Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Fix Shoes with Shabby Velcro

Over the summer, my sister-in-law gave us a bag of clothes and shoes for Little Gal.  It was very sweet of her, and full of beautiful things.  Her youngest daughter had grown out of the items, and she wanted to pass them on to us.  

There were ballet shoes, some fancy velvet shoes (I'm thinking Christmas), and these adorable black Mary-Jane shoes.  Little Gal really needed some black shoes for church, so I was thinking these would be perfect.  I got her dressed for church one day and as we were walking out the door, she told me the shoes wouldn't stay on because the velcro kept coming undone.  After watching her, it was totally true.  Bummer!  Quick wardrobe change and we were out the door.

I knew we either needed to buy new shoes, or fix these ones.  Like many things, I let it simmer until I came up with a possible solution.  I fixed them the way I'm about to explain, however, you really do have a second option if this one doesn't work for you.  I'll explain that second option, I just don't have pictures to illustrate it as I didn't need to use it.

Let's get started!


Thread in complimentary color
Needle Nose Pliers

Examine your shoe.  See where the velcro matches up, and look for any places where you might be able to add elastic into the strap.  Try the shoe on your child (or whomever will be wearing it) while holding the strap tight and on the shoe, and see if they can slip the shoe on and off without needing more "give".  In our case, Little Gal could slip her foot on without needing extra or needing less.  I put the strap where I wanted it to hold it fast, then moved onto the next step.

IF YOUR SHOE DOES NOT GO ON AND OFF EASILY, never fear...yet!  If you're really determined to fix the shoes, you may be able to cut the strap at a discrete place, then stitch the straps to both sides of some elastic.

For example, if Little Gal's foot wouldn't have gone off and on, I would have cut the strap right where the strap is laced through that little buckle on the instep of the shoe.  I may have trimmed the strap a little if I needed give, but not necessarily MORE strap.  I would have then sewn the straps back onto a doubled-up piece of black (or complimentary color) elastic.  I would have threaded it back through the little buckle piece, then continued onto the next steps.

Thread your needle.  Since I wanted this to be heavy-duty, I used a double threaded needle instead of a single threaded needle.

Mark or remember where the strap is going to permanently end up.  Pull the strap off of the velcro, then stick the needle through the inside of the strap on the velcro side.  This way your knot will be hidden.

Once you've pulled the needle and thread through, replace the strap where you want it.

Begin stitching about a 1 inch line.  Take care to follow the stitching that the manufacturer sewed.  It will be easier.  Use that thimble and the needle nose pliers to help you.  These shoes were both leather and man-made on the top, and it was pretty rough at times.  It killed my needle.  

After you've stitched about an inch down the shoe, you'll need to stitch back up on the other side of the velcro unless you want to go all the way down the strap, stitch across, then stitch back up.  I didn't want to or feel it was necessary.

Cross over when working on the inside of the shoe, so that you can't see that huge stitch (I'm pointing to it with my pliers) on the outside.  

Continue up the shoe.  Do a couple of extra stitches if you're worried about durability.  Tie the knot on the inside so nobody can see it.

Can you see the stitches?  I can only see a hint of one when I'm looking at the shoe carefully in my hand.  Woohoo for saving some money and not wasting perfectly good (well, NOW perfectly good) shoes!

Have you mended shoes before?  Any tips?  I'm particularly interested in finding out if there's a better needle to be used for this sort of thing.  I just used a general use one.  I also have an awl that I could have used to make the needle holes, but didn't think of it at the time.


  1. Well done!
    An upholstery needle might work. They can take very heavy fabric, so they may do well with shoe material.

    I recently made repairs to my own sneakers. I glued trim back on, with a rubber cement-type adhesive. Then I reglued the insert back into both shoes, as they kept slipping about, and annoying me. I used hot glue for the inserts. We've done quickie repairs to the inside of my daughter's ballet shoes, with duct tape. If you wear ballet shoes long enough you wear holes in them, near the toes. A piece of duct tape works great in a pinch. You put the duct tape on the inside, and it's not visible on the outside. Any sticky part of the duct tape which shows through the leather can be made non-sticky with baby powder. Next up, my husband's sneakers need some repairs. I was hoping we could just buy new ones, but it looks like I'll be fixing his up.

    1. Thank you!

      I'm going to have to see if I have an upholstery needle. I believe I needed one once for a project. Great idea! Thank you so much!

      Wow. I had never thought of using a rubber cement-type adhesive. What a good idea! Makes me wonder if I can repair my son's rain boots that way. Hmmm. Great tips on the ballet shoe repairs too!

      Even though you wanted to buy new sneakers, sounds like you are wonderfully equipped to mend his and I'm certain they'll be great!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. Katie,
      the rubber cement type adhesive is called E6000. The label calls it industrial strength adhesive. I bought it at Jo-Ann fabrics. It's flexible once dried, so great for things like shoes whose material bends with wear. The trim has now remained in place for about a month and a half, so I'm pleased.

      Thanks for the encouragement on repairing my husband's sneakers. Maybe this weekend I'll get to them.

    3. I keep hearing about E6000! I guess I need to get some. Thanks for the information!