Art’s & Crafts | Carbon-Soled Shoe Modification

A co-worker and I were recently discussing carbon-soled shoes when he brought up an idea involving modifying his shoes, which immediately caught my attention. The basis of the conversation was the slippery-ness of the carbon soles and general wear. Those of us who have purchased carbon-soled XC shoes know that they aren’t typically very cheap and we want them to last as long as possible. Anybody who has also worn carbon cycling shoes most likely understands that while walking across rocks, steps, or almost anything “hard”, the shoes turn into ice skates, making the possibility of falling before you’ve even pedaled your bike very real.

His suggestion for alleviating the problem: gluing pieces of old tire over the places where carbon is exposed. Brilliant, right?! What made it even better was that it could be done with things that you more than likely have laying around your house in some form or another.


1) Shoes. Grab the shoes you want to fix up for the better and get them over here.

2) An old tire (any road/CX variety is best). This can be as simple or as complicated a process as you like. If you’re picky, then consider the tread pattern of the tire, how wide the tire is/how much usable space you have, and how aggressive the tread pattern is. Don’t care too much? Grab what you have lying around and make it work! I was feeling pretty picky, but unwilling to buy a tire and was lucky enough to get a hand-me-down from a friend at work…a Specialized “Trigger” 700 x 33c tire. It has a relatively low profile with a nice diamond tread pattern, offering just enough traction and rubber to be sticky and protective without being bulky.

3) Super Glue or Barge Cement “TF Cement”. To be honest, I used Super Glue Gel and with 2 weeks of solid use (including lots of walking on rocks), I have had ZERO issues arise. If you want to do it super “pro”, you can apply your tires to the bottom of your shoes with Barge Cement in whatever variety you prefer, though TF is offered in smaller quantities, dries fast, and works for a number of applications. NOTE: DO NOT USE Gorilla Glue. It will not offer a long-term and effective bond with your rubber tire shoe mod.

4) Scissors and/or utility knife.

The process is surpisingly straightforward and does not dig into or harm your shoe in any way. If you end up not liking the “modification”, it is all very reversible. Let’s begin….

Step 1) If you’re investing in this for the long term, then I’d recommend sanding off any debris, scuffs, scrapes, and graphics down to the resin coating. Don’t go through the resin as that’s then opening up the carbon itself to exposure and weak points. If you don’t want to sand anything off, then at the very least remove any dirt and debris that may be stuck on places where the carbon is exposed.


Step 2) Cut a long strip of full-width tire out of the tire’s casing. Make a few basic cuts into the tire and start shaping the tire into something that will cover your shoe in the proper area. Don’t be too concerned with messing up…with a full tire, you have enough rubber and material to cover about 11 pairs of shoes. Hack away!


Step 3) Once you have a proper shape cut to fit your shoe, apply a light layer of glue to the carbon sole and apply your rubber shoe cover, holding it firmly in place for the recommended amount of time.


Step 4) Repeat as many times as you want, need, or see fit. On these Giro Codes, I am covering only the part directly beneath the arch of my foot because that is where most wear and tear and “skating” tends to happen for me. You can cover pieces of the area directly surrounding your cleat, but beware of interference with the cleat/pedal interface.


Step 5) If you do this enough times and with your other shoe, you might end up with a pair of shoes that are fully custom, like this!


You now can say goodbye to slipping, scuffing, and excessive wear. If you ever have questions about these articles, please feel free to get in touch with me via email at: