High Heel Repair

by Shoe Digest on June 22, 2011

A loyal high heel lover knows well how fast your favorite shoes can wear down. Instead of leaving those worn down heels in the closet or walking around on the metal points until you can afford to repair them, why not just do it yourself? Trust us ladies, you can do this and you can’t mess it up!

First things first, you need to find new tips to put on your heels. This is the little plastic part on the bottom of the stiletto. This little piece of plastic helps to cushion the metal spike that is the heel and allows for more traction. They are easy to replace, here’s how you do it:
Shoe Repair

  1. Find the Right Size Tip – This can be a bit tricky but luckily the NewHeelTips website walks you through it step my step. They not only sells heel tips but they tell you how to measure and repair your shoes using a Typesheet that you can download and print to measure your heel tips so you know you’re buying the right ones.
  2. Buy New Tips – There are a couple of ways to go about this. If you have more than one pair of heels to repair (who doesn’t) then buying your heel tips in sets will save you some money. You can find sets on Ebay or at the aforementioned NewHeelTips.com. If you only need one pair of heel tips then you can either go to your local shoe repair store and buy them or you can again order them online. Be sure to not let the store convince you to let them fix it though, you can do this on your own for much cheaper!
  3. Repair the Tip – You’re going to need a pair of pliers to help you remove the old heel tips. Chances are they are pretty deformed and doing some interesting things down there so beware it might not be easy, but they will come out. Once you have the old tips out, take the new tips and slide the pin into the hole you just cleared. Use a hammer to push the tips into place and be sure that they are all the way in. A couple of whacks and you are all done!

Congratulations! You just fixed your own high heels! Now, go tell a friend and let’s stop this over priced shoe repair madness!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

lisa gibbs October 18, 2011 at 1:18 am

The heel on my high heels lost the rubber part and don fabric please help me out

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Shoe Digest October 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Lisa,

You can always go into your local shoe repair shop and ask them what size tip they think would be best, or you can use the tip size chart linked in the post above and try to match it up based on the size of the stiletto.

As far as the fabric goes, the shoe repair shop might be able to fix that if they’re not destroyed beyond repair. It’s worth an inquiry :)

Good Luck!

-Shoe Digest

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Sandra October 20, 2011 at 2:19 am

Why would you recommend people to fix there own heels?
What if the pin breaks? What if they try the put the wrong heel tip on and destroy the heel base? Now you need to get it drill out.
If you think a shoe repair shop will sell you the heel tips for cheaper then for him the put them own you are wrong?
This job (replacing heel tips) takes only a couple of minutes for a professional shoe repair shop. They will be trim to fit your shoe. why would you do it your self?
Sandra

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Jeff November 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

You would do it yourself if you do not have or want to spend the money in a shop, and have the skills to DIY (or have someone to do it for you). The tips themselves are inexpensive (especially in quantity) when purchased from a cobbler’s supply that retails to the public (such as the online merchant mentioned in the article). If you have many heels and wear them often, you can keep them years longer and save money by doing it yourself. On the other hand, if those metal tips I am asking about in my other comment are available in the US…

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Arlyne December 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I do not happen to live anywhere near a shoe repair shop, but do happen to have a heel obsession. That would be why I, at least, would repair my own rather than getting it done. No, the cost difference might not be that big a deal if I lived near someone who repaired shoes, but as it would be, at minimum,and hour drive there and back, plus repair cost, it is not worth it to me to lose two hours, gas money, and repair costs. Even if I ruin a pair or two of shoes, the eventual savings far outweigh replacement of a few pairs.

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Manda January 10, 2013 at 8:11 am

I doesn’t take a genius to tap a heel dowel in. Most shoes when you buy them come with replacement Heel dowels. I mean really? Professional shoe repair scholars did not graduate from a prestigious shoes repair school. They probably had to fix their own shoes at one point and realize how easy it was and thought to themselves “hmm, I bet there is some idiot out there willing to pay me an outragious amount of money to fix their shoes.”. And then somebody did. There is a sucker born every millisecond these days. Not So much back then.(I think it was every day a sucker was born.)

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Shoe Digest October 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Sandra, these are great questions!

You’ve really got our brains turning now, we’ll be putting up a full post on this type of information so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

-Shoe Digest

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Grace April 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I dealt with worn out heel tips nearly every month when I was working as a travelling consultant. I rarely had time to bring my shoes to the cobbler, so I was stuck buying new shoes all the time. I once tried replacing them myself but just couldn’t pull out the old nail. I searched everywhere for a quick fix for worn heel tips, but couldn’t find one. So, I made one. My product is called Quick Tips, and it’s a quick fix solution to worn out heel tips. You don’t need any tools (no pliers, drills, hammer) because my product fits right over the worn heel tip, like a crown over a tooth. It’s perfect for emergency repairs, temporary repair, and as a long term heel tip replacement. The cap is made of a strong polyurethane rubber that’s meant to take a beating. Quick Tips will get rid of that click clacking sound of the metal, protect your shoe heel, and protects floors from being damaged by the metal nail. This is also great for someone like Arlyne, who does not live near a shoe repair shop.

I created Quick Tips to make wearing high heels a little more convenient. I hope you enjoy it! http://www.gogoheel.com/quicktips

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EllenBrown October 26, 2011 at 10:19 pm

My heel size is larger than any on the newheeltips website. Are there other online vendors?

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Shoe Digest November 19, 2011 at 1:04 am

There are! A great place to look is ebay or etsy. If you know your millimeter size than this should be fairly easy.

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Jeff November 20, 2011 at 5:25 am

If your heels are much larger, the tips on them may not use the single-metal-pin-in-the-center attachment method described in this article. Other methods I’ve seen are with tiny nails, wood screws (either of these can be seen from the bottom of the old heel tip—a magnifying glass may be required to see the nails), and three plastic pins in a triangle, molded into the tips (seen on a spare set that came with the boots). If you are not sure what you have, and do not want to remove an old tip to find out, it is probably best to take the shoes to a cobbler. Perhaps you can find one who will show you what you have and what the replacements look like, so that you will know for the next time.

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Jeff November 20, 2011 at 6:47 am

I should perhaps add that nails (or, less often, screws) are usually used when the heel tips are made of hard leather—but not always. I’ve seen one pair of stilettos where the plastic tips were held by a single tiny nail.

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Jeff November 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Even abrasion-resistant plastic tips wear down quickly. In the UK and much of Europe, manufacturers often install hardened steel tips on new shoes, and steel tips (to replace plastic ones) are available at most cobblers. There are even two online merchants where steel tips may be ordered–one in the UK, and one in Germany. Are there none available in the US? I contacted NewHeelTips.com, and they cannot get them, or choose not to carry them. I have searched online, and cannot find a source in the US!

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Shoe Digest November 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

You are all too right Jeff. Metal high heel tips are in deed difficult to find in the United States. Right now, Stiletto-Heel-Tips.co.uk is an available and inexpensive option for purchasing your own metal high heel tips. Currently, to ship just one pair of metal high heel tips, it would cost approximately $5 with International shipping. Until a online shoe company like Zappos.com starts to carry these essentials, it looks like overseas shopping it is.

That said, if anyone finds information on where to purchase metal heel tips, please write in!

Thanks for commenting Jeff

- Shoe Digest Team

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Christina November 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm

If you use the chart at http://www.newheeltips.com make sure you print it out before trying to find a match. Even if you display your screen at 100% it’s safer to use the print-out. Or even better, use a metric ruler since the heeltips are measured in millimeters. If you buy heeltips on ebay you get stuck with a giant bag of heeltips (and I can’t stand that kind of clutter.) You actually can just buy one pair of heeltips at the newheeltips website. You can buy however many pairs you like, and they even have cute heel protectors that look like flowers, and these metal tubes to help the tips fit more snug in case the posts are too skinny (they were too skinny for me once.) Oh, and get someone strong to pull out the old tips if they aren’t loose. I suck at using pliers, but it was really easy for my husband.

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Shoe Digest November 19, 2011 at 12:55 am

This is great advice Christina! Those heel protectors are a great idea, especially if you’re going to be walking around on soft ground and are worries about stability and/or mucking of the stiletto.

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Jeff November 20, 2011 at 6:24 am

Even printing is not completely accurate, though it is better than the display screen. Also, plastic heel tips spread out at the bottom from the pressure and lose their shape from wear, so it may not be possible to get the right size by holding them up to a chart. A ruler is better, but only if you hold it up to the flat side of the heel, just above the plastic tip. The best way is to use calipers to measure both dimensions shown on the New Heel Tips site. If you sew and have a hem gauge, that will do. Otherwise, use something that you can adjust down until it makes a snug fit around the bottom of the heel, and will stay put long enough for you to measure what you have with a ruler. In any case, be sure to measure the heel itself, just above the plastic tip.

Unfortunately, there are several standard sizes that the pins (posts) come in, the two most common being 2.9mm and 3.1mm. Some vendors stock tips in both sizes, others offer the metal tubes. Being that the tubes are not ribbed like the heel tip pins are (and that is what really holds the tips in place), it is sometimes suggested to apply a drop of superglue to the outsides of the tubes before tapping them into place.

I have sometimes removed stubborn heel tips by wrapping the heel in two or three layers of a dish towel (to protect the fabric covering) and then passing the end of the heel through the gap between the jaws of a bench vice, or through the gap between a door and its frame, where the door hangs on it’s hinges. (CAREFUL with this one, you can still damage the fabric, or break the heel.) Cobblers have a special machine that holds the shoe by the heel in a fitted collar while it pulls the tip out.

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Jeff November 20, 2011 at 7:21 am

Ahem… I mean the sort of hem gauge that is a small ruler with a slider on it, that holds a bit of chalk at the end. Seems there are all sorts of hem gauges, these days…

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Denise February 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

As Jeff mentioned, I have 2 pair of dress shoes with a u-shaped heel tip that measures ( 26 w x 25 l ) and has 3 plastic dowels. The shoes are very new and one of the tips fell off one shoe and BOTH fell off the second pair. I have lost them all but one. I am having a hard time finding a place to purchase replacements. I called the cobbler and it would cost $35+ to replace both. I am very handy and can do it myself. Any suggestions?

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Shoe Digest February 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

That sounds like a unique kind of heel tip Denise, we have never come across those before. We can certainly look into it, but can any else help Denise in the meantime?

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Annie March 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I have the same issue! I am looking for a 22×22 mm u-shaped heel tip with three pins. I have a picture!
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I have two pairs that need these!

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Robin November 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I have the same problem with two pairs of my shoes. They have wide heels on them. I can wear them without there tip/cap but the one heel is louder then the other and rocks get stuck inside the heel sometimes. I read somewhere you can fill it with rubber silicon but this would made the heel heavy and I don’t want to fill the whole thing just the end. Any ideas of how to go about this ?

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areena February 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

my heels are perfectly fine but the main problem is they both have these pretty bows on them but sadly one of those bows came out and now they look like twp different heels and i lost the bow so idk what to do i dont want to waste my heels :/

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Shoe Digest February 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Depending on where the bows were Areena, you might try making or buying some shoe clips. Check out our article on DIY Shoe Clips if you want to try it for yourself!

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Amanda February 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I have waited entirely too long to replace my heel tips. All of the plastic is worn off, leaving nothing but a tiny tiny bit of the metal. There isn’t enough metal to get a hold of with pliers. Can anyone give me some advice on what I can do? I think I read somewhere before that you can actually slice the heel to get into the metal better, but I don’t want to destroy my shoes. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

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Jim March 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Amanda – There are tools that work well for this situation. At your hardware or craft store get a small fence pliers also called dykes or nippers. Unless you have really worn them flat this should work. Some time I have carved out around the nail to get room to grab it.
Metal tips will never have the problem Amanda is experiencing. My wife is hard on stiletto tips and QUALITY metal tips (not ebay ones) will last 5-10 times longer and never break, plus they stay flat longer for better balance. Stiletto-Heel-Tips.com has quality metal tips and they take your Paypal. As far as noisy, my wife says the first week she was selfconscience like when she first changes her hair color but after that fine. I lthink they sound so feminine. My wife says try the metal tips for a week and you’ll never use plastic again.

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Jim March 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Amanda, Another thing – The photo of the person using a drill to remove the pin could get you in trouble. Some pins (nails) are solid and the drill bit will run to the side and ruin your heel. Only if the nail is hollow in the middle will this work, and then don’t drill it out too big. One time my wife but a pair of great pumps used with the tip nail wrecked by someone trying to replace it and as last resort I was able to drive the nail futher in and put a new tip on. I had to shorten the new tip pin some but I used Gorilla glue to help hold it and that has been years ago and still fine. Gorilla glue will never come apart so she used metal tips on these pumps. Let us know how you come out?

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Jim March 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Denise,
If they are very new your best to take them back to the store.
My wife had the same thing with expensive designer high heel mules when she caught a crack in the pavement. This is a poor design and replacements can not be found. Your cobbler is about your only choise, but he will do better than the crappy originals.
If you are handy you can fill the hollow plastic heel to the tops with a hard waterproof filler (I used auto Duraglass) and trim a new heel pad to fit. Use glue and put nails into the heel to hold it. If you want now would be the time to add a cleat (tap)(from ebay) to make the heels wear longer. Sorry there is no easy fix but to return the shoes and complain. Jim

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Pam March 4, 2012 at 12:42 am

I bought an assortment of heel tips as I have several pairs of shoes that need repairing. All shoes are older, but in good condition. One pair has a hole for the pin that is too big. Now what do I do? The shoe was probably purchased in the early 1990′s. Thanks for your help.

Pam

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Jim March 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Pam,
One of the online heel tip companies has adaptor tubes. I’m not where I have their site handy. If I reall they only have one size and the measurements are given in metric. (Also heel tips come in two sizes of pins so verify this first). When we were trying to figure out pin sizes I used some small metric drill bits as a size gauge. If the adaptor inside hole size matches your new heel tip size then your chances are probably they will work. Add some glur if in doubt. Hope you can get your shoes fixed, Jim

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Pam March 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thanks very much for your advice and help. I will look for the adapter tubes. And glue if necessary! Pam

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Priscilla March 15, 2012 at 5:31 am

What if the nail does not come out with the tip and it is stuck in the heel. What should I do if I can’t get the nail out?

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Jim March 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

HI Priscilla,
If it is sticking out grab it really tight with a small vicegrips (locking pliers) and rotate it back and forth. The jaw on the vicegrip has little checker grooves that help from it slipping on the nail. Don’t use the dykes or tools I mentioned above to Amanda because that will just cut the nail off. Some nails are hollow and can be drilled out. As you are drilling the nail may just come loose and come out with your drill bit. Be sure to ues a drill bit smaller than the new pin. I hope this helps. Jim

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Robin May 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The front point of a ladies dress shoe has been scuffed and parts of the fake vinyl are peeling off. Are there front shoe tips to fit over the damaged area, kind of like a decorative metal clip that you see on some cowboy boots, but for ladies dress shoes?

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Me July 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi! :)
I have a pair of shoes that have clear heels and the tips screw in. I cannot find replacement tips that screw in, do you carry any or could you help lead me in the right direction please?
Thanks so much! :)

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Jade July 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm

hey, I know this website is more specific to the heel tip but I was wondering if there is a way to unbend a shoe heel. Mine heel is slightly slanted and want to know if there is any way on fixing this? please and thank you.

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Larry July 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I am a technician who works in an office setting with several dozen women. Several years ago the ladies started bringing me there heels for repair. I’ve gotten pretty good at it & I am happy to help. One of the girls brought me a pair of red pumps that she should have brought to me sooner. The heel tip was completely worn off, the heel lift (nail) was worn flat & the heel shank was begining to split. I told her that there was not much I could do with that heel shank starting to split. I then went on to explain the extreme forces at work when all of her weight is compressed onto that little tiny heel. Is there any fix for such a problem? It seems to me the only way to repair it is to replace the heel shank itself. That is something beyond my skills & I suspect she needs to visit the shoe store for a new pair. But this time keep a closer eye on those heel tips!

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Maria Ines Rivero July 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Nice information thanks for sharing.

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Marlene October 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

I have several pairs of heels that need the tips replaced. my question is I can’t seem to get the screws out of the heels with out almost snipping the tips of the screw off. I have been using a mini vice & a wire cutter/nippers. I have the replacement tips ready to go in but just can not get the metal tips out of my heels. HELP!!

Thank you!

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Sveta October 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Yes, it is cheaper to fix your heels at home. But there are more things you need to know – size of the pin hole. I just bought new tips for my stilettos, and almost ruined my shoes because the pin on new tips is bigger. I tried to get new tips in, made it half way. It stuck there, I couldn’t get it out, and now the new tips are completely destroyed, my shoes all scratched up. Unfortunately, I am a high heel freak, and in our small town we don’t have even one shoe repair place. So I have to fix my favorite stilettos by myself. I would rather to pay to a professional, who has all parts and knows what size it needs to be, and can do it for 3-5 minutes.

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Jax October 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

For the girl whose shoe has 3 tips instead of one tip, i suggest this pair on ebay, i just lost of my tips and i’m looking for the replacement too and the shoe tip is different, hope this works for you, i just ordered the pair and i’ll try to come back once it arrived and i replaced them
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-SHOE-REPAIR-HIGH-HEEL-TIPS-STILETTO-REPLACEMENT-DOWEL-LIFT-NO-SKID-MADE-IN-USA-/170928193434?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27cc1d3f9a

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Matt December 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Hello

I need some help.mi used your trick with the drill bit. My wife’s shoes or the 2.99mm dowels. I try buying them online, everyone claims that they have the 2.99. Both times they were wrong. And I had to get a refund. Do you know anyone that has the 2.99mm for sure

Please let me know thanks

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IvyL March 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

Hello,
Thank you for your help. I have a quick question for you. I looked around for heels tips and most of them have the nail like you described. However, it looks like my heels’ tips were glue on. What do I do with this problem? Thank you!

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Adrienne April 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I also have a pair of shoes that the dowels are smaller than the ones the newheeltips.com sells. I assume they are the 2.99 size Matt mentions above. My boyfriend is out in the garage right now with a Dremel tool trying to make them smaller by whittling away at the ribs on the side so they will fit in the support tube inside the plastic heel. Will see how it goes.

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Paris Parsa August 15, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I have a hard time with shoes. My feet are wide and almost all shoes bother my feet till i get used to them. My husband’s shoes on the other hand mostly end up with the same problem. The back of the shoe gets worn out from inside. I finally started to repair them at home. So far so good. Any suggestions on a better way to fix them? Here is how i fix them with some yarn.
http://thegreenminimalist.blogspot.com/2013/03/simple-15-min-shoe-repair.html

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