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How to repair your favorite shoes

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

How to fix a broken shoe

You don't need to discard your favorite pair of shoes just because they're in disrepair. Save some money by troubleshooting common footwear problems rather than purchasing a new pair.
Prevent a shoe graveyard
Broken heel

Problem #1: Stretched fit

Favorite shoes — just like favorite clothes — have a way of stretching out over time, which can lead to gaps in the fit. A stretched fit can turn into an annoying problem when gaps allow your foot to slip around in the shoe, leading to blisters and general frustration.

Pro fix: Add an insole to the bottom of the shoe. Even if gaps are the result of stretched fabric rather than wear on the existing sole, the new insole will lift your foot up so the shoe can fit more snugly.

Problem #2: Worn or detaching soles

A broken sole is the number one reason women discard their old shoes. But really, you don't need to toss a favorite pair just because the sole is in bad shape. If the soles of your shoes have worn down or are detaching from the shoe, you have a couple of options to remedy the problem.

Pro fix: If the sole is completely worn down so the shoe itself is exposed, you'll need to take the shoes to a cobbler to have them re-soled. Prices vary by cobbler, but shelling out even $50 is totally worth it for an expensive pair of shoes.

If the sole is simply detaching from the shoe, you're in luck. Go to your local store and purchase Shoe Goo to affix the sole back to the shoe (Walmart, $6). You'll be done with the fix in just five minutes.

Problem #3: Broken heels

Those sexy stilettos aren't so sexy when they snap in half as you're walking down a staircase. A broken heel — one that has either snapped off from the shoe or lost its tip — is a major bummer but a fairly simple fix.

Pro fix: You can take the shoe to the cobbler for a heel replacement at about $15 a pop, or you can try to DIY. If you do it yourself, you'll need Shoe Goo and shoe tacks that match the size of the shoe's original tacks. Use the Shoe Goo to glue the heel back into place, and then hammer in the shoe tacks at the same angle as the originals. All done.

If the heel tip has fallen off, you'll still need the Shoe Goo and tacks. This time, though, purchase a couple of rubber heel replacements, glue them in the place of the missing tip, and tack it down to complete the fix.

Problem #4: Tight fit

Even fashion-forward women usually relegate sexy but painful shoes to the back of the closet. If you're having buyer's remorse about purchasing a pair of shoes that are way too tight for your feet, don't give up on them just yet.

Pro fix: Once again, a cobbler can work wonders by stretching out your shoes so they fit properly. But if you have a little bit of time and patience, you can stretch out your shoes in the comfort of your own home. Simply squeeze the shoes on over a pair of thick socks, and use a blow dryer to warm the shoes' material. Walk around with those hot shoes on (no pun intended) to create a little more give.

Problem #5: Worn material

Fancy shoes look worse for wear when the material looks worn and faded. But aging is a sign of character, so don't ditch your old faithfuls for a young and sexy model just yet.

Pro fix: Don't forget the power of shoe polish. Using a damp sponge, apply a coat of shoe polish to your shoes in a circular motion, and allow to dry for 15 minutes. Once dried, use a clean sock to buff the material into a pristine shine.

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