Last Updated on 15/05/2023
In this guide to boot rand repair, we share the common issues you may encounter when fixing the rubber strip around your hiking boots. You will learn which tools you need and which methods work best for repairing a broken rand on your hiking boots.
Hiking Boot Rand Repair
Hiking boots with a rubber rand are practically indestructible for the first year or two, but as they get worn down, and after hundreds of times soaked and dried out next to campfires, the glue that helps hold the rand in position can fail. This leads to the rand opening up, peeling back, and being in need of repair. Repairing your boot rand is a cost-effective way to extend the life of your hiking boots and keep your feet safe during outdoor activities.
What is a Boot Rand?
A boot rand is a narrow strip of rubber that runs around the outside of many hiking boots where the sole meets the upper material. You can have a full boot rand that goes all the way around a hiking boot or a toe rand that is just on the toe section.
The primary purpose of the rand is to protect the boot from abrasions and cuts that can occur while hiking on rough terrain. They also add excellent waterproofing for walking through shallow puddles, wet grass, etc.
How To Repair a Hiking Boot Rand
Here is the step-by-step method I use and recommend to anyone trying to repair a boot rand on a hiking boot:
Step 1: Clean the Boot Rand
The first step in repairing a boot rand is to clean it thoroughly and let it dry before moving on to the next step. Use a soft-bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the rand as well as any dirt that may have gotten behind the boot rand.
Next, wipe the rand with a clean cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. This will remove any remaining dirt, oils, or other contaminants that could interfere with the repair process. I always like to give the area a few big blows once done to make sure I got every last bit.
Step 2: Roughen the Surface
After cleaning the rand and letting it dry naturally, use sandpaper or a wire brush to roughen the surface behind the rand slightly. This will help the adhesive get a stronger bond to the boot material.
Then you need to do the same for the rubber rand that has come loose. Be sure to roughen the entire surface of the rand – you may even have to peel the rand back a bit more to gain access; this is ok.
Step 3: Apply Boot Adhesive
Once the rand is clean and roughened, apply a thin layer of hiking boot glue to the surface of the rand and to the material it is being glued back onto. I prefer to use too much glue as opposed to not enough and then wipe away any excess that squeezes out (this can be messy). Allow the glue to dry for a few minutes until it becomes tacky on each side before pressing them together.
Step 4: Bond the Rand Back to Your Boot
After the adhesive has become tacky (not too runny), you need to firmly press the rand into position and apply constant pressure until it cures. I like to use my thumb to make sure there is close contact all the way around, but you may find it easier using a roller. If you are fixing the entire rand on a hiking boot, then I would probably do it in sections to make sure there are no gaps.
Step 5: Clean Away Excess Glue
While the glue has not fully cured, you can use a cloth and some acetone to remove any excess glue so that you get a nice tidy finish. Alternatively, you may find that you need to add a little more glue. Otherwise, you get an untidy finish or have to try and remove it once it has set, which is much harder.
Step 6: Leave it to Set
Once your rand is set in position don’t touch it again for at least 24 hours, not even to “test it”. You can use a clamp or use something heavy to make sure you get good pressure from the rand onto your boot. It is not uncommon to have to repeat the entire process from steps one to six to get a solid bond on large repairs.
Tools and Materials Needed for Boot Rand Repair
Here are the tools and materials you will need to repair your hiking boot rand:
I wrote an extensive guide about the types of glue that work on hiking boots here. You should check them out to see which will work best for your type of boot. Three of the best would be:
Acetone and Cloth
Acetone is used to remove any glue before doing your repair, as well as for cleaning away any excess glue at the end. It is a solvent that strips glue without damaging your boot or the rubber rand. You will need a cloth or rag to apply it with and really scrub the glue off with.
Sandpaper is used to roughen the surface of the boot rand and the area where the rand will be attached. This helps to create a better bond for the glue and a stronger grip between the rand and the boot, ensuring that the repair is strong and long-lasting. When selecting sandpaper, choose a medium-grit option that is suitable for use on rubber.
If you can’t salvage the existing rand around your hiking boots, then you’re going to need something to replace it with; you can get thin strips of rubber or even use something like a bike inner tube to replace it.
Having some kind of clamp or weight set up and ready to go is the best way to ensure you get a tight bond once the glue is set. It can be used to ensure the materials stay in close contact for the entire process and allows you to seal the ran in difficult positions.
A utility knife is used to cut the rand material to the desired length and shape. It is also used to trim any excess material from the repair area once the rand has been attached.
Common Boot Rand Problems
Here are some of the common ways a boot rand will break, get damaged, or show signs of wear:
Cracks and Tears
One of the most common problems with boot rands is cracking or tearing. This can happen due to regular wear and tear, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or improper storage. The biggest mistake I see time and time again is a cracked rubber boot rand caused by drying out wet boots on a radiator or too close to a fire. When you try and speed up the drying process using high temperatures, it causes the rand to become brittle and degrade rapidly.
Cracks and tears can cause the rand to become loose and allow water to seep into the boot, which can be uncomfortable and even dangerous in extreme conditions.
To fix this problem, the rand needs to be repaired. Depending on the severity of the damage, the repair may involve removing the sole, repairing the rand, and then resoling the shoe. In most cases, it is possible to repair the rand without removing the sole, but this will depend on the extent of the damage.
Worn Out Rands
Another common problem with boot rands is wear and tear. Over time, the rand can become worn out, which can cause it to become loose and allow water to seep into the boot. This can be especially problematic if you are hiking or camping in wet conditions. Wet grass is a b*tch when your boot rand is letting water in.
To fix this problem, the rand may need to be replaced. This will involve removing the old rand and replacing it with a new one. At this point, it may actually be worth just retiring the boot and getting a new pair.
A loose rand can be caused by a variety of factors, including wear and tear, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or improper drying and storage. A loose rand can cause the boot to become uncomfortable and can also allow water to seep into the boot, which can be dangerous in extreme conditions.
Why is a Rand Important for Hiking Boots?
The rand is an essential component of heavy-duty hiking boots because it provides protection to the upper material and your feet. When hiking on rocky terrain, sharp rocks or debris can damage and even tear the material on your hiking boots. The rand can also protect your toes and the lower part of the foot from getting injured by rocks or other objects.
Is it Worth Repairing A Boot Rand?
If you paid a lot of money for your hiking boots and the soles still have a few miles left in them, then repairing the rand is a cheap fix that will drastically extend the lifespan of your boots. When your boot rand starts to come apart, it will often give moisture a direct route into your boot, even if they are lined with Gore-Tex.
A tube of glue maybe cost $10 or so and can be used to make many repairs, and so you should always try and fix your boot rand before thinking about getting a new pair.
We hope you found this boot rand repair guide helpful in solving your damaged boot rubber.