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Shoe Sole Repair/Improvement

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This instructable shows a way of repairing or replacing the sole of a shoe with urethane rubber. It has a lot of room for improvement. I used it as a way to learn more about mold making and casting. Follow along and pick up some do's and don't that I found out!
 
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Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials
For this project I used:
1. plaster of paris for the mold of the shoes
2. cake pan for the mold container
3. Ease Release 200 mold release agent
4. PMC-790 urethane rubber
5. plastic mixing cup
6. stir stick
7. kitchen scale

Step 2: The Mold

Picture of The Mold
The first thing I learned from this project is that plaster of paris makes a very poor mold unless you use some sort of sealer to keep if from flaking away when you de-mold the shoes. You can get away without the sealer, which is why I haven't listed it in the materials section, but it's pretty easy use a silicone or latex sealer to keep everything together if you want.

The mold making process is pretty straight forward:
1. mix up the plaster to about peanut butter consistency
2. press the shoes into the plaster to capture the shape of the bottom of the shoe (keep the shoes level front-to-back and side-to-side or you'll have a funny walking feeling on uneven shoes)
3. add traction or designs to the bottom of the new shoes by drawing lines, shapes, or words into the plaster
4. let it dry thoroughly
5. spray the release agent on the mold as recommended by the instructions on the can

(the picture is actually of the shoes being cured to the rubber, but you get the idea)
bob303010 months ago
I myself am interested in casting materials for fun or repair. I appreciate your sharing your experience using these products and methods. Thanks for posting.
Advar10 months ago
Nice 'ible. If you want/need more traction, fine sand mixed into the rubber helps. I did that with tool dip & a pair of beat up sneakers.
Btw, how's the molding going?
Ranie-K11 months ago
So I'm curious, since I've re-soled a lot of shoes in my job myself; Why don't you use regular soles and contact cement? You'd need to roughen the surface on the shoes and the soles, apply contact cement on both sides and stick (and press) together when dry (follow contact cement directions). Cut and and sand edges. Apply shoe-paint to edges if desired.
NearSpaceLuke (author)  Ranie-K11 months ago
I certainly could have brought these shoes to my local shoe repair, or done it the conventional way myself. That isn't very much fun, though! This was more an exercise in learning and using urethane rubber than it was in shoe repair.
poofrabbit11 months ago
Perhaps an oven bake clay might work, for the small area you would really need to use for the mold. I'll have to brain storm, but I'm sure something else could be done or you could use a spray over the plaster. That said, this is a great idea! I'm thinking of all the shoes I've thrown out that I could have fixed.
NearSpaceLuke (author)  poofrabbit11 months ago
Oven bake clay shrinks quite a bit when it dries. There may be a variety that doesn't, but I would avoid that possibility.
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