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Shoe Goo

rated 2.0 of 5 stars
photo: Shoe Goo  footwear cleaner/treatment

This was an experiment to extend the life of an otherwise great pair of shoes. It didn't work.

Pros

  • Applied as a coating to the soles of hiking shoes it grips well and restored them to usability—for a while.

Cons

  • Only lasted a relatively short time and not worth the effort and cost.

See my review of Merrell Moab Speed GTX shoes. Great shoes, but the life of the sole is pathetic. In an attempt to get more out of them I tried applying Shoe Goo to what was left of the lugs. The result worked, but only for a short time.

Applying Shoe Goo

Shoe Goo is a very thick glue-like material. Mine came in a 100 g tube (I used about half on one pair of shoes.) I thought it worth a try as I was told skateboarders use it to extend the life of their shoes.

As with most coatings, surface preparation is the key. With this, I first cleaned the soles with soap and water, dried them thoroughly and then cleaned the soles again with acetone. The Shoe Goo packaging says that the ideal application temperature range is 10 to 30°C (50 to 90°F). I found that at 15°C Shoe Goo is so thick it is hard to get out of the tube and would not stick to the rubber soles. Heating the tube to 30°C in warm water helped but it was still an effort to get it out of the tube and to 'wet' the surface of the sole and stick.

I gave it two coats on the lugs and three on the heel, which was particularly worn down. It took me around half an hour and a lot of effort squeezing to get the heels all the lugs on my shoes coated so it is not a quick fix.

The packaging says to allow to cure for 24 hours but maximum strength may not be reached for 48 to 72 hours. I waited 48 hours before wearing the shoes. 

Merrell-Moab-Speed-GTX-shoes-atfer-1300-km.jpg
Before Shoe Goo

Shoe-Gooed.jpg

Shoe Gooed the first time

Applying more Shoe Goo

After I had walked about 45 km in them I noticed that some of the Shoe Goo was starting to peel off. I thougth this might have been due to the problems I had at first due to temperature so I cut off the loose bits and applied another coat of Shoe Goo. 

45-km---condition.jpg
Shoe Goo coming loose after 45 km

45-km--loose-bits-removed.jpg

Shoe Goo loose bits removed after 45 km

In use

The good news is that in use Shoe Goo works well as a sole for hiking and provides a good grip on all sorts of surfaces. I had no problems with grip on wet surfaces although my experience with this was limited.

One weird aspect is that it is quite hard when cured so you get a sort of clicking sound as you walk on smooth paved surfaces.

Durability

I have now worn the shoes about 100 km since the Shoe Goo treatment and big chunks have already come loose. A lot of damage seemed to happen when I did a short walk (10 km) on a sandstone rock shelf, possibly because the Shoe Goo gripped the sandstone better than the rubber sole.

Given the amount of wear now, I doubt I will get another 100 km from them. I normally expect to get over 2000 km from a pair of hiking shoes so an extra 100 to 200 km is a minuscule improvement.

100-km-condition-1.jpg
100 km and coming loose in a big way
100-km-condition-2.jpg
Toes on one shoe have lost all Shoe Goo after 100 km

Conclusion

Shoe Goo might be a quick fix for a small amount of wear but not is not viable if you want to extend the life of your favourite shoes by a reasonable amount.

I'm giving it 2 stars because it does work well as a sole material but no more because it doesn't last.

Background

Tried on one pair of Merrell Moab Speed GTX shoes and walked about 100 km on them

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: AUD 19 for a 100 g tube

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Specs

Price Current Retail: $5.95
Historic Range: $4.75-$8.75
Product Details from Shoe Goo »

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