Air Jordan 1 last for swapping a sole
The Shoe Surgeon @Youtube

How to remove the sole of a sneaker

How to remove a sole of a sneaker? Neil from The Shoe Surgeon show us step by step a sole swap on a Nike Air Jordan 1.

Swapping a sole is a great way to create a one-of-a-kind shoe. We are going to show you how to remove the sole of a sneaker. Neil, the director of schools at The Shoe Surgeon is going to be doing a sole swap on a Jordan 1 OG Core Purples.

Tools to perform a sole swap

In order to remove the soles of a shoe and swap them, we need the following tools:

  1. Contact cement.
  2. Acetone.
  3. Marking pens.
  4. Horsehair brush.
  5. One-inch chip brush.
  6. Flathead screwdrivers
  7. Hook-awl
  1. Claw hammer.
  2. Bone folder.
  3. A piece of malaysian crepe.
  4. Thread snippers.
  5. Lasts.
  6. Heat gun.

Firsts steps to remove a sole of a sneaker

First thing we are going to do is remove the laces and the insole. Then we’re going to use a scratch awl and place it under the thread, pick one of the threads of the outside and then tug on it begin releasing the thread.

Removing the sole

Nike Air Jordan 1 sketch for sole swaping
The Shoe Surgeon @Youtube

What we’re going to do next is remove the soles. For the purpose of this video we’re going to imagine that the left foot is going to be the donor shoe and the right foot is going to be the shoe that’s going to be receiving the sole swap the donor shoe.

A. With acetone

We are going to remove with acetone the right foot.

  1. Just pour the acetone in and make sure that you switch it around and it soaks up where the sidewall meets the shoe. You’ll know when you have enough acetone inside because the sides of the shoe will feel cold.
Adding acetone to remove the sole of a Air Jordan 1
Adding acetone inside the Air Jordan 1 / THE SHOE SURGEON @YOUTUBE
  1. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Once that’s done we’ll begin to remove the sole.
  2. Our 20 minutes is up. Now is time to remove the sole from the donor shoe. Squeeze test to make sure that it’s soaked up good enough so when you squeeze it should begin separating from the sidewall.
  3. Take the bone folder and find a spot that’s separated.
  4. Insert the bone folder and begin to twist. Never point the tip of the bone folder towards the sole pointed in towards the leather.

B. With heat

We want to preserve the upper of the left foot that’s going to be receiving the sole swap so we’re going to do a different method of removing the sole which will be with heat.

  1. Take a quarter inch flathead screwdriver and the heat gun.
  2. Heat the quarter inch screwdriver using the heat gun.
  3. Heat the sole at the same time.
Heating a flathead screwdriver to remove an Air Jordan 1 sole
Removing a sole with a heat gun / The Shoe Surgeon @Youtube
  1. Stick the screwdriver in and separate the sidewall of the sole with the upper.

Separating the soles and swapping them

Pull the upper from the back forward to separate the sole.”

  1. After separating the sidewall from the upper, separate from the back forward. The air unit attaches somewhere in the middle so if you pull from the front back you might separate the air unit as well from the sole.
  2. Clean up any of the residual glue. You can use a sandpaper in case you don’t have a rotary tool and rub the side wall and the same thing along the upper. When you’re using your rotary tool to clean up the upper do not hit the stitching that goes along the bottom of the shoe.
  3. Insert the last into the upper.
  4. Sit the upper inside of the sole and make our glue line around the perimeter of the upper. Using your marking pen you’re going to make a line around the perimeter of the shoe where the sole meets the upper.
  1. Take the contact cement and the one inch chip brush and apply contact cement to the sole. When you’re applying contact cement to the upper you want to make sure you hit the line that you’ve made and brush down.
  2. Stick the sole in the upper in the oven. Don’t use your regular oven at home. We use a convection oven because it provides an even amount of heat around the shoe. If you use a baking oven it might just burn the bottom of your shoe.
  3. Take the sole and the upper out of the oven.
  4. Stuck the upper to the sole beginning with the toe.
  5. Take the claw hammer and hammer the sides and the perimeter of the sole to the actual upper just to reinforce that sticks.

Sole swap completed! Do this at home and make yourself something unique.

Content transcribed from the The Shoe Surgeon Youtube video: How to Customize an Air Jordan 1 with Sole Removal & Sole Replacement or Adhesion

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