A great pair of boots can be some of the most important gear to have when you’re deep in the wilderness. Tactical boots insulate your feet from the cold and wet, protect you from injury, and provide traction on slippery surfaces. Well-insulated boots keep your feet warm and dry and will also prevent frostbite. They can even protect more than your feet, keeping your pants from getting snagged and preventing nasty insects or disease-carrying pests from reaching your skin.

Boots are integral to your safety and comfort as you traverse natural environments, so if your boots happen to get damaged, you need to know how to repair them. Here are some quick fixes to help you repair your boots in the field.

How to Repair a Boot Sole

The bottom of the boot is what provides sure footing and traction as you navigate the terrain. If you ever need to repair the sole of your boot, plan for some down time and follow these step-by-step instructions:
1. First, clean the bottom of your sole by wiping it down with a wet rag. Remove any dust, dirt, or other debris stuck between the sole and the shoe and dry your shoe entirely.
2. Rub the bottom of your shoe and the inner sole with a coarse material or substrate, something like sandpaper.
3. Find or make an adhesive. While shoe repair glue is handy, and something you should consider keeping in your kit, you might not always have it in your bag. In a pinch, you could use a natural adhesive such as pine tar or a heated mixture of flour, starch, or sugar with water for a temporary fix.
4. After coating the bottom of your shoe and sticking the sole to the shoe, use a hammer or blunt object to fix it into place.
5. Clamp the shoe and sole for about a day, and this will repair the sole.

How to Patch a Hole in Your Boot

While a specially designed adhesive is often used to patch holes in boots and shoes, you might not always have this special material with you in a survival situation. Some holes, however, can be patched with fabric and makeshift tools following these steps:
1. Find a piece of fabric large enough to cover a hole
2. Pin your fabric to the spot you plan to cover and iron the patch to the shoe—craft a makeshift iron with boiling water in a pan out in the field.
3. When it adheres, sew the patch onto the shoe with a needle and thread.

Tips for Repairs and Keeping Your Boots Clean

The best measure to take is the effort to prevent boots from reaching the point of failure in the first place. Keeping your boots clean and well-maintained can extend their life, increasing your mobility and skin breathability. You should only have to give your boots a deep, thorough cleaning once a year.
• Carrying a sewing kit, no matter how small, can be extremely helpful in many tactical and survival situations.
• Keep your boots dry by hanging them upside down after any contact with water and air drying your insoles every night.
• Heat can warp leather, so try not to dry your boots by a fire or another source of excessive heat if possible.
• Wax your boots once a year with a waterproof treatment.
• Bring backup. Carrying a spare pair of boots may be cumbersome, but if you think your current pair might get damaged, it would be worth the extra weight. Always carry some spare laces or metal eyelets in case the ones on your boots snap or break. (They also have more uses beyond boot repair.)

As with many things, preparation is key in keeping your boots in working order in any tactical or survival situation. However, when the need strikes, we hope our tips help to keep you prepared for any situation.
Todd Askins