Before you laugh thinking I’m at large with these franken-clogs on, I’m not. They’re German-made NAOTs from my father, who bought them for some podiatry purpose, then tried to fob them off on me for two years. I finally accepted when I needed studio shoes after the spectacular failure of a pair of Wolverine work boots (another story), and clogs kick off so I don’t track metal shavings and grease into the house. Perfect.
Problem is, the exposed thread used to sew the leather upper to the rubber sole is unable to withstand molten aluminum. You can see the burnt off ends protruding vestigially. Every crouch or stub would further distend the thread. One day I found my toes ventilated, and with the tread barely worn on these clogs it would be decadent to bag them. I tried to repair some Red Wing bootsoles with a staple gun once; I’m sure you know that was silly. The glue on the soles had failed, and that was the last USA-made pair I bought—all bets are off since they’ve offshored.
So I tried screwing the four salvaged sheet-metal screws in, but they pulled loose after some workshop calisthenics. The point of this post is that I was oddly proud to have found a solution to this recalcitrant shoe-repair problem: a soldering iron, sometimes misdescribed as soddering.
If your soles strip because of extreme use or defective manufacture (no one avoids both), drive screws into them. Don’t use a drill or you’ll just augur a hole into the rubber. While setting the screws, heat a soldering iron up. I used an 80 watt/900 degree one with a chisel tip, but you can probably use any model in that $10-25 range. Lean on the screw with the hot tip for about 5-15 seconds depending on your unit; I did about 8 seconds with mine.
Not a day goes by without hunkering down and kicking things, and all four screws are still locked in. Necessity is sometimes the mother of invention, but in any event it’s a mother.