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I have a pair of wooden geta I bought from Tokyo and would like to wear them outside. I tend to scuff all my shoes when I walk, regardless of shoe type, and I would really like to preserve these shoes as best I can.

According to an online geta sale website, you can glue rubber to the bottom of the shoe for this purpose.

What types of adhesives / materials would I need to achieve this?

What is the most non-destructive way to do this, assuming I will need to replace the rubber (possibly several times) over time?

Thank you.

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You would want a flexible adhesive, as the rubber soles will have some movement throughout its thickness.

A good quality contact cement will bond well with both the rubber and with the wood, as long as you have a clean smooth surface on the wood. The rubber should also be cleaned with a solvent such as denatured alcohol or acetone, to ensure there is no oil or grease.

Unfortunately, a good quality contact cement will make it difficult to later replace the rubber.

That leaves a rather obvious option known as rubber adhesive. This is not to be confused with rubber cement, often used in offices and print shops to bond paper layers. The appearance of both products are similar, but the rubber adhesive products will be thicker.

Some of the adhesives work in a manner similar to contact cement, in that the layers are applied to both surfaces and allowed to become tacky, sometimes even requiring that the adhesive become dry. When placed into contact, the bond is quite strong.

When removal becomes necessary, it is likely that you will have to sand away the residual adhesive from the wood, or use a solvent that will not damage the finish of the wood. Goo Gone or similar citrus based removal agents may prove useful.

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    Barge brand is what shoemakers and leatherworkers use for this purpose. amazon.com/Barge-All-Purpose-Cement-Quart/dp/B0032YYOFS. It's very durable. I expect some heat from a hot air gun or hair drier would soften it enough to allow you to remove the sole without too much damage to the underlying wood. As fred_dot_u mentions, it is used like contact cement, applied to both surfaces and then pressed together after a short drying period. – scanny Feb 28 '18 at 23:18
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I can’t advise you on the glue but I made my own wooden geta a few years ago and I used rubber from an old winter automobile tire. It’s a great material for soles - it hasn’t worn out at all. (I first used the rubber from old sneakers but that just wore out in less than a week). So, that’s something to consider.

  • What type of tire? When you say "winter tire" I tend to think of thick tired bicycles for snow cycling. Did you mean auto tires? – Wimateeka Mar 1 '18 at 13:05

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