Do it yourself
This post is a little be unexpected, but nevertheless it may be useful to some of the readers of this blog.
The issue is that last weekend while having fun with my family outdoors I was skillful enough to brake the zipper slider of one of my beloved winter boots. Even though the boots weren’t new and showed early signs of wear and tear replacing them with a new pair of similar ones would cost me about 115 CAD. I knew that throwing the old boots only because of a broken slider wasn’t an option, so I resorted to trying to reattach it myself without first watching how to do it on the YoutTube. The result wasn’t encouraging, so I watched a couple of videos there, the most useful, I’ve attached at the bottom of the post. Following the video advice I ended up with a zipper slider in a really broken state as in the image above.
A fork stuck in the road
Having found myself and the boots in this awkward situation, the options were to buy a couple of new zipper sliders of varying sizes. The issue was I wasn’t sure what slider to chose on the Internet, since there were quite a few, and frankly speaking, I’m not a shoemaker expert. I was curious enough to notice that some descriptions for sliders had a Vislon term in them. So I searched for it and hooray a number of posts clarified that a zipper is more then meets the eye, and there are some things to know about them before any purchase.
Zippers have a number of distinct physical parameters:
- Markings or absence of which
- Lock mechanism
Below comes a more detailed description of each parameter.
It turns out that there are two kind of zippers: Vislon and Coil. While the Vislon zipper has distinguishable teeth, the Coil more resembles a coil, hence its name.
As for the sizes, zippers are numbered starting from #1 to #10. The sizes are measured in inches or millimeters. When the size is measured in a following fashion as it’s shown in the image below
To find a mapping from zipper number to zipper size, and vice versa, in inches/mm search the Internet.
If you think that determining the size of your zipper is easy, it’s yes or no.
Best case scenario – good markings
There are zippers, such as YKK that have proper markings on the back side of the zipper slider. Where the number, for example 5, stands for the zipper size number and CN or VS/V post-fixes stand for the zipper type. CN stands for Coil type and V/VS stands for Vislon type. In the image below it’s size number 5, Coil type YKK zipper slider.
So – so scenario – some markings in unexpected places
Some zippers have no apparent markings, but upon thorough investigation it can be found at the front side of the slider like on the image below, which has size number 8 shown (though it resembles a letter B in this case)
No markings – use your engineering skills, i.e. the ruler
Since the slider on my boots was a stealth one, it had no markings, I resorted to measuring the size using a good old ruler. And it measured to about 6.5-7 mm which could be size #6 or #7.
Some zipper sliders have a retractable pin or other means to lock the slider in place to prevent it from sliding. Other zippers can’t have this functionality and are plain non-locking sliders. My broken slider had the pin configuration as in the image below.
An ideal solution
Having watched on the YouTube a couple of video tutorials on how to reattach a slider or attach a new one, I got that it wasn’t gonna be an easy task. So I searched a little bit more and found a kind of ideal solution.
As you would expect the robust solution should be adjustable and easy to install zipper slider. The good news are that there is such a thing already in three sizes to rule them all. It’s a FixnZip.
This FixnZip consists of two metal parts that are easily install-able and work just like it should provided you had a correct size for the boots in hand. Actually, it is applicable to jacket, bags and other kinds of zippers.
So in the end having the small size FixnZip for 25 CAD saved me about 90 CAD spared on not buying a new pair of boots. The lesson is do it yourself, and be happy.
- Video tutorials that were useful
- Blog posts on zippers in general