How to Fix a Zipper on Boots

Have you wondered how to fix a zipper on boots? Boots can be very stylish, or very rugged — just depends on who’s wearing them. If it’s a fashion statement that you’re making with your cool boots, then the worst thing that can happen is to have the zipper break! Does this mean you have to give them away to goodwill? Nope. Do you have to throw them away? No! Since some dress boots are styled very high — above ankle boots, to knee-high boots, thigh-high or other tall boots, there are pretty extensive zippers on them. With frequent use, sometimes they need to be fixed.


If the only problem you have is the zipper pull, that’s a simple repair. You have the same choice you have with a sturdy pair of jeans — either reattach the old pull with a pair of pliers (needle-tip), or buy one of the commercially made snap-on pulls. The pliers-fix works if the pull came off by slipping through an unexpected gap. You can easily close that gap with a bit of effort, and your zipper is good.

If the zipper pull is lost, and unserviceable, you might go for the scissored-style replacement pulls. Like a tiny pair of scissors, many of the snap-on pulls go over and under the slider and then snap permanently in place. They’re cheap, fast, and really strong — definitely a good choice for boots.


Another common problem for boot zippers is failing to catch, or catching the teeth in the middle. This can happen from frequent use. Sometimes a zipper slider on boots lets the teeth slide by without closing them. Then later in the zipper it works again, and you have a zipper that catches from the middle but won’t go back. This is a relatively easy fix. Carefully but firmly, pull the slider all the way back to the start position of the zipper, and lift the zipper up so you can see into the slider opening. With a pair of pliers you can pinch this slider gap and then test the zipper. If it moves forward and doesn’t close the zipper teeth, then try again. This may be all that your boot zipper needs – avoiding a full replacement.


With suede or leather boots, a new replacement zipper can be easily glued and then stiched in place with a heavy-duty sewing machine needle. Extra care must be given to the turn at the anchor spot so the machine work can be continuous. Do this party slowly! The most difficult step for non-professionals is carefully removing the original zipper, and zipper tape – without damaging the boot’s material.

At some point a boot-maker, shoe repair shop might be your only choice, but try these other remedies first. Depending on the cost of the boots, you might not mind spending $75-100 for full service repair, cleaning, and zipper replacement. You might even use your broken zipper problem as an excuse to get your favorite boots resoled.


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