I had my Thursday Captain boots resoled about six months ago, and when the final tally was all added up at the register, the boot resole cost over $200—more than the original price of the boot.
I could’ve just bought a new pair.
Ultimately, I made a video of the whole thing for the BootSpy YouTube channel, so it was still worth it for me. But I don’t want you to have the same experience.
So here, I’m going to break down everything that goes into a boot resole, plus a few things you can do to avoid totally recrafting your boot.
And I went through the effort of calling up 12 different cobblers across the USA to ask about their resole prices. I’m going to share that all with you right now.
When is it Time to Resole Your Boots?
Knowing when you need to resole your boots can save a lot of money.
So I’ll lay out some guidelines for what kind of boots you should resole, and usually how long it takes for a sole to wear out.
First, the only boots you should consider resoling are made with a Goodyear welted construction, Blake stitch, or stitchdown construction.
These are all recraftable construction methods and are possible to resole without costing a small fortune.
You can recraft a cemented sole boot, but the cobbler would need to add a new footbed, add a Goodyear welt (or turn the boot into a stitchdown piece) and that would likely cost over $300, and few cemented construction boots cost that much to begin with.
Is it the Sole or Just the Heel?
The first thing that wears down on my boots is the heel.
There’s usually a rubber heel cap (also known as the toplift) that ranges between 1/2” and 1” thick.
You should never let that rubber heel cap wear all the way down to the leather stack portion of the heel. If you do, then you’ll need to replace the entire leather heel stack, and that can be a costly operation.
If you’re only replacing the rubber toplift (heel cap), then the whole operation will cost around $40—not too bad.
If you need to replace the entire heel (leather stack and rubber toplift) then you’re looking at more like a $100 recraft because there’s a lot more labor that goes into ensuring your boots look even and well balanced.
You should only resole your boots if you’re seeing the rubber or leather under the ball of your foot wear through. It helps to think of the sole in two parts: the heel and the forefoot.
If the forefoot is wearing through, then it’s time to resole your boot. But if it’s just the heel that’s wearing down, then you can just replace that for a much lower cost.
If your boot costs $200 or less, it’s worthwhile to replace the rubber heel when it wears down, but it’s rarely worth it to do a full resole.
If your boot costs $400-500, then a full resole can be worthwhile as you’ll gain back all the durability of the original boot, but the leather will be broken in and your boots will be immediately comfortable.
This boot just needs a new heel:
This boot needs a completely new sole:
How Much Does a Boot Resole Cost?
I’ll share my personal experience with my previous two cobblers, but I also reached out to 10 other cobblers across the USA to see how much their services cost.
- Average cost of a new heel cap (rubber toplift): $50
- Average cost of a new sole (same footbed): $140
- Average cost of a full rebuild (new footbed, sole, welt, etc.): $250
As I said, knowing if you just need a new rubber heel or a completely new sole can save you $150, so these aren’t small beans we’re talking about here. They’re big beans.
It probably goes without saying, but if you live in a more expensive area like New York or San Francisco, then you can expect these prices to be a little higher.
However, the best cobblers in the country are actually a little less expensive and they offer mail-in services.
My local cobbler is Wyatt & Dad in Winston Salem, North Carolina. They’re one of the best in the country and they happen to be down the road, so I lucked out. But you can mail your boots to them and specify how you’d like your boots to be rebuilt.
They’re a bit more expensive, but they can basically customize your boots however you’d like them done (corded soles, logger heels—stuff for the true boot nerds).
You can see their work in the video below, where they show me how to resole my Thursday Captain boots (it cost around $270 for the full resole):
What is Included in a Full Boot Resole?
I’ll be honest, I was shocked to find that my boot resole cost more than the boots original price. But there’s a lot that goes into a complete recraft.
A full recraft includes:
- A new welt (if your boot is Goodyear welt constructed)
- A new sole (you can often choose—Vibram, Dainite, cord, cork nitrile, lug—whatever you want)
- A new leather heel stack
- A new rubber toplift (you’ll most often match with the sole)
- New cork filler
- Leather midsole (if your boot has a midsole)
Depending on the condition of your boots footbed, you may also need a new one. If the footbed is cracked, your cobbler will replace it. If not, they’ll probably leave it as the compressed leather will be more comfortable.
How Many Times Can You Resole a Boot?
Different cobbler services rewelt boots in different ways.
If you send your boots to Red Wing for a resole, they’ll run it through the Goodyear welted machine and punch new holes in the leather. This is fine—it makes the service less expensive and faster. But you can only get that recraft done once or twice before the leather that attaches to the welt is destroyed.
If you choose a cobbler that handwelts (Wyatt & Dad is a good example, but there are many others), you can have your boots resoled an unlimited number of times because your cobbler with re-use the original holes punched into the leather to hand stitch a new welt on.
As you can imagine, that’s a lengthy and arduous process, which is partially why the cost is relatively high.
How Much Does it Cost to Resole a Cowboy Boot?
All of the above applies to cowboy boots, but let’s get a little more specific to how cowboy boots are built.
With a high quality cowboy boot, you’re likely getting a new leather sole and it’s being rebuilt using Goodyear welted construction.
I’ve found that cowboy boot brands most often have pretty hefty toplifts (rubber heel caps), which take a little longer to wear out. When you combine that with the traditional leather sole, a lot of folks need to so a full resole all at once (instead of just replace the heel).
To resole a cowboy boot, you’ll probably need to spend between $175-$225.
So it only makes sense to do this if your boots originally cost $400 or above.
Do not go cheap with your cobbler if your boots are made with an exotic leather like ostrich or crocodile. These leathers have different properties and you want someone with experience working on those boots.
Resole or New Boots?
Resoling your boots isn’t always the best option.
If your boots cost $200 or less, it’s almost never worth it unless you really want a specific custom look and you’re willing to double the cost of your original boot to get it.
Personally, I’d only ever resole my $500+ boots because in that range, the leather is exceptional and I’ve already taken the time to break it in and develop the patina.
What kind of boots can be resoled?
Goodyear welted boots, Blake stitch boots, and stitchdown boots can all be resoled by most experienced cobblers. Other boots can sometimes be resoled, but the cost will often be higher than the original price of the boot because your cobbler will need to convert the boot to one of the above construction methods.
How often do boots need to be resoled?
Boots only need to be resoled if the forefoot starts to wear through, or if your foot wears through the insole. If it’s only the heel that wears out, you can have that rubber toplift replaced for $50 or less and you won’t need a new sole.
Can I resole boots myself?
You can try shoe-goo to glue your old soles back together, but beyond that, only an experienced cobbler can truly resole your boots to make them look decent. If you try and do it yourself, the rubber sole is going to look terrible and you’ll just waste money.