talk about how that could work for you and your dog. Email me for details.