"A Stitch in time saves nine... or you having to buy new trail runners"

June 6, 2018

By Nick Whitbread

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We all love our trail runners. They live by the front or back door begging for us to take them for a spin even when we may not feel like it. They protect our feet and they get us where we need to go. At the same time they aren't inexpensive so having them last as long as possible is important. 

When it comes to trail runners the uppers can easily be the first thing to break down leaving a pair of trail runners with plenty of good life in them useless. I have tried sewing the uppers back together and adding my own overlays. The best results I have had are with creating a rubber rand in the areas the shoes break down with a flexible rubber glue. If I don't glue a pair of shoes before I run in them I usually get 3-5 months out of them. With glue added when new I can get over a year. The money savings and the reduced impact on the environment matter to me so here’s the process that I use. If you have the same problem it might save you some money in shoes and make your favourite pair of trail runners last that much longer. 

Step 1. Buy a new pair of trail runners

I have tried this with old shoes and though it does work, the glue came off quickly. The glue has trouble bonding to a surface that isn't 100% clean.

Step 2. Materials

I buy the glue that I use at Home Depot (pictured). It costs around $8 and will probably do that many pairs of shoes. The glue is flexible. I use duct tape to mask up the are where I want to apply the glue. It makes it look a little neater. Scissors are handy for cutting the tape.

Step 3. Where to apply the Glue

The glued area will keep water in or out so think about that before you choose where to apply it. I just use it in the areas I know from my experience that the shoe is going to fail first (marked with green arrows).

Step 4. Masking

If you want it somewhat pretty, place tape around the border of where you want to apply the glue.

Step 5. Apply Glue

You don't need a lot of glue. I use a piece of tape on the end of my finger as a spreader for the glue. Massage it into the fabric in the area where you are applying the glue. Let the glue set for a few minutes and then remove the tape. If you have something to stick the tape on you can re-use it for the next layer. I usually do three layers. letting the glue dry for 24 hours between coats. The glue dries clear so it makes the area where the glue was applied shiny. As you run in the shoes, get them dirty, expose them to the sun, the rubber will darken and look a lot less pretty. It's small price to pay for having my shoes last twice as long. also it's not a beauty contest out there :)

Step 6. Hit the trails

Now you can get out there and mix it up in the trails knowing that the investment you made in your trail runners will go as far as it can.

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Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

UPRIVER RUNNING | EST. 2016