Do you have a favorite pair of Crocs that you wear all the time? Do you think that Crocs are one of the best footwear related inventions ever? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you are like me. I have worn out more than one pair of Crocs in my time. This being the case, I started buying cheap Croc imitations. They lasted about as long, but were much cheaper to buy. (for the purpose of this ‘ible, I’ll use the term “Croc” to mean both, authentic and imitations.)
The problem I have is that the soles of the Crocs wear out and become flat, slippery, and holes develop. These particular Crocs have just finished a one year tour in Iraq, and are now three months into my current Afghanistan tour. Sure, I could just go but another pair from the PX, but then why waste money, and put these in a landfill (most likely here, they will get burnt and lots of poisonous gases put into the air.)
The next problem is that everywhere you go in the Middle East, it’s tile floors. These floors are mopped constantly. I don’t have to tell you that "tile + water=ice skating rink!" These tiles are slippery even with brand new soles on really good shoes.
I tried a few things to fix the crocs. I cut notches into the sole. I even took a die grinder to the shoe to make new “valleys” in the shoe. Nothing worked.
So enter my current solution. I’m writing this as I’m making these, so I’m not sure how they’ll last long term, but I plan to post my findings as they develop.
What we are going to do is to “retread” the Crocs with a bicycle tire. The tire I have is the only one I could get. It was destined to end up in the trash, so we are saving another item from a landfill (or more burning.)
Step 1: What You Need
Of course you need a worn out set of Crocs (note, this same technique could be applied to other types of shoes, but as always, your mileage may vary.)
An old bicycle tire. The fatter the better, but stay away from mountain bike tires as they treads could be uncomfortable to walk on. I want to thank Garden State Bicycles in Whitehouse Station NJ who provided a tire for free to me in Afghanistan. There website is here...
Shoe-Goo adhesive. Other adhesives might work, but I know this stuff is good for my purposes.
A knife -if you don’t have a knife, check out my ‘ible on the GRUK here…
Scissors are nice to have
Weights or straps to clamp down on the rubber while it hardens. (However, there are hundreds of ways to “skin this cat.” Be creative.)
Some plastic bags, or bubble wrap or something to stuff inside the Croc while you work on it.
Step 2: Let Get Started.
Wash those Crocs! They need to be clean to make sure you get a good seal on the glue.
Step 3: Prepare the Tire.
Most tires have a metal wire bead that needs to be cut off. Using diagonal cutters or wire snips cut both metal bands.
Now, cut away the band from the rubber tread portion of the tire. I made the mistake of not cutting away enough of the “non-contact” tire portion for the first strips I made. After that, I learned to cut right up to the rubber that meets the road of the tire.
The reason this is a problem is that it pushes the tire away from the Croc when you are trying to glue it up. If I was home and had access to my shop, I could have made a jig to hold the rubber on better while it dried. But being stuck here, I have to make due.
Step 4: Cut the Strips
Now, cut lengths of the tire to match the shoe of the shoe. You don’t need to get it 100% perfect yet, in fact, you may even want to have a little overhang now. You can trim off any excess later.
One note to consider, make sure that where the exact point of contact with your heel and the ball of your foot are directly above the center of a piece of tire. If not, you will feel the joint when you walk and it might not be as comfortable.
Step 5: Warm Up the Crocs
I placed the Crocs and the rubber strips on the radiator. Please be careful if you do this. I kept my radiator low, but if it is too hot, it can melt the shoe and/or cause a fire.
This was two fold. One, I wanted to make sure they were dry and warm, to speed up the curing time and to make them more malleable. Huh, I mean three fold.
NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!
Step 6: The Hard Part
Grow two more sets of arms and hands! I don’t know how to do it either, but you need it to glue these up. Note, if you have plenty of time, you can do one strip every few hours. This may take longer, but it will allow you to get the best possible seal on each one. I chose to break the shoe into front and back sections. So I did about 3 strips at a time. At first I put the glue on the shoe, but that didn’t work as well as putting it on the tire and then placing the tire on the shoe. Make sure you get a complete covering and that the rubber gets pressed on really well so it can dry.
Once you have the strips on, somehow clamp them down and let the glue set. Note, heat makes Shoe Goo dry faster. I put my Crocs on the radiator.
Don’t forget to stuff the Crocs with bags or something to give it support.
Step 7: Now Wait
Take a break. Let the glue set up. Now is a good time for a break. BTW, do you know how hard it is to get Guinness in Afghanistan? VERY hard! I really think that if they had it flowing freely here, that peace would come much easier! 8>)
Step 8: Trim to Suit Your Tastes and Enjoy!
Once dry, trim the rubber flaps to your own liking. Here is the finish product. Note, it isn’t pretty, but it works!
Place Crocs on your feet and enjoy the new traction!
Please feel free to leave any feedback!