How to Deal with a Broken Heel

Quick Fixes and Repairs for a Broken Shoe Heel


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Next to faulty fashion tape, nothing puts a damper on your day much like a broken heel. Even if you're not standing on them all day, shoes take a lot of wear and tear, and heels can work loose or even break into two, rendering sheer embarrassment and enabled panic mode as a result. Bottom line: A broken heel is a true shoe emergency.

We hate to break it to you, but despite what you've seen intrepid heroines do in the movies, broken heels—especially high heels—can't be repaired with a wad of gum (womp, womp). Nor can you easily snap off your other heel and turn your Manolo Blahnik stilettos into an attractive pair of ballet flats. Still, there are ways to fix a heel that's let you down, and we've rounded them up below.

Keep scrolling to learn how to fix a broken heel.

Use Glue as an On-the-Go Fix

Fact: carrying a tube of strong glue in your purse can be a lifesaver for footwear calamities on the run. When you feel your heel coming loose or about to give way, shift up onto your toes, taking the weight off the heel so you don't trip or fall. If the heel detaches completely, retrieve any pieces you can find. Next, carefully make your way to someplace where you can sit down and examine the damage.

If the heel was nailed to the sole, coat the protruding nails with glue, slide the nails back into the original holes, and hold the heel in place until the glue dries. If you're dealing with a pair of heels with an already glued-on heel, scrape off the dried glue, coat it with fresh glue, and hold it in place until a bond is formed.

Finally, if a high heel snaps into two, coat one piece with glue at the site of the break and try to reattach the other section. Stay off your feet as much as possible until you can change to another pair of shoes.

Fix a Broken Heel with a Shoe Adhesive

For an at-home glue job, you can try a shoe adhesive such as Shoe Goo ($8). Just make sure the area to be repaired is clean, dry, and free of oils, old glue, and polishes. Gently sand the sole and heel to roughen up the surfaces. Then, apply a layer of Shoe Goo to both the heel and the sole and allow the solvents to evaporate for five to 10 minutes before pressing together. Apply pressure by using rubber bands, string or a heavy object for at least 24 hours. Remember: the longer the glue cures, the stronger the bond.

Consider Visiting a Cobbler

shoe cobbler

Andrew Urwin / Stocksy

Broken heels are shoe emergencies that may be best left to professionals (let's face it, do-it-yourself measures aren't a permanent fix). To extend the life of your heels, visit a cobbler—it may be worth it especially for high-ticket pairs. Good news? If the heel is in one piece, a cobbler can usually reattach it. A heel broken into several pieces can be replaced with a new heel unit, but in most cases, you'll have to have both shoes done so the heel heights and colors will match.

If a heel falls off a new shoe, the footwear may be defective. Make tracks back to the store where the shoes were purchased and ask for a replacement.

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