Back in the Saddle with Big News and Shoe Goo (UPDATED!)

Well, hello there stranger! It feels good to be back online. I took a brief (2 months?!) hiatus from blogging to enjoy the holidays, travel and focus on my family. To say the last few months has been a roller coaster is an understatement.

To make the long story short…after several weeks of negotiations (and more than a few emotional ebbs and flows), my husband’s company was bought out by a well-known, publicly traded media company (click here to see press release). Woo-hooooo! It’s a win for both companies, and the team is excited to be part of a revolution in the industry.  I’m elated to have my husband back (physically, emotionally and spiritually, ha!), and Gemma is enjoying the extra attention and playtime she’s getting from daddy. We’re looking forward to a quick family getaway this weekend to Wintergreen (Virginia) to ski, ice skate and make great memories!

And while I’m on the subject of cold weather, we’ve had our fair share of freezing temps this winter…even a few snow/ice days (rare, for NC). While packing for our weekend trip, I found my favorite pair of snow boots. They are comfy, warm and unfortunately, the outer rubber shell has cracked. Honestly, I’ve only worn these boots a total of 12-15 days in the last 6 years!

When I first noticed the problem last spring, I contacted the manufacturer and learned the boots have a lifetime warranty for defects (and Columbia admitted these were a defective style). I was pleasantly surprised to get a brand new replacement pair of boots in the mail a few weeks after submitting my documentation. However, I was bummed I didn’t get to choose a comfortable style (to address my wide foot) or color (to coordinate with my existing winter wardrobe). The new boots are okay. Wouldn’t have chosen (bleh) brown or a boot with the higher ankle shaft (as the top of the shaft on the new boots digs into my calf when I walk). But they were free…so I really shouldn’t complain, right?!

old boots new boots

I’ve worn the new pair a few times (even despite the fashion-clash…oh, the horror! LOL) but held onto the old boots with hopes I might be able to repair them. So earlier this week I found myself fresh off an REI-run where not one, not two, but three employees were eager to help me find a solution to heal my broken boot.

cracked boot

We settled on a fix-it collection of 1) Shoe Goo (a waterproof adhesive/sealant; $6, REI), 2) ParkTool TB-2 Emergency (bike) Tire Boot (a thin, reinforced adhesive tire boot film; $3.50, REI), 3) Tenacious Tape Patches (round adhesive patches similar to duct tape; $2.95, REI), and 4) a 10-inch piece of bicycle inner tubing from the REI recycle bin (FREE thanks to the bike shop attendant).

boot repair options

After closer inspection, I decided the Shoe Goo and Tenacious Tape patches would likely be my best options. So here’s how my experiment went…

Step 1. Cleaned the surface of the boot. Stuffed the toe of the boot with paper towels.

Step 2. Used a popsicle stick to apply a thin layer of Shoe Goo to the open crack base layer and between all open edges of cracked rubber. Cut a piece of Tenacious Tape patch to roughly the size of the cracked opening and wedged that piece inside the opening to seal the inner soft shell and create a new base layer for the next step of Shoe Goo. 

Shoe Goo to inner shell

Tenacious Tape patch to create new base layer

Step 3. Used a popsicle stick to apply another layer of Shoe Goo between the layer of Tenacious Tape patch and the outer rubber layer. I made a make-shift compress using popsicle sticks and rubber bands to keep pressure on outer rubber layer and then let the first layer of Shoe Goo dry for 2 hours. Repeated this step and let dry for 3 hours before removing the compress.

Shoe Goo under compression

Step 4. Cut another piece of Tenacious Tape patch and affixed to entire cracked area to seal Shoe Goo, making sure to press all edges to ensure tight seal.

Tenacious Tape seal

"Fixed" boots

I’m hopeful this will give extended life to my winter boots, and our weekend on the mountain will be a great test of the waterproofing and durability/adhesion capabilities of the Tenacious Tape.

I’ll post a follow-up next week with the results of this project. At least I know I have a back-up pair of boots waiting for me at home if this doesn’t turn out as I hope it will! Until then, I hope y’all have a great weekend!! Stay warm and snuggle with your loved ones!

UPDATE (2/10/14): Despite my well-intentioned DIY attempt to fix my favorite snow boots, I am sad to report it was not a success. I can safely say the boot itself became an epic fail. Not only did the spot I fixed begin to tear around the edge of my glue/tape but new cracks began to open on the other boot (in no less than 4 different spots). Its clear the rubber on these boots was indeed defective (as Columbia admitted), and I was possibly too optimistic I could salvage them. I’m happy I got another weekend out of them before tossing them out. Now to break in my replacement pair (and just in time as we’re expected to get another bit of snow or ice this week…yay, grrrr!).

more cracks in the rubber

more cracks in the rubber 2

2 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle with Big News and Shoe Goo (UPDATED!)

  1. Hi Jill. My sister and I took a trip to the snowy mountains and our Columbia snow boots started cracking too. Since living in Southern California, snow is seen here and there. I checked Columbia’s warranty online and I wanted to know if you had your receipt. I hope I receive a new pair since I wore them a few times.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Lizette…I did not have my original receipt. I simply called the customer service hotline from Columbia’s website and explained the cracking. They were super helpful and sent out a replacement pair within a week of my call. Good luck!

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