9 Best Repairable Shoes: Ultimate Repairable Shoe Guide

Three hundred million shoes end up in landfill in the US every year. But what if we told you there were many options to prevent this? Choosing a pair of repairable shoes and repairing your old footwear is a great way to extend the life of your boots and lower your carbon footprint.

We’ve rounded up the best repairable shoes on the market and included a detailed guide on how to repair and recycle your old shoes. 

As the word suggests, repairable shoes are designed to be easily and economically repairable, extending their lifespan and reducing waste. These shoes are typically made with high-quality materials and construction techniques that allow them to withstand regular wear and tear. They feature soles, heels, and other components that can be replaced when worn or damaged.

To put it simply, by investing in high-quality, repairable sole shoes, eco-conscious, fashion-savvy folks can reduce their environmental impact and save money in the long run by avoiding the need to replace their footwear frequently.

Generally, shoes that are made with high-quality materials like leather are more likely to be repairable than those made with lower-quality materials (like PU). While repairable leather shoes are the most popular option, here are some additional footwear types that can easily be repaired at your local cobbler. 

  1. Repairable Dress shoes: Dress shoes are often made with stitched or welted construction, which makes them relatively easy to resole or have their heels replaced.
  2. Repairable walking boots: Boots are typically made with sturdy materials and construction methods that make them ideal candidates for repair. They can often be resoled, have their heels replaced, or even have their uppers repaired if they become damaged.
  3. Repairable sneakers: Some types of athletic shoes, such as running shoes or hiking boots, may be repairable. However, the repair options for these shoes may be more limited, as they often feature glued or molded soles that can be difficult to remove.
  4. Repairable Sandals: Some types of sandals, such as those with leather or cork footbeds, may be repairable. However, the repair options for sandals may be more limited than for other types of shoes, as they are often designed to be lightweight and flexible rather than sturdy and durable.

If even the most skilled cobbler can’t seem to be able to repair your footwear, maybe, it’s time to recycle them responsibly. 

Recycle your old shoes

Look for brands with reclamation programs such as Nike, Vivobarefoot, Thousand Fell, and Veja. For example, any Nike store will take any kind of athletic shoe to make into new Nikes or turn into industrial materials like playground and track surfacing.

If for some reason, you don’t have access to any of these brands, you can always take your footwear to a recycling waste facility that accepts shoes or follow any guidelines or regulations for shoe disposal in your area.

Use TerraCycle

TerraCycle offers a ZeroWaste box that you can purchase, fill with shoes and recycle. Maybe, one of your friends or family members is willing to share a box with you *wink.

Donate to Goodwill

If your shoes are still in good condition, you may be able to donate them to a local charity or organization. Look for organizations in your area that accept shoe donations, such as homeless shelters, women’s shelters, or organizations that support low-income families.

Yes, repairing shoes is very good for the environment. In a single year alone, an estimated 24.2 billion pairs of shoes were manufactured and 90% of shoes wind up in landfills. When shoes are repaired instead of thrown away, it reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills. Shoes can take years to decompose, so repairing them can help minimize their impact on the environment.

Plus, repairing shoes instead of buying new ones helps conserve natural resources like leather, rubber, and other materials used to make shoes. This can reduce the environmental impact of producing new shoes, including the energy and water required in the manufacturing process.

Let’s not forget that repairing shoes locally can reduce the carbon footprint associated with shipping and transporting new shoes from the manufacturer to the retailer and ultimately to the consumer. It can also reduce the environmental impact of producing new shoes, including the energy required in the manufacturing process.

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1. Allbirds

Allbirds repairable sneakers

Best For: Repairable sole sneakers

Materials: Wool and eucalyptus tree fiber.

Ships to: Worldwide

Allbirds need no introductions. They’re a favorite of ours, and after testing over three different pairs of Allbirds – we can vouch for the comfort and durability of the brand. But many people don’t know that they offer a free repair service for their sneakers! 

The brand that creates “the world’s most comfortable shoes” thrives on offering weather-proof sneakers with fantastic design and durable construction. We are referring to the cult-favorite Allbirds Tree Dasher, of course!  

Allbirds Wool runner

2. ABLE

Able repairable footwear

Best For: Repairable women’s shoes

Materials: Leather, synthetics, and plant-based materials

Ships to: Worldwide

From sandals and sneakers to women’s heels and women’s boots, ABLE is the place to be for sustainable footwear. The company uses many different types of leather, synthetic fabrics, and plant fibers. The materials come from LWG-certified tanneries in Portugal and Brazil that utilize clean water practices. In addition, most of their leather boots, heels, and loafers are converted by their life-long product repair or replacement guarantee.

Able repairable shoes

3. Bhava Studio

Bhava repairable shoes

Best For: Repairable walking boots

Materials: Recycled Microfiber, Organic Cotton & Cork 

Ships to: Worldwide

The NY-based ethical shoe company Bhava Studio offers an array of transformable high-knee to ankle boot style that features repairable cork soles. These repairable sole shoes also come with an eco-friendly care kit to help us keep our sustainable vegan leather boots in tip-top shape even after years of non-stop wear.

Plus, the company uses no formaldehyde, PVC, phthalates, or aromatics during manufacturing, which is a big plus.

Bhava repairable shoes

4. GORAL

Goral repairable sneakers

Best For: Repairable sneakers

Materials: Full-grain leather

Ships to: Worldwide

The UK-based premium footwear brand Goral offers a fantastic lifetime repair guarantee for all of their handcrafted repairable work shoes and casual shoes.

All pairs are made locally in GORAL’s family workshop. This means that their repairable men’s shoes –including insoles and outsoles–can be easily fixed through their own REBUILD+ service.

Goral sustainable sneakers

5. Nisolo

Nisolo repairable boots

Best For: Repairable sandals and repairable shoes

Materials: Vegetable-tanned leather

Ships to: Worldwide

It’s no secret that we absolutely love Nisolo and its wide range of ethical shoes! The stylish, eco-conscious brand ensures proper wastewater treatment, waste generation, and recycling.

Plus, 100% of the leather used in producing repairable shoes is from meat by-products that end up in landfills. While Nisolo does not offer a repair service, most cobblers can easily repair their footwear.  

Nisolo mens repairable leather shoes

6.

Rothys footwear

Best for: Recycled plastic vegan dress shoes

Materials: Eco-yarn from plastic bottles 

Ships to: Worldwide

Rothy’s makes long-lasting, premium-quality vegan dress shoes from discarded plastic bottles. The versatile vegan loafers for men and women feature an eco-friendly deodorizing insole that minimizes foot odor and is machine washable!

What’s even more amazing? The brand offers a repair service to help give your repairable dress shoes a second life as soon as they break down.

Rothys mens loafers

7. Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot barefoot repair kit

Best For: Repairable barefoot running shoes

Materials: Recycled plastic and organic cotton

Ships to: Worldwide

Aside from being one of the most well-known repairable shoe brands on the eco market, Vivobarefoot is also touted for its healthy, Ultra-flexible, and super grippy footwear for outdoor runners. But wear and tear are no reason to throw them away. That’s why the brand now offers repairs on most of their products. Usually, repairs take two weeks from arrival at our workshop.

Vivobarefoot

8. El Naturalista

El Naturalista eco friendly shoes

Best For: Repairable women’s shoes for everyday wear

Materials:  Recycled Microfiber, Organic Cotton & Cork 

Ships to: Worldwide

El Naturalista is a sustainable Spanish footwear company that aims to outfit us with premium quality shoes made of sustainable materials like recycled rubber and cork. Think sneakers and clogs to sandals, boots, and ballerinas.

Lauded as one of Europe’s best repairable shoe brands, all comfy and durable styles can easily be stitched back to perfection after they break down due to heavy wear. In fact, the brand has its own repair service ready to be taken advantage of. 

El naturalista footwear

9. VYN

Best For: repairable sneakers

Materials: Leather

Ships to: Worldwide

The Swedish footwear brand VYN offers a great range of repairable sneakers. The brand focuses on components that can be replaced at home without hassle. Plus, all heel components are interchangeable, meaning you can DIY a pair exactly as you want it! The leather is sourced from regenerative farms and is carbon neutral and ECO₂L certified.

YVN repairable shoes

What does it mean to resole shoes?

Repairable shoe brands often use the term “repairable sole shoes” when referring to footwear that can be brought back to life. Here’s what it really means: 

Resoling a shoe involves replacing the worn-out sole of the shoe with a new one. Over time, the soles of shoes can become worn down, cracked, or damaged, which can affect their comfort, grip, and durability. Resoling can help extend the life of the shoe by restoring the sole to its original condition and providing better traction and support.

During the resoling process, the old sole is removed from the shoe and replaced with a new one. The new sole is typically made from a similar material as the original sole and is attached to the shoe using glue, stitching, or a combination of both. The cobbler or repair professional will also typically clean and condition the shoe’s upper, inspect the shoe for any other damage or wear, and make any necessary repairs or replacements.

How Much Does It Usually Cost To Repair Shoes?

The cost of restoring shoes can vary widely depending on the extent of the repairs needed, the materials involved, and the location and skill level of the cobbler or repair professional. In general, simple repairs such as replacing a sole or heel may cost around $20 to $50, while more extensive repairs such as replacing uppers or repairing stitching may cost $100 or more. The cost of resoling a shoe may range from $40 to $100 or more, depending on the type of shoe and the materials used.

What Can’t A Cobbler Repair?

While there are many repairable men’s shoes and repairable sole shoes for women, unfortunately, some options cannot be brought back to life even in the hands of the most skilled cobblers.

If the uppers of a shoe are torn, ripped, or otherwise severely damaged, for example, it may not be possible to repair them. In some cases, the cobbler may be able to patch or reinforce the damaged area, but this will depend on how badly the shoes are damaged.

If the soles of a shoe are extremely worn-out, they may not be able to be resoled. In some cases, the cobbler may be able to reinforce the sole or apply a temporary fix, but the shoe may ultimately need to be replaced.

Lastly, shoes that are made with glued components, such as some types of athletic shoes or sandals, may be more difficult to repair than those made with stitched or welted construction. If the glue has failed or become damaged, it may be difficult or impossible to repair the shoe.

Wrapping Up: Repairable shoes

We hope you enjoyed the article, and have found repairable shoes that guarantee to stay in your arsenal for years. If you’re looking for the Best Wool Shoes, Sustainable Kids Shoes, or vegan sandals, make sure you check out our guides.

Konstantina Antoniadou
Konstantina Antoniadou

Konstantina Antoniadou is a sustainability writer focused on helping conscious readers discover the best fashion, beauty & home products on the eco market. When she’s not crafting ethical shopping guides she’s either trying to perfect her roller skate dance moves, thrifting, or bingeing series for the hundredth time.

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