Footwear delamination issues on trail? What would you do?

6:11 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I have read in many places that the Asolo 520s have delamination issues. I remember Tipi making a reference to this some time back...

I have also read of this issue on other venues as well. 

So I notice a story today on the Mountain Madness FB web page and I see a reference to a pair of boots falling apart. I quickly go to the story(I'm a gear nerd like that.)

Well, guess what boot it was? Asolo 520s. 

Here is that story: 


This got me thinking. 

If you have an issue like this while on trail would you abort the mission, keep plodding along until the boots completely gave out, or would you try to fix them in the field and alleviate the issue completely?

Next question, if you were going to fix them how would you do so? I personally do not carry Shoe Goo with me on trail but am starting to wonder if I should. 


6:37 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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best way to work that out would be to wrap the area as best you can with duct tape until your closes outfitter source for shoe goo. That stuff works miracles. If you can even get some tree sap onto the boot then duct tape...that would maybe hold. I go no where without duct tape.

6:51 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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A tube of McNett's Free Sole is pretty dang light but if it comes to that then I'd get a serious attitude adjustment regarding the boot in question, i.e. the dang Asolo 520's.  In other words, if you need to carry a tube of boot glue then you're wearing some pretty crappy boots, i.e. Asolo 520's.

Beyond this, field repair has been done before with duct tape as mentioned.  Problem is, the bottom of the duct tape will wear out fast.

Another good option is to bury the boots (or burn the dang things) and finish the trip in your camp shoes, crocs, tevas, etc.

Further, before every trip I'd make a careful study of your boots and soles as most delam begins with a small opening before crisis.

6:53 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Duct tape will do the trick but I think how well not only has to do with climate and conditions but also what type of terrain you are on. 

The rocks here would destroy a duct tape fix in a very short amount of time. So in a sense it would be somewhat pointless to take this approach to fixing any of my footwear unless I had a massive amount of it at my disposal. 

So with that being said one would have to take into account the above factors in regards to what would be the best fix if that is what one chose to do. 

I admit shoe goo is decent stuff. 

Kaylee, are you familiar with Barge Cement?

From what I know cobblers utilize it and it seems to do a better long term job than Shoo Goo from my own experiences and the feedback from what I have read. 

I have used it and it does hold up well. I used it for fixing my workboots for industrial construction. 

Oh and it smells awesome...

6:55 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Further, before every trip I'd make a careful study of your boots and soles as most delam begins with a small opening before crisis.

 +1 Tipi. You love those 520s don't you? ;)

7:38 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Asolos are my fave as they fit comfortably right out of the box, and I've had no problemos with the Asolo 95 FSN's or the Fugitives.  The 520's?  Well mine are all glued up and ready for a trip.  Who wants to use them?

7:45 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick, do you think it would do any good to try a little preventative medicine? What if you ran a bead of seam sealer or shoe goo or something around the join, to keep water and dirt out and maybe prevent the first small gaps that then lead to catastrophe? Might at least slow down the process.

If you start packing stuff for field repair, don't forget the alcohol wipes!

9:57 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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You can protect stitch seams and other potential problem areas of your footwear with a products such as Aquaseal Stitch Guard.

My boots have a rand that extends further up than the midsole so sealing this area may not be of much help.

(Notice the rubber that extends up the side of the upper.)

My worry in doing any "extra preventive maintenance" is it may cause problems if I want to have them resoled, or any other repair work done on them.

I do know that over treating leather can cause issues when one is trying to resole footwear and at $300 a pair this makes me a lil apprehensive in regards to going above and beyond if ya know what I mean. 

12:54 a.m. on July 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Just don't use Shoe Goo inside a closed tent. A good friend of mine put it on his boots while zipped inside his tent and then went to sleep. Never woke up, the fumes killed him. His tent was discovered 2 weeks later and they found him in his sleeping bag that was 14 years ago in Jackson Hole WY.

3:12 a.m. on July 19, 2013 (EDT)
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well I hope he at least got a good buzz before he died...:P

10:04 p.m. on July 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick, are you familiar with Lexel sealant?

We use it a lot a lot in the residential construction industry for demanding situations (hurricanes) here on the coast. Works on wood, copper, masonry, tile, stone, etc.

This is absolutely amazing stuff, sticks to just about anything wet or dry and creates a bond stronger than many of the materials it will glue together. On top of that it also wont freeze.

Lexel is a soft co-polymer rubber that is WAY better than silicone ever wished it was, and is better than shoe goo IMO.

You can buy it in a standard 10.5 oz. caulking tube or a 5 oz. squeeze tube.

I am fixing to try it as a seam sealant on a couple of tent seams along with McNetts and see how they hold up in comparison.

Of course the large tubes are not trail friendly, but I have been carrying smaller amounts squeezed into a small air tight container for possible repairs of fishing waders, boat, shelters, boots, air mats (not tried yet), etc.

Just a thought and I only mention it because I have been truly impressed with it. Might be nice for longer trips.


12:52 p.m. on July 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Depending on the exact failure, some combination of duct tape, zip ties, or dental floss would get the job done.

Duct tape can take way more abuse than one might think.

1:13 p.m. on July 20, 2013 (EDT)
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I was thinking along the same lines as Rambler and would try to fashion something out of duct tape and paracord. Both things I carry in my emergency kit.

3:16 p.m. on July 20, 2013 (EDT)
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I ran into a guy who had a pair of crappy Thom McAn boots which completely de-soled and delaminated and he resorted to using an intricate series of tie-ups and cordage.


The boots before getting strapped in.


It's hard to see here but his boots are carefully wrapped and he's ready to go.  I watched him lace up and it took him 20 minutes.

9:13 p.m. on July 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:


Further, before every trip I'd make a careful study of your boots and soles as most delam begins with a small opening before crisis. 

 Very good advise, I've had two pairs of boots to do exactly that.

A buddy of mine got his boots wet in a stream crossing and set them beside an intensifying fire while he did some chores, thirty minutes later the fronts of both boots had burned / melted off.

I gave him the foot beds out of my boots and we 'remade' the burned part of his boots with duct tape - probably ten or fifteen times around the boot. The hike out was 6 miles of Cumberland Plateau river canyon and while the boots were not comfortable it did work.


1:19 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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If I didn't have any Barge or Shoe Goo I'd try mixing crushed charcoal and pine resin for a binder/waterproofer, and then go with the strategic Gorilla Tape reinforcements...

4:58 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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i carry a small sewing kit with an awl and some strong nylon thread.  have used it on pack straps.  i don't think it would work on vibram soles or a hard rubber or leather midsole, but it would probably do the job for a pair of trail runners as a temporary fix.

i also sometimes carry a small container of instant glue (gorilla, krazy glue, loctite) to close cuts in a pinch and might use that as well, though i agree, shoe goo or some more flexible cement (seam grip?) would work better, if you can dry the midsole and sole and happen to carry that kind of cement.  i normally wouldn't have that kind of glue on a trip, though.

i can't recall having any pair of hiking shoes or boots experience sole delamination during a trip. 

4:30 a.m. on July 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I'd use rope.  I always have nylon rope or utility cord.  I suspect it would last a while if tied embedded and between the lugs.  I like the idea of carrying barge contact cement, but the days of carrying the kitchen sink are long gone for me.

11:42 p.m. on July 26, 2013 (EDT)
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If you carry duct tape, take a couple of lengths and twist into cord and tie off the boot. Then tape over it.

1:39 p.m. on August 13, 2013 (EDT)
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This exact thing happened to me with My Asolos two weeks ago!!!  (They are over 10 years old.)  I took a weekend trip to climb Longs Peak in CO (14,259 ft coming from 700 ft in elevation in Atlanta) and we were camping in the boulder field so we brought a full pack with us.  On the way back down from the peak to the campsite both of my boots delaminated at the Keyhole (if you know the trail).  I had a day pack on with a bungee cord  on the back to hold things like gloves etc...  I cut up the bungee cord into pieces and tied them to my boots to hold the soles on.  This got me through the boulder field, but then both cords broke and I used my chacos to get back down.  Wouldn't have been a big problem except for the heavy pack, rocky terrain and awesome altitude sickness.  It was kind of fun though having to figure out what to do, just part of the adventure!  It could have been worse though, the next weekend both of the soles on my Chacos delaminated walking to the pool in my neighborhood!  Makes me wonder if it was a Vibram problem, Asolo problem or Garrett problem.

Duct tape would have been a better option!

6:51 p.m. on August 19, 2013 (EDT)
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If I thought that my boots might delaminate, I would put screws through the outersoles into the midsoles before hiking. Actually, all my boots were made with both cement and screws holding the outersole to the mid; because that was just good sense. I have never had any delamination problems.

June 22, 2018
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