Make Pens Work Using The Sole Of Your Shoe

We've all tried to get a recalcitrant pen working by scribbling furiously on a piece of paper. For a quicker and less messy solution, try using the sole of your shoe instead.

This is one of those bits of folk wisdom that's probably been circulating for years, but I'd never encountered it until Gizmodo editor Nick mentioned it casually yesterday. A quick test by our publisher Seamus confirmed that it works like a charm, and our speculation is that it might work better than paper by gripping more firmly to the ballpoint. Whatever the reason, it's a neat trick.


    Darn it! I threw out about five stubborn pens about an hour ago!

    This often works too,.. Roll the pen tip down, vigorously between the palms of your hands until the friction warms up the ink in the tube! Should only take ten to twenty seconds or so. :)

    Use a hair dryer on the body of the pen. Low heat for about 30 seconds. Works like a charm on ballpoints.

      Brilliant idea. I'll be sure to place a purchase order with the office manager for a hair dryer asap.


        Gather up the dead ones and take them home :-)

    This is a brilliant idea, I normally just throw out pens if they do not work he first time

    Good idea if you are not at your desk... at the desk i find a better solution is a buttload of new pens on hand. If one doesn't work just bin it. Hairdryers?? When would I have access to a hairdryer and not a new pen?

    Ha! It's like being at school all over again. I used to do this all the time.

    Stay tuned for our next article:
    How to clean ink off your carpet

    This doesn't actually say what to do? Do I scribble on the sole of my shoe? Do I step on the pen? Do I put the pen in my socks and wear them for a day?

    I find using a cigarette lighter to heat the nib works well too :)

    One hack that always works like a charm for me: Try to write on any glass surface before trying on paper. It always works, no exceptions.

    "There is nothing better in life,
    Than writing on the sole of your slipper with a Biro"

    as the great Half Man Half Biscuit once sang

    Shoes are amazing!

    They also work for quirky TVs, opening wine bottles and getting lazy step kids to remove your calluses.

    I just warm up my ole ball points like Sarah Palin by writing the answers to my quizzes on the palm of my hand.

    Just skip the hassle of ball point pens and head straight for felt-tip pens.

    I was reading a book of "Studio Tips" recently and the author suggested that you can get stubborn pens to work by putting a lit match underneath the tip of the pen.

    I used to do this many years ago as a kid and I completely forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me!!

    Just use a pencil...

    if you dont have access to a hairdryer in your office, when you go to make a cup of coffee make a second cup with just boiling water and sit the stuck pen in it

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now