My friend came over to help me, which was incredibly useful. I don't think I could have taken these apart without her. Using a hacksaw, we slowly chipped away at the rubber heel. Mm, nothing like the smell of burning rubber in the morning!
As we sawed, we were confounded by how quickly it became difficult. Our motto became, "When all else fails, cut it in half!" After dividing down the heel we realized that the rubber actually encased a much harder plastic heel base. Oh, Steve, you sneaky, sneaky man.
One boot with the remnants of the semi-dismantled pair. You can see where the rubber was hollow to allow for the mini-heel inside.
Here you see the tiny inner heel as we try to saw through it, and the clunky heel remains on the side:
This gives another view of that same little beast:
After much sawing, breaking, and rubber shredding later ... viola!
At this point, I'm going to say that was the most difficult part of the project ... I don't think anything else could be as difficult as those couple hours we spent trying to break a nailed in, screwed on, welded piece of plastic without destroying the integrity of the boot/sole itself.
After this, we headed to the local Lowe's to pick up supplies for the next step. We looked at blocks of wood first, but ultimately decided to go with PVC pipe. Kind of lazy, perhaps, but I lack the tools to shape wood and the pipes come pre-cut. It was just a matter of finding a size that fit on the base of the boot well enough for me to balance on. I got some weird looks, slipping in to a deformed, heel-less knee-high and standing one-legged on PVC pipe caps in the middle of the aisle. I think they were just jealous.
We finally decided on a good size cap for the width of the base, but it wasn't quite the height I was looking for. Face it, a 5'4" draenei just isn't going to cut it. Looking through a few more bins, we found an insert that fit well inside the cap we had decided on, then headed over to the adhesive aisle to buy all sorts of PVC cement, sand paper, and a cheap paintbrush. Things are a little fuzzy here, as I'm not totally pleased with the process I did today and will be heading out within the next day or two to try to get a replacement.
Here are the bits of PVC I brought home:
Hours later, they are still holding well.
I'm already real excited.