Shoe Goo was created in 1972 by Lyman Van Vliet, a 45-year-old senior executive at Hughes Aircraft Co. with a degree in physics from Wayne State University. A frequent player of tennis, Van Vliet was dissatisfied with the durability of the soles of his tennis shoes and sought a method to extend their life by repairing them.
Although Van Vliet already held several patents related to the aerospace industry, he had no extensive background in chemistry. Nevertheless, he set to work to create an adhesive which could be used to create a pliable surface coating for shoe soles, whipping up his experimental blends in a spaghetti pot. The ultimate result of Van Vliet’s efforts was a polymer that was eventually marketed as “Shoe Goo”.