Fix a Separated Boot Zipper (any Zipper, Really)




Introduction: Fix a Separated Boot Zipper (any Zipper, Really)

About: I'm a life-hacking reuse junkie who loves to create, even if all I'm making is a mess. I love hammers and rocks and history and hand planes. I hugged trees before it was cool but can still operate a chainsaw. …

It's frustrating. You're up, showered, dressed. Coffee's in the cup. The only thing standing between you and doing stuff is shoes. But you go to zip up your boot and it happens: the zipper separates.

Sure, you could wear different shoes, change your whole outfit, or throw up your hands in despair and go back to bed... But you don't give up that easily. You've got ass to kick and it ought to be in the boots you feel like kickin' in.

For this task you'll need:
-a bit of wax (I'm using Johnson Paste Wax)
-wax applicator (a finger works fine, but a small rag or Q-Tip is good if you don't want to smell like paste wax all day)

You also might need:
-needlenose pliers

Grab your supplies and let's show this boot who's boss!

Step 1: Work the Zipper Down

The reason your zipper separated is that somewhere along the line a tooth didn't fall into place. In order to remedy the situation, you'll need to work the zipper back down below that point.

When you hit resistance, avoid the urge to force the zipper down. This could bend or break the teeth beyond repair. Instead, use a combination of gently wiggling it, reversing it, and tugging on one side or another of the zipper terminus.

Step 2: Straighten, Snip & Clean

Examine the zipper teeth. If any are obviously bent, straighten them out. Depending on the severity of the bend, you may need to use needlenose pliers for this task. Bend slowly and carefully to avoid turning a bent tooth into a broken one.

Wipe off any dust or grime and snip any loose threads that could impede the zipper's path.

Step 3: Wax On, Take Off

Load your applicator and spread a fair amount of wax to all the zipper teeth. Work into the grooves and into the zipper itself.

Give the zipper a zip back and forth. Do this slowly, watching to be sure all the teeth are catching.

If you meet resistance, reverse zip, apply a tad more wax, and retry. If you're still meeting resistance, go back a step and straighten up.

If you're zipper is now behaving, wipe off the excess wax, do whatever trash talking you need to do ("Who's your mamma now, boot? You think I'm gonna let a dumb little zipper ruin my day? Pshaw!"), and put on your shoe.

Time to get out the door and go kick some ass.

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    Question 2 years ago

    Are there other types of wax that can be used? Or any other product that can be used in place of the wax? (chapstick? coconut oil- in its solid state?)

    Spring Wise
    Spring Wise

    Answer 1 year ago

    Of course! Anything slippery will work. I like wax because it stays put for awhile, but anything slippery should do the job at least temporarily


    5 years ago

    Thanks - you saved my leather jacket. I didn't have wax but used chapstick.


    5 years ago

    Most of the time the zipper breaks because the slider wears out and will not mesh the teeth. Cleaning and lubing teeth is good preventative maintenance but will not usually fix a worn out slider. Nice article but it is misleading because people will thing they can fix a worn out slider and waste their time. You can pinch the slider a little for a temporary fix. If it's a coil zipper on a boot which is common, the thread that holds coils (teeth) in place usually starts to wear near the ankle and the the teeth become mangled misaligned so it ends up separating in the same way. This is very common and to fix it you need to either stitch back over each coil individually or replace the whole zipper...

    Check out Zipper Rescue at there is a wealth of knowledge to be had from this company and they have great customer service.