Instructables
Picture of Slick Shoes - No More : Retread Your Old Kicks
I recently began googling for DIY ways to fix my slick soled 1+ year old Keens (out of warranty), which have become very worn down.  After reading up on possible retread methods like gluing actual tread from automobile tires, I decided to see if there was a simpler way to go about giving my Keens their edge once again.  I wanted more than the sandpaper or a glue method since I would find myself on river rocks soon and didn't want to find myself cussing out the 100 grit paper. or shoe goo.  With Dremel in hand,  I laid claim my Keen's tread once again and would like to share with you my pursuit of the perfect retread.
 
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Step 1: Before

Picture of Before
As you can see here,  my shoes are quite miserable.  If they were automobile tires and a police officer was checking them out,  I'd surely get a ticket. 

Step 2: Use Dremel and Cutting Wheel

Picture of Use Dremel and Cutting Wheel
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A few bits of advise for you if you so choose to be advised.  Use proper eye protection, gloves, and a mask.  It is also a good idea to wear a long sleeved shirt and other protective clothing as I was pelted by melted rubber throughout the process.  Old clothing is a good idea and protect anything around you from melted rubber.  The mask is a good idea b/c it gets pretty smokey.

Use the Dremel and Cutting Wheel to cut grooves out of the bottom of the shoe.   As you can see,  I was using a basic pattern that is perpendicular to the motion of travel.   This will allow the shoe to flex a bit more easily and allow for additional traction.  

I took several breaks b/c the Dremel did have a tendency to overheat.  I had it set to speed #4 most of the time and I wouldn't bear down on it too long before removing the Dremel from the sole to let the engine to cool down as it spun freely.  Watch out for the flying hot rubber bits !! This could be prevented by using a spray bottle to spray down the sole as you progress. 


Awesome.
I have Keens, a Dremel, and one less worry. Thanks!
wow this is really cool
You could avoid the mess and do this quicker and easier with a tire groover. You can pick one up on eBay for under $50. Depending on how expensive your shoes are and how much additional life you get out of them using this trick, it should pay for itself in a couple of pairs.
synthescape (author)  Shawn Stanford2 years ago
Thanks Shawn, I didn't know a tire groover existed. Where were you 24 hours ago ? lol. ......
Sweet moves ! I just googled for a "tire groover" and see what you are talking about. Could come in handy for any rubber meets the road device. Many thanks for your comment Shawn.