Mesh fabric is very commonly used for shoes. However, as I’m sure you’re aware if you own a pair, it isn’t the most robust material at times.
As a result of using nylon and polyester, the mesh fabric is highly breathable, but this comes at the expense of durability. I’m sure you can relate to the following situation – you’ve gone for a walk or run in your sports shoes, stubbed your toe on something apparently innocuous, and find yourself staring at a hole in the meshing.
So, what can you do if you tear the mesh on your shoes? The best way to repair torn mesh on shoes is by utilizing patches by sewing or using quilting irons to apply the patch to the damaged area. For smaller tears, the iron method works well. For larger holes, you’ll need to sew the patch onto the area using specialized techniques.
Whether it’s a hole or some kind of tear, you’ll want to fix your shoe meshing up as soon as possible so you can get back out on the track. Read on to find some useful tips I’ve gathered for repairing and maintaining shoe mesh.
Importance of Shoe Mesh
So why exactly should we care about damaged shoe mesh, and why bother to repair it?
Well, first and foremost, because we want to retain the visual appeal of our sports shoes. Nobody wants to be caught out and about with holes or tears covering their shoes.
We should take pride in our appearance in all aspects, so as insignificant as it may seem, taking care of shoe mesh is crucial in upholding a good impression.
Secondly, and arguably more importantly, if damaged and left untreated, mesh is more susceptible to mould and bacteria. The downside of this? Aside from the fact that there is mold on the shoe, the bacteria will create quite the odor, not something you’re going to want to walk around with.
As far as the purpose of mesh on shoes goes, it is primarily designed to keep the shoe light and breathable. What this means is that your feet are going to feel far happier, and much less odor-prone than they would in meshless shoes.
The light nylon/polyester combination lends itself well to a well-balanced sport shoe that is both durable, and will allow your foot to feel nice and cool, as opposed to hot and sweaty.
So now that we’ve established why shoe mesh is important, let’s dive into all the ways you can help maintain or repair it.
How To Repair Torn Shoe Mesh
The simplest of issues to fix with your shoe mesh, holes shouldn’t be a huge cause of concern. Whether a stray twig has punctured your shoe slightly, or you’ve caught it on something sharp, the fix for holes in shoe mesh is easy enough.
All you’ll need is some shoe mesh repair patches on hand, and a crafting or quilting iron to apply them to the shoe.
- First, you’ll want to cut the mesh repair patch to match the size of the hole in your shoe mesh.
- Then, taking your iron, apply firm pressure to the patch over the damaged area until it stays stuck on.
And that’s it! A super simple fix for a very common issue faced by all of us who own shoes with mesh.
How To Repair Small Tears
When it comes to tears, you’re going to need a slightly different approach. Small tears are obviously easier to deal with than larger tears, so this shouldn’t be too taxing of a process.
Just as common as holes, small tears can occur as a result of daily use. Anything from tripping up, to catching the meshing on something sharp when out and about can cause these tears to appear.
What you need for any small tears in your shoe mesh:
- a cotton ball (that you’ve dipped in alcohol),
- a couple of mesh netting patches (these ones are my favorite),
- and a flat sturdy surface.
Before you get stuck in with the actual repair work, take your alcohol-soaked cotton ball and clean the damaged area of the meshing up. Then leave the alcohol for a while to dry.
Next, just like for holes, you’re going to cut the netting patches to a size that fits the damaged area with ¼ inch to spare in both width and length.
Remove the back of one patch and make sure you round off the patches to better fit the meshing.
Now comes the important part. Put your hand on a table or other sturdy flat surface, and hold one patch over the affected area of meshing. Rub it hard together to form a connection between the adhesive material and the mesh.
Finally, take the backing off the other sticky patch. Place this other patch on the other side of meshing, rub hard to create a nice bond, and make sure it sticks properly.
And you’re done, as simple as that.
How To Repair Big Tears
Now the easier fixes are out of the way, let’s get to the more complicated repair: big tears.
These are the kind of tears that started off small, and over time has expanded to become fairly significant. As a result, you’re going to have more work on your hands to fix up the mesh. But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through the process.
To repair large tears, you’re going to need:
- That handy alcohol-soaked cotton ball,
- a sewing needle with either polyester or nylon thread (depending on your shoe mesh),
- some mesh netting patches,
- a flat surface (like a small book)
- and some patience.
First, clean up the affected area with the alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Let the alcohol dry.
Now, thread your sewing needle with the appropriate thread (nylon for nylon mesh, polyester for polyester mesh). Then knot the end of the thread.
Sew the edges up as closely as possible while holding the edges of the affected area together.
Then, like for small tears, we’re going to cut two pieces of our mesh netting patches, to be about an inch larger than the tear.
Take your small book and place it up against one side of the affected area of meshing, then remove the back of one of the patches you cut up.
Stick the adhesive into the rip, and rub together to create a bond between the mesh and patch. Do the same for the other side.
A bit more complicated than smaller tears and holes, but not too challenging I’m sure you’d agree.
How To Clean Shoe Mesh
So now that you’ve taken care of those pesky tears in the mesh of your shoes, we’re going to take a look at some other common issues we encounter when it comes to shoes. But first, what is the best way to keep shoe mesh clean?
I’m glad you asked. Shoe mesh can seem intimidating to clean at times. Being quite delicate and susceptible to tearing, there is definitely a trick to cleaning mesh that will ensure you don’t damage them unintentionally.
Aside from the obvious need to keep your shoe mesh free of stains so they look great, bacteria or mold can set in and give them a bad odor if you don’t clean them from time to time.
So here’s how to go about cleaning shoe mesh:
- Take a soft brush or an old toothbrush and brush away stains that are dried onto the mesh. To avoid damaging the delicate mesh fabric, make sure you only brush in one direction. As unnatural as it feels to brush one way, you don’t want to risk tearing the mesh.
- Then, combine one part vinegar with one part baking soda in a bowl until it reaches a thick, paste-like consistency. Alternatively, pour some warm water in a bowl with some laundry detergent until nice and soapy.
- Using a paper towel, or brush if you like, apply your newly-created paste or liquid onto the mesh. Allow it to set for approximately 15 minutes.
- With a wet cloth or paper towel, rub the paste off the mesh for that satisfying feeling of nice and clean shoes.
- Just before you go off to do something else, you’ll want to blot the shoes dry, and maybe place some paper towels down inside the shoe to ensure it fully dries out before you stick your foot in it again.
If you’re looking for a slightly more exciting/less involved way of cleaning the mesh on your shoes, then this alternative option might just be for you.
- For this second option, take the laces out of your shoes and stuff them down a sock you have handy. Tie the loose end of the sock shut with something like a cable tie or an elastic band. You’ll understand why soon.
- Get your newly de-laced shoes, and shove them into a pillowcase. Twist the end to seal it off. Then, again, tie it off with a rubber band or whatever else can do the job.
- Now for the fun part. Stick your shoes and lace-filled socks into your washing machine. Make sure you place some cloths or rags around the shoes to ensure they don’t take damage from being thrown against the sides of the machine mid-wash.
- Finally, add some laundry detergent, and select the ‘delicate’ and ‘cold’ options. Then, watch in amazement as your shoes are cleaned ever so satisfyingly by the washing machine.
Leave the shoes out in the air to dry somewhere nice and cool for 24 hours or so. Then you’re good to go!
Repairing Shoe Insoles
Another common frustration when it comes to shoe maintenance issues is with both the soles and insoles. First, we’ll see how to repair insoles, then we’ll go on to the slightly more difficult sole repairs.
Shoe insoles seem to peel up off the bottom of the shoe for no reason sometimes. That’s why it’s good to know how to fix them should that happen, and make sure you don’t have to walk around uncomfortably without insoles.
In most cases, to fix the insole of your shoe, specialized glue will suffice. A brand like Shoe Goo is a great option and one that works for both exterior and interior shoe repairs. Plus it is waterproof, so it won’t come off easily.
Then, you have rubber cement. Rubber cement is capable of sticking most materials together. Again, rubber cement is waterproof and will stay on as long as you need it.
So there you have it, fixing shoe insoles is easy so long as you have the right product around to do the job.
Repairing Shoe Soles
Shoe soles (the outer part of the bottom of the shoe) can prove more difficult to repair, but far from impossible.
The soles of shoes can wear away over time until the point of separating from the shoes, creating an ugly gap that will make you feel self-conscious about being seen wearing them.
As for what’s required for repairing shoe soles, you’ll need:
- rubbing alcohol,
- a cloth, paper towels or newspaper,
- Shoe Goo (or another heavy-duty shoe-friendly glue),
- some gloves,
- and a cotton ear swab.
The first thing you’ll want to do is get some of your rubbing alcohol and pour a small amount onto a cloth. Rub the alcohol onto the area between the sole and the shoe that you are planning to glue.
If possible, peel the insoles out of the shoes and shove some newspaper down into them. That’ll help when it comes to the gluing part of the process, as it can help soak up excess glue.
Time to get messy. Get your gloves on—the disposable kind if you have them—and place your shoes on a surface you don’t mind getting a bit sticky. Of course, you can lay some newspaper onto the surface to prevent the glue from damaging it.
Take your cotton swab and use it to apply the glue to the smaller cracks and areas you can’t get to otherwise. Then spread glue over the rest of the surface between the sole and shoe.
Leave the glue for several minutes to set, then take something heavy and place it on the toe of the shoe to help the process along. Leave for a day or so.
Last, but not least, I want to show you briefly how you can customize your shoes and breathe new life into them.
However, if the insides of your shoes are flaking, we have another article to help you out!
Customizing Your Mesh Shoes
What can you do to spruce up your mesh shoes and upgrade their appeal?
Well, one of the simplest ways to do so is by applying a fresh lick of paint. While painting mesh shoes may seem intimidating, fear not. I’m going to go over what you’ll need, and how you can do it.
To freshen up your kicks, you’ll need:
- some shoe trees (or plastic bags if you don’t have them),
- some acrylic paint and brushes,
- preparer and de-glazer,
- 2-soft fabric medium additive,
- and a heat gun.
Ok, so to start you’re going to take out the laces from the shoes, and put either your shoe trees or plastic bags down into them.
Next, if you’re planning on starting from scratch, you’ll have to remove the current finish on the shoes, using a combination of preparer and de-glazer for all of the leather parts.
Take your paint, and mix it equally with the 2-soft (50/50 ratio), so that you can protect the mesh fabric.
With the paint you just created, spread a thin layer of paint over the mesh fabric of the shoe.
Once dry, you can set the paint with a heat gun if you have access to one.
It’s as easy as that! Now you’ve got a nice, fresh new pair of mesh shoes in the color scheme of your choice.