Have an old pair of moccasins or boat shoes that you’re considering replacing? Before you do, check out this guide to see if they can be repaired!
After a while, all footwear starts to get worn out. While welted shoes and boots can be resoled and have their heels replaced, moccasins and boat shoes cannot.
While mocs and boat shoes generally aren’t as expensive as quality-made dress shoes or boots, you still want to try and make them last a long time.
Why Wear Mocs or Boat Shoes?
I’ve had my Minnetonka Classic Mocs for more than a year. During that time, I’ve worn them a lot. Although I’ve mostly worn them inside as house shoes, I’ve also worn them camping and when on my way to go swimming or to the sauna.
I live in an old place and the floors are cold for most of the year. Consequently, a pair of house shoes helps keep my feet warm.
Camp mocs have a hard sole while traditional mocs have a soft sole. I like the hard sole because they can be worn more safely and comfortably outside. I wear my moccasins for quick errands or outdoor chores, like taking out the trash. They’re kind of like a better-looking alternative to Crocs.
As I mentioned, I’ve had my Minnetonka classic mocs for a little over a year. Since the first week of wear, I’ve noticed a gradual unsticking of part of the insole on the right moc. Finally, a month ago the insole finally completely separated.
Then, a week or two back, I was retying the laces on my Classic Mocs and the rawhide laces snapped.
I called Minnetonka, and they were nice enough to send me free replacement shoelaces.
In this article, I’ll show you how to reglue the insoles and replace the laces of your moccasins. The same basic process would also work for refurbishing boat shoes.
How to Reattach Insoles
Don’t throw out an otherwise good pair of shoes because the insoles came unglued. Save your shoes by reattaching the soles.
Step #1: Apply rubber cement or shoe glue to the entire surface of the bottom of the insole. Spread the glue with the provided spreading tool.
Step #2 Apply rubber cement to the footbed. Once again, spread the glue with the provided spreading tool.
Step #3: Line up the insole
Step #4: Apply heat with a blow dryer for about 30 seconds.
Step #5: Press firmly and hold for about two minutes.
Step #6: Allow rubber cement to set overnight.
How to Replace Laces on Moccasins or Boat Shoes
The package I received from Minnetonka contained replacement rawhide laces, a wire metal tool, and instructions. Much of the instructions below are almost directly quoted from directions provided by Minnetonka.
Step #1: Remove the old laces. If you have trouble pushing out what’s left of old laces, you can use the provided thin metal tool to help. If you don’t have a metal tool, you might be able to improvise one with a thin metal hanger.
Step #2: Bend the lacing tool so it’s straight.
Step #3 Thread the lace through the loop at one end of the lacing tool as if threading a needle.
Step #3: Push the thinner end of the tool into the opening in the side of the moc.
Step #4: Make a small loop with the side of the lace that is going through the hole in the lacing tool.
Step #6 Keep feeding the lace through the holes, going all the way around the moccasin.
Note: Some sections may take a few tries in order to prevent twisting. Also, you may have to make adjustments to get each side the same length.
Step #7 Tie the laces.
Step #8 Repeat steps 1-7 with the other moc.
After regluing the insoles, if needed, and replacing the insoles, there a few other things you can do to freshen up your moccasins or boat shoes.
How to Reshape Your Moccasins
After a while, your moccasins will likely get a little bit misshapen from wear. You can temporarily restore their shape by gently pulling each moc from heel to toe.
This simple trick will help them regain shape in the collar.
How to Remove Loose Threads
Carefully cut loose threads with a pocket knife, a pair of sissors, or nailclippers.
Cut as close as you can to the bottom of the thread for best results.
Cleaning Your Moccasins
My moccasins had a few tiny spots or stains. I tried cleaning them with a mild dish soap solution and a damp cloth.
It didn’t work.
I should have used a suede eraser or a cleaning product made specifically for cleaning rawhide leather.
I tried to take a shortcut and my mocs didn’t look any better afterward. In fact, they might even look slightly worse than before.
While it would be easy to skip over this mistake, I think it can sometimes be important to share what doesn’t work.
The Final Result
After regluing insoles, replacing laces, reshaping collars, cutting loose threads, and a botched attempt at spot cleaning, here’s the final result:
Overall, I’m happy with how they turned out. I’m confident that if I keep up on maintenance these moccasins will last me quite a while longer.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!