Can You Use Gorilla Glue For Shoe Soles? How Does It Hold Up?

Gorilla Glue For Shoe Soles

It doesn’t matter how carefully we treat our shoes, they’ll eventually end up needing to be repaired. The soles tear away, holes form along the seams, and they fall apart. Don’t toss out your old pair of shoes just yet. You can usually salvage your favorite pair of shoes with a little bit of glue, but what kind of glue works best?

Can You Use Gorilla Glue On Shoes? Gorilla glue has become a popular shoe repair tool among hikers, backpackers, and runners. It’s a cost-effective alternative to traditional shoe repair products and it can be used on almost any type of material (extremely versatile). There are more durable shoe repair glues, but gorilla glue works in a pinch.

Anybody that’s spent a lot hiking or running has experienced the inevitable wear and tear the occurs over heavy milage. Some people view their worn down shoes as a source of pride. It’s tangible, undeniable proof that you’ve wracked up miles on your feet, but there’s a certain point where your shoes start falling apart.

Gorilla glue is one of many products that are designed to salvage your favorite pair of sneakers. Some products work better than others, but most clear, waterproof, flexible glues should hold up for a while.

I’ve had a lot of luck using gorilla glue over the years, but there are times where it’s better to use a silicone based product like Shoe GOO. In the rest of this post I’ll explain when you can use gorilla glue and go over a few times where it probably won’t hold up.

Gorilla Glue Is Great For Shoe Sole Repairs

Gorilla Glue is flexible enough to be used on shoe sole repairs.
Gorilla Glue is flexible enough to be used on shoe sole repairs

It’s easy to assume your shoes are officially trashed once they start falling apart, but don’t toss them out just yet! You can almost always repair your shoes with a simple product that can be found at almost any store. All it takes is a little bit of glue to bring your ratty old shoes back to life.

Shoes are constantly bending and flexing, so you need to find a glue that creates a strong flexible bond. That’s where Gorilla Glue comes in! Gorilla Glue is made out of a flexible polyurethane so it can twist and bend with the shoe. The bond would snap instantly if it wasn’t able to move/bend with the shoe.

Most regular glues won’t work for shoe repairs since they’re designed for stationary repairs. Products like Super Glue typically use an Epoxy based or contact cement style bond. That’s a great option for flat surfaces, but will quickly fall apart with a flexible moving object (like a shoe).

Gorilla Glue is a cheap and easy way to repair your shoes. Just make sure you go with the Clear Grip Waterproof Contact Adhesive. That’s the version that’s designed to be used on flexible repairs and they even market it towards shoe repairs.

It goes on clear and will start to hold within 30 seconds (takes 24 hours to fully cure). You basically can’t screw it up since Gorilla Glue bonds to almost everything (except plastic). Here are a few of the reasons why you should use Gorilla Glue for shoe repairs.

  1. Flexible Bond: Gorilla Glue creates a flexible bond that moves with the shoe.
  2. Goes On Clear: It goes on clear so you won’t see Gorilla Glue coming out of the seams.
  3. Fast Drying: Gorilla Glue will start to hold within 30 seconds and takes less than 24 hours to fully cure.
  4. Extreme Durability: It’s one of the most durable glues on the market.
  5. Bonds To Almost Any Material: Gorilla Glue is highly versatile since it can bond to almost any type of material (not plastic).
  6. Waterproof and Temperature Resistant: Gorilla Glue can handle extreme cold/heat and wet weather conditions.

What’s The Best Type Of Gorilla Glue For Shoe Repairs?

Almost every type of Gorilla Glue uses a similar polyurethane curing compound, but there are subtle differences to the formula. Make sure you go with the Gorilla Clear Grip Waterproof Contact Adhesive when you’re applying it to shoes. The standard version dries with a yellow flaky finish. It would still hold up strong, but look terrible on your shoes.

Gorilla Glue is a great option for repairing shoes, but Shoe Goo is a little bit better. It’s a silicone based product making it extremely flexible, so it should hold up longer than Gorilla Glue. You can find Shoe Goo at most department stores like Walmart/Target for about $1 more than Gorilla Glue.

Go with Shoe-Fix Glue if you’re looking for a professional repair. It’s kind of expensive, but that’s what most professional shoe repair services use. Just be careful because it’s like 5 times stronger than Gorilla Glue and takes less than 10 seconds to dry. So you won’t be able to clean up any mistakes and you’re basically screwed if you don’t apply it perfectly.

1. Gorilla Glue Creates A Strong Flexible Bond

Gorilla Glue creates a strong flexible bond making it perfect for repairing shoes. Your shoes bend a little bit with every step you take. So most glues won’t hold up to the constant movement. You need to find a glue that creates a flexible bond that moves with your shoes.

Gorilla Glue is made out of a flexible polyurethane so it’s the perfect choice for repairing shoes. It dries fast and clear making repairs that are almost undetectable. Gorilla Glue also uses a foaming agent to fill in gaps on uneven surfaces making an extremely durable bond. The only downside is it can make the repaired portions of your shoes feel stiff where the foam hardens around cushioning.

2. Find Gorilla Glue That Goes On Clear

It doesn’t matter how careful you are, a little bit of glue will always leak out around the edges. Be careful when choosing between different versions of Gorilla Glue. The Gorilla Glue you find in most stores has a yellow flaky finish. That’s fine with wood working, but it would look terrible on a pair of shoes.

Look for Gorilla Glue that has a clear finish so you won’t see it around the edges of your seams. It dries clear and won’t foam up so it should provide a clean looking finish. You can always scrape off excess glue with a knife if you’d like to clean up the edges.

3. Holds Together Within 30 Seconds (24 Hour Total Cure Time)

It only takes 30 seconds for gorilla glue to start drying and bonding objects together. That makes repairing your shoes easy since you won’t need to hold them together during the drying process.

Just understand that it takes 24 hours for Gorilla Glue to completely cure so hold off on wearing your shoes for a day. The glue won’t hold if you wear them early and you’ll be left with a mess. All the excess glue will have to be scraped off before you can try to reapply a fresh coat.

4. Gorilla Glue Is Very Easy To Apply

Most shoe repair glues fall into 2 extremes! They’re either a silicone based product like Shoe Goo that’s goopy and messy to apply. Or they use an extremely strong and fast drying glue where there’s no room for error (Shoe-Fix Glue).

Gorilla Glue falls right in the middle of the those extremes. It’s really easy to apply and it’s strong without overdoing it. There’s enough wiggle room to clean up any mistakes that you make unlike some of the professional shoe repair glues.

5. Extremely Durable For A Permanent Repair

Gorilla Glue is one of the strongest adhesives currently on the market. There are stronger glues, but they’re not flexible like Gorilla glue. So they’re better at holding stationary objects, but the glue snaps the second it gets twisted.

Gorilla Glue can withstand almost anything life throws at it. Once it’s bonded together you have to seriously work to pull the glue apart. It should provide a semi-permanent shoe repair that will last for years.

6. Bonds To Almost Any Type Of Material

Gorilla Glue bonds to almost any type of material. It can be used on fabric, rubber, leather, metal, paper, leather, ceramic wood, glass, and most plastics. So it can work on almost any type of shoes regardless of material.

The only thing gorilla glue won’t work on is polystyrene, polypropylene and polyethylene plastics. You can get around that by roughing up the plastic a little bit to give the glue a pores to bond into.

7. Waterproof And Temperature Resistant Glue

Unlike other glues, Gorilla Glue can hold up in almost any type of situation. It can handle extreme heat/cold, heavy rain, snow, and anything life throws at it. Other types of glues become brittle in the cold and melt in the heat.

I had a pair of shoes with Vibram Soles that ended up getting damaged in the trunk of my car. The heat caused the glue in the soles to melt and leak out ruining the shoes. It didn’t take long for the soles to completely fall off over the next month or two.

Gorilla Glue Vs Other Similar Products

Gorilla Glue vs other shoe repair glues

Gorilla Glue works really well for shoe repairs, but there other options. The main advantage with Gorilla Glue is that you can find it almost anywhere for $3-$4. Most people already have a bottle sitting in their drawer waiting to be used. Here’s a quick tip: Rub some vaseline on the threads of the bottle to keep it from hardening up.

Here are a few other options that you can choose from ranked from best to worst. Shoe Goo is actually better than Gorilla Glue, but it’s a little bit harder to find. It uses a silicone adhesive that’s more flexible/durable than Gorilla Glue.

  1. Shoe Goo Repair Adhesive (Silicone Adhesive)- Shoe Goo uses a flexible silicone adhesive that bends with the shoe. It’s a little bit more durable than Gorilla Glue, but harder to apply the thick goopy glue. You may want to thin out the adhesive using mineral spirits so it’s easier to apply.
  2. Shoe-Fix Shoe Glue (Cyanoacrylate Glue)- Expensive highly flexible glue that’s used by professional shoe repair services. It’s by far the strongest shoe repair glue, but it takes some practice getting the application down.
  3. Gorilla Glue Clear Grip Waterproof Contact Adhesive (Flexible Polyurethane)- Gorilla Glue is the perfect blend of strong, flexible, and easy to apply.
  4. Gear Aid Shoe Repair Glue (Urethane Adhesive)- This is basically a contact cement that’s a little bit too sturdy for reattaching soles. You can do that, but it’s usually used for rebuilding worn down sole edges.
  5. Loctite Super Glue (Temporary Fix)- Superglue is more of a temporary fix if that’s all you have. It’s not flexible enough to last long term, but it should get you through a few months.

Shoe Goo Is A Better Option If You Can Find It

I’ve been using Gorilla Glue on my shoes for years, but there is a better option. I recommend picking up a tube of Shoe Goo if you can get your hands on it. You can almost always find it at Walmart/Target and those types of stores, but it’s also available online.

Shoe Goo a silicone based adhesive that’s way more flexible than Gorilla Glue. It’s basically just 100% clear silicone mixed with a little bit of mineral spirits to thin the mixture. So it will stretch and bend with your shoes making a permanent repair that’s almost like new.

Gorilla Glue is almost just as durable, but there’s a different feel when using it on your shoes. The glue feels a bit stiff wherever it’s applied. It’s not that big of a deal since it’s barely noticeable, but worth mentioning.