How to Fix a Zipper on Boots

Zippers have added a lot of convenience to boots, particularly those styles that aren’t so wide at the top that your foot can’t easily slide into. Unfortunately, a broken zipper can turn something that should be easy into a disaster. Before you decide you have to change your whole outfit, try this technique on how to fix a zipper on boots. This technique is best for zippers that aren’t worn out. Some of the things we’ll cover include working fabric out of a zipper, fixing bent zipper teeth, lubricating a separated zipper, and more. 

Work the Zipper Down

Boot zippers separate because somewhere, there’s a tooth that didn’t fall in line when it was supposed to. This can happen for several reasons, but we’ll get to troubleshooting the problem in a minute.

First, slide the zipper down until you meet resistance. Then, you may need to wiggle the zipper or tug on it gently to get it past this point. It’s important that you aren’t too rough or you can cause more damage. 

Something else you can try is pinching the zipper together underneath the area where the slider is stuck. Sometimes, manually pushing the zipper together lets you slide it down. 

Check for Fabric Caught in the Zipper

You should also check for fabric while you’re doing this. Sometimes, the issue is as simple as fabric from the boot getting caught in the zipper and impeding it from moving any further. 

Fabric caught in the zipper of a boot

To fix this issue, you’ll need to gently wiggle the fabric loose. If you can, you can also try pulling the zipper down to free the fabric. Be careful not to rip the fabric or cause further damage to the zipper while you do this. If there isn’t any fabric, then move onto the next step. 

Examine the Teeth

If there isn’t any caught fabric, you’ll want to check the teeth of the zipper in the problem area next. Start by wiping away any dust or obvious grime. You should also look for loose threads that might be getting in the way. Once you’ve cleaned the teeth, check for signs of bent or otherwise damaged teeth. If they are just bent, you’ll easily be able to fix them yourself. 

Straighten Bent Teeth

If you find any teeth that need straightened, you can bend them back into place. If you can’t do it using your fingers, you’ll want to use a pair of needle nose pliers. Needle nose pliers provide enough force, but they are narrow enough that they won’t damage the surrounding zipper teeth as you try to bend the damaged one back into place. 

Straightening bent zipper teeth with needlenose pliers

Check the Slider for Damage

If you don’t have any bent teeth, then the piece that “zips” the clothing up (called the slider) might be to blame. The slider should be able to move up and down the line of teeth without getting caught. Check to see if the sides of the zipper are positioned properly. If they are too open or bent, you can use needle nose pliers to close the gap so it moves more freely. 

Apply Wax to the Zipper

If your zipper is separating and causing the issue, then wax can help. The wax works as a lubrication for the zipper, making it easier to pull the slide up and down. As an added bonus, there are a lot of different types of wax that you can use. You can use paraffin wax, wax paper, or candle wax. You can even use wax from a crayon! 

Using Wax To Fix Zipper On Shoes

All you need to do is rub the wax onto the zipper. You can use a Q-tip or cloth applicator if you want to avoid getting it on your clothes. With wax paper, you’ll pinch your fingers around the wax paper and move it up and down the zipper. Generally, you don’t need a lot of wax to get the job done. Massage it in and wipe away any excess. 

Next, you’re going to take a hot blow dryer and heat the wax up. Once it’s warm, it will penetrate the teeth deeper instead of just sitting on the surface. After the wax is warmed up, give the zipper another try. You can repeat the waxing steps again if it doesn’t work. 

As an alternative, you can use window cleaner. Window cleaner is a good lubricant, but it generally doesn’t harm clothing and other materials. If you’re worried about boot leather, either cover the area surrounding the zipper before applying or do a test area on the leather to be sure you won’t cause damage before getting started. To use it, just spray the zipper and then wipe with a cloth or paper towel. 

FAQs About How to Fix a Zipper on Boots

What do I do if the whole zipper system needs replaced? 

Sometimes, a boot zipper has been worn down so much that the zipper needs replaced entirely. While some people choose to leave this to the professionals, you can try removing the stopper and replacing the slider yourself. However, if you need to replace the entire system, it’s best done by a professional. This is especially true since boots are usually made with tough material like leather that is challenging for a novice to work with. 

Can I replace the zipper slider myself? 

While it is possible to replace the zipper slider yourself, it can be a tedious process. You have to use pliers to remove the stopper from the zipper, which makes it possible for the slider to come off. Then, gently remove the slider taking care not to further damage the teeth. 

Next, you need to manually connect the zipper. Put each of the teeth together, watching for any bent or damaged areas that might stop the slider from moving.

Once the teeth are all aligned, you may need to remove the first couple teeth from each side of the zipper. Often, the first few teeth get damaged with the stopper is pulled off. Then, you’re ready to put the slider back on and re-insert the stopper.