Professional shoe repair: Save money, time, and your feet

While on my way back from getting some hot tea in the break room at work, I noticed that one of my shoes was making a strange noise. Upon getting back to my office, I saw why: the heel cap had fallen off and was lying next to my chair.

Hmm, I thought. Maybe that's why I've been tripping so much lately. Because I had been tripping. Enough to be embarrassed. I had jokingly chalked it up to becoming klutzy in my “old age.”

I took off my shoe to see if I could press the heel cap back in (at least to get me through the end of the day and back home), and I noticed something further. On both my shoes, the heel had worn unevenly. The inside part of each heel was worn at least a third of an inch lower than the outside part of the heel.

The Dilemma

I had known for months that these shoes were wearing out — the right one also had a tear in the leather. But they were my main work shoes. First, they were black, so they went with almost everything. More importantly, they were comfortable enough to wear all day, every day, for 9-10 hours without making my feet hurt.

I've always worn shoes well past their expiration date. When I was in fifth grade, the upper part of my sneakers started to separate from the soles, and you could actually see my feet. My mom refused to buy me new ones until after my next growth spurt. While Christmas shopping with my dad, he looked down at my feet and said, “We're buying you new shoes right now.” I was thrilled beyond words because we were at the mall. Shoes from the mall!

When I was in college and got a full-time internship, my dad bought me my first pair of work shoes. They were Duckhead loafers, and I loved them. I wore them even after they were so misshapen and discolored that my roommate started throwing them away. I kept fishing them out of the trash until eventually she walked them down to the Dumpster when I wasn't home.

In this instance, I'd been procrastinating buying new shoes because:

  • It would cost at least $50 for a decent pair of office-appropriate replacement shoes
  • The replacement shoes would seem comfortable in the store, only to fail the 9-to-10-hours-a-day comfort test in the real world
  • Shoe stores usually won't accept returns if they show visible wear so I'd be stuck with the shoes I had bought, and yet…
  • I'd be back at the store paying another $50 for another pair of potential replacement shoes, and on and on.

I knew I didn't want to buy things I'd never wear. My next thought was Goodwill. However, I needed new shoes quickly — I couldn't afford to wait for the perfect shoes to make their way to the thrift store. While in most cases the perfect is the enemy of the good, it's not true in the case of my arches.

I did what anyone would do. I stood in the doorway of a colleague's office and bemoaned the death of my shoes. She told me that she had had tremendous luck with shoe repair shops in the past. Unfortunately for me, she hadn't had a shoe emergency since moving to this area and couldn't recommend a particular shop.

So, I stood in the doorway the office of another colleague, who has lived in this city for years, and asked her if she could recommend a place. She let me know there was a shoe repair shop in a strip mall that her husband had used in the past. Bonus: it turned out to be a strip mall I pass on my way home from work (I hate driving almost as much as I hate shopping).

The Solution

I took my shoes in ASAP and relayed my woes to the repair man. “Can you save them?” I asked.

“No problem,” he said. “Pickup on Saturday OK?”

I was pretty skeptical they could really be saved, especially for the $20 that he quoted me, but he seemed so calm and confident that I was willing to try. Saving $30 by repairing shoes is not even close to the hundreds or thousands of dollars you can save by repairing appliances instead of replacing them, but it's nothing to sneeze at, either.

Lo and behold, when I picked them up on Saturday,

  • The rip had been repaired
  • Some sort of resin had been used to restore the entire heel to its original length
  • The heel caps on both shoes had been replaced, and
  • They had been polished.

For less than half the cost of a new pair of shoes that I'd probably hate anyway, my existing shoes were completely fixed. Yes, if you pick the shoes up and hold them at eye level you can see a line where the original heels meet the resin. Yes, if you're six inches away, you can see that the seam repairing the rip doesn't align exactly with the existing seam on the shoe.

But how often are anyone else's eyes six inches away from my shoes? Never, that I can recall. Heck, until the heel cap actually fell off and alerted me to the problem, my eyes were never six inches away from my shoes.

Repair, Don't Replace!

Shoe repair (aka “cobbling”) is a dying art in today's age of cheap, replaceable Stuff (as are independent shoe salesmen like those who used to work for Mason Shoes). I found my shop through word of mouth. While I later discovered that they do come up in a Google search for shoe repair shops in my area, it never would have occurred to me that my shoes were salvageable.

Another strategy would be to ask a high-end shoe store whom they recommend for repairs, as that's how my colleague's husband found this location. The shop I went to gets a lot of its business because they are an official Birkenstock repair location (and they also repair luggage and anything leather).

I am thrilled to have this store on my radar — not only was the repair fast and inexpensive compared with new shoes, but the fellow who runs the shop is a third-generation owner and operator. I'm not just a happy customer, I'm buying local and supporting a tradition.

What's your best story about repairing something you thought was destroyed?

More about...Frugality, Clothing

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William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
7 years ago

I was sent to boarding school for my high school years and had to walk a mile and a half to school every day. As a result my shoes wore down pretty quickly. And that’s when I learned about shoe repair. The uppers last through three sole replacements in my experience. I still look for a cobbler whenever I move. Fortunately we have one a block from our home. They’re not only good for shoes, but belts, handbags and similar things. I just had a tear on a leather jacket a couple of weeks ago and it’s on its way… Read more »

Belligero
Belligero
7 years ago

By all means, take good care of your shoes and repair rather than replace. Just make you have ones that are worth repairing, and if not, don’t buy more low-quality ones.

If there’s one wardrobe item that you don’t want to cheap out on, it’s footwear. Also, use shoe trees and don’t wear the same pair two days in a row if you want the good kind to last.

Lucy
Lucy
7 years ago

I’m delighted to say that in London, cobblers are alive and well. There is one near my office who does emergency repairs (i.e. provides you a chair to sit on barefoot whilst he repairs your crisis immediately). My favourite cobbler, near my house, will also repair leather handbags, punch holes to make shoes and belts fit better (usually for free if you bring something else in too). My top tips are: 1) keep your good office shoes under your desk and travel in something sturdier to avoid wearing down the heels. Good for your feet too if you have slightly… Read more »

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
7 years ago

Our garage door opener was in pieces when we bought the house, and the original manufacturer no longer existed. We thought we’d be stuck buying a whole new system to the tune of several hundred bucks. But with some research, tinkering, and a $20 kit, Mr. PoP managed to hobble together a solution that isn’t pretty, but works. And continues to work several years later. I’m sure we’ll eventually replace the nearly 30-year-old garage door opener, but in the meantime, every time it opens to let my car in or out, I appreciate how Mr. PoP extended its life. As… Read more »

Lizzie
Lizzie
7 years ago

This reminds me that I’ve got some shoes I need to drop off. My husband has done this for years. He bought three pairs of high-end, handmade English shoes about 12 years ago (on sale) and brings them in every six months to be re-soled and spiffed up. Every five years or so he sends them to a shoe magician in New Jersey to be full-on reconditioned. He spent a lot of money on the original outlay, but he hasn’t had to buy a single pair of dress shoes since then. He’s a teacher and is on his feet in… Read more »

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
7 years ago

THANK YOU! I could agree more! In fact, I wrote an article awhile back about the top 5 blue collar workman tools, and the top of my list is my work boots (http://bluecollarworkman.com/top-5-must-have-blue-collar-tools/). And in there is the need to repair them at a cobblers! Don’t buy new all the time, just fix what you have!! Cobblers do great work and make shoes like new again for years.

Seriously dudes. Find a cobbler. Use the cobbler.

Babs
Babs
7 years ago

Redwings are awesome!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago

Glad to see a post promoting shoe repair! I’ve had quite a few pairs of shoes re-soled over the years, the odd handbag repaired or zipper replaced and extra holes punched in belts or sandals. Good quality shoes can be pricy, but when you get lots of wear out of them and can inexpensively repair them, the cost per use and total cost of ownership is actually quite low. Our shoe repair shop is also a wealth of information. Not sure how to pick out good quality shoes for you or your kids? Wondering how to spot shoes that can… Read more »

Helen
Helen
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Elizabeth, another option for you might be made-to-measure boots: http://poppybarley.com/
This isn’t inexpensive, by any means, but depending how much wear you would get from boots, it may be good value on a cost-per-wear basis.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Helen

Fantastic! (And they ship to Canada — happy dance!) Thank you for posting this.

Helen
Helen
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Happy to help! I also struggle to find boots that fit, so I can relate. I’m saving up…
(And incidentally, the sisters who started the company are fellow Canadians – I actually heard about them from a “hometown girls make good” feature in our local paper.)

Shannon
Shannon
7 years ago
Reply to  Helen

wow those look amazing!!! as someone with large feet and big ankles / calves i’ve never found a pair of boots in my life that fit. this could actually work out!

sunny
sunny
7 years ago

I currently have duct tape holding some of my freezer together, does that count?

I am not a terribly tech-savvy person but I have friends who are, and they have helped me limp along dying computers, dying DVD players and so forth. In return I like to give those friends baked goods.

Amanda
Amanda
7 years ago

I couldn’t agree more with using a cobbler. One should take pride in one’s possessions. I love shoes but am picky and I’ve taken all manner of shoes to the cobbler to include leather boots, a favorite cheap pair of black sandals and orange seude flats from Brazil. I would add that if one is new to using a cobbler, try a few of them out if one has the opportunity. There are three in my area but only one that I recommend.

Sonja
Sonja
7 years ago

As far as I know any shop shoes you buy will have less than great soles. I’ve always brought them to a cobbler after a month or 6-7 to get the soles replaced before any more damage happens. This tends to be strong enough to go easily another year before they give out.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

My 3 cents:

Polish your leather shoes well and often with good old fashioned shoe creamer (not the kind that shines without polishing). If they have leather soles, give some creamer to these, too, but brush carefully so that all creamer gets absorbed.
Polish with old pantyhose, rolled to a ball. It will give a great glow.

Always let your shoes rest for at least one day before wearing them again. The leather needs to dry out.

If you need to wash your leather shoes or boots with water: use saddle soap. It does not dry out the leather.

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
7 years ago

While your shoes may look good I question if they are supporting your feet the way they should.

I stand all day for work and I replace my shoes on a regular basis to keep my feet healthy and avoid future problems.

Just because shoes feel comfortable does not mean they are protecting the fat pad on the heal of your foot that slowly disappears as we age.

And arch support. Don’t get my started on arch support.

Laura
Laura
7 years ago

LOL – I am currently wearing my favorite Mary Janes that hold my Profoot arch supports. They look good and feel good. 🙂 And they do need a trip to the cobbler, so this article is timely.

The only other suggestion I have is, if you have only one pair of wonderful shoes, look around and buy (on sale, when you have the funds) a second pair before it becomes an emergency. Also useful for alternating daily wear.

Great post.

A-L
A-L
7 years ago

I was wondering about the support issue too, as I’m in a profession that requires standing for 8+ hours a day. How long (or with how much wear) do supports on good shoes last? Is there anything a cobbler can do to fix support issues, or is it just cosmetics?

Kai Jones
Kai Jones
7 years ago
Reply to  A-L

Many shoes have removable insoles, and you can buy good quality (not drug-store!) insoles with the kind of support, arch, and heel that you need. I tend to buy new insoles every other year for all my shoes–usually when I’m replacing the heels or entire soles.

Stephen
Stephen
7 years ago

A nice pair of $200-300 leather soles shoes will last 10 years easily with some upkeep. You do the math vs buying $50 shoes every 6 months. Btw you will look like a grown-up wearing them too.

ChezJulie
ChezJulie
7 years ago

There’s a great shoe repair store in my city. I take my favorite boots in every winter to get reheeled and polished. I’ve had them clean a suede handbag, too, to get another season’s wear out of it. Tailors can also do amazing things.

Holly@ClubThrifty
7 years ago

My husband has very expensive dress shoes for work. Instead of replacing them, he has them resoled every 6 months or so. It only costs about $40! Great post, Honey!

partgypsy
partgypsy
7 years ago

You are lucky, not all shoes can be fixed via a cobbler due to their construction. I had a pair of favorite shoes I took to a shoe repair shop, and because of the way it was constructed (sole and heel one big piece, that was basically glued to the rest of the shoe), no can do. But I did have a pair of leather shoes I was able to have re-heeled and wear for much longer. Typically, more expensive, and also men style shoes (with seperate sole and heel) usually can be repaired, but many women’s (inexpensive, fashion) shoes… Read more »

Betsy22
Betsy22
7 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

The cobbler couldn’t do a lot to fix my old pair of hiking boots, but they’ve done a wonderful job on various pairs of dress boots. It’s totally worth it, to keep boots that are comfortable to walk in.

Betsy22
Betsy22
7 years ago

I inherited a 1940’s era sewing machine from an older relative. She hadn’t used it for a number of years and the engine had seized up. It ended up costing ~$125 to get the machine rebuilt – while I probably could have bought a very cheap sewing machine from walmart for that price, I’m pretty confident that my rebuilt machine will last me the rest of my life. It’s not fancy, but definitely solid. Also, I’m happy that my $ went to support a local small business.

Holly
Holly
7 years ago
Reply to  Betsy22

Sewing machines should be tuned up & cleaned regularly too. Change your needles regularly, and use a brush to clean out around the bobbin.

A good pre-1970 (really pre- plastic parts) is worth the repair & maintenance costs.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Holly

I second that! They don’t build them like they use to, even well-known brands. Many sewers and quilters I know swear by mechanical machines with no computer components.

Regular servicing is important — it is a machine, after all! Finding a good service person can be easier said then done though.

Stacy
Stacy
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Agreed! I use a 1950’s era Singer that was left in our house when the previous occupant moved. The tension is a little fiddly and I had some repair work done on it, but it sews like a champ. It is solid steel and weighs a ton. I also have a lighter machine that I take with me when I go somewhere else to sew, but the Singer is my primary one.
I need to have it serviced and cleaned again but the shop that I trusted with it last time went out of business.

Renee
Renee
7 years ago
Reply to  Betsy22

I have been using – since the early 80’s – a Bernina Portable machine that dates from the 50’s. I remember as a young, broke student, I paid for it ‘on layaway’, $10 or $20 dollars whenever I had it, and I think I ended up paying a couple of hundred dollars all told. It is built like a miniature tank, has taken years of sewing abuse through two maternity wardrobes, making clothes for 2 kids, a part-time sewing business, several quilts and I could go on, and it still runs like a dream. Whenever I take it in for… Read more »

RandyC
RandyC
7 years ago

#15 – try http://www.nushoe.com. They resole my H S Trask dress shoes, including a pair with molded (Vibram) sole/ heel to like-new condition. They offer repair for most brands and styles.

partgypsy
partgypsy
7 years ago
Reply to  RandyC

Thanks I’ll look into that.

Louise
Louise
7 years ago

As an office worker in an industry that doesn’t require me to wear smart work clothes, I am allowed to wear pretty much what I want. This means that throughout the non-rainy months, I live in Converse Chuck Taylors. As with any shoes, the more you wear them, the shorter their life span, and the main problem with Chuck Taylors is that the inside sole wears away, making them uncomfortable to wear. I have taken to putting thin insoles into every pair of shoes I wear now. Insoles are cheap, they’ll only last a couple of months at best, but… Read more »

Krystle B.
Krystle B.
7 years ago

I have definitely found benefit from using a cobbler in the past. In fact, one repaired a tear in a leather jacket for my husband as well as some shoes for me.

However, does anyone know if running shoes can be salvaged by a cobbler? They are incredibly expensive if you need stabilizing shoes, and I wondered if anyone has had luck with finding someone to repair instead of replace these?

Adrian
Adrian
7 years ago

How funny, I was looking around for a shoe repair place just today. I have a purse that needs fixing and my favorite shoes need a spiff up for a trip to DC. My story is about something that has lasted and lasted. My cousin bought us a set of inexpensive microwave cookware for a wedding present – back in 1985! Today those pieces are still front and center in my cabinet and I use them ALL the time. The handle broke on one, but we just superglued it back on and kept using it. I need to call her… Read more »

KSK
KSK
7 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Adrian, When my great-grandmother died in 1984, I inherited her full set of Fiesta Ware. She used it everyday from the time she bought it in the 1930s, until the day she died. I’ve used her Fiesta Ware everyday since inheriting it. At this point, it’s had 70+ years of daily use; and it still looks great. Plus, using it brings back lots of wonderful memories of the meals she’d prepare especially for me. I also use a cobbler quite frequently. I have a pair of dress boots that I purchased 20 years ago. They were quite expensive at the… Read more »

Anne
Anne
7 years ago
Reply to  KSK

I could be dead wrong on this but I thought I heard the older Fiesta Ware has lead in it and the people who collect it only use it for display.

Has anybody else heard about this?

Meg
Meg
7 years ago
Reply to  Anne

I think it was maybe that bright cherry red, not all the colors.

CandiO
CandiO
7 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Actually it was radioactive isotopes. The color now called “radioactive red” (but really more of an orangey sort of color) was found to have been made with an ingredient in the glaze that would set off a geiger counter. This caused a TON of folks to bury or destroy it in the 1970s and now it one of the most collectible colors. But I dont know if I would eat out of it.

Sue
Sue
7 years ago

My husband & I have always repaired shoes. His expensive work shoes can be sent back to maker for total refurbishment at reasonable cost. But you should really have 2 pair-alternate wearing days-shoes need to dry between wearings. It’s worth the price in the long run!

As for repairing other items, it depends-an inexpensive toaster, for example, is usually not worth fixing, but a nice vacuum cleaner is!

CJ
CJ
7 years ago

Now you know that you’ll need to replace these shoes eventually. Look at them closely. What is the heel height? What is the insole made of? What is the toe shape? What is the brand? If you bought them online, you might be able to see the style name. Now you have time to look for a replacement that can serve you well instead of buying something to make do when you NEED it. Depending on your work environment, you might be able to wear the shoes for a while and still return. Bring them to work, put them on… Read more »

danil
danil
7 years ago

However, does anyone know if running shoes can be salvaged by a cobbler? They are incredibly expensive if you need stabilizing shoes, and I wondered if anyone has had luck with finding someone to repair instead of replace these?

Carla
Carla
7 years ago

I always take my footwear to the cobbler to get the heels, soles, etc replaced and shined. For me it was less about saving money and more about wanting to keep what I have instead of having to throw them out. I have a pair of Italian boots I purchased several years ago and a faction of the original cost. I take them in every other year to get them tuned up. I know it would be very difficult finding a replacement pair at the price I want to pay if I let them go to pot. So I guess… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago

I would suggest taking purses and coats to a good leather repair shop, not necessarily a cobbler. I have a wonderful purse that I have taken to the “hospital” numerous times. It is on its third set of zippers now.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

I couldn’t agree more – a good pair of shoes can be worth their cost especially if you can repair the shoes a couple times.

With that said thank you for the reminder I need to bring my pair in for some care.

Brett @ wstreetstocks
Brett @ wstreetstocks
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing this advice! Shoe repairs are great way to save money. Not to mention that you get to keep your shoes are opposed to buying a new pair. I recently broke my best shoes and I was able to keep that great pair because of shoe repair. I like to wear shoes until they can’t be worn anymore.

Kelly@Financial-Lessons
7 years ago

Theres a small shoe repair shop in the center of my town that I never understood how stayed in business. That was until I was desperate to not have to throw away a favorite pair of heels when they broke. When the cobbler repaired those shoes I remember being ecstatic that I wouldn’t have to go through the process of breaking another pair in to be as comfortable. It is a dying art that more people should take advantage of.

Megan
Megan
7 years ago

Thank you for reminding people of the fourth “R” in being green (and saving green) – reduce, reuse, recycle and REPAIR! Great article!

NLliGUY
NLliGUY
7 years ago

Allen Edmonds dress shoes. You’ll pay more for these shoes, but they also have a repaire service.

They send you a box and you send in your shoes to be resoled and corked.

Beats buying cheap dress shoes every 6 months and looking like a kid. Buy some grown up shoes.

Dona Collins
Dona Collins
7 years ago

Two things! First, it’s fantastic you were able to get your shoes repaired. We’ve done so in the past and I’ve also taken my fiance’s martial art shoes to a shoe repair shop to have the soles replaced with a different material for better use on our school floor. Second, the description of the wear on your shoes makes me wonder if you should have your gait checked. You can walk into a WalMart and stand on a Dr. Scholl’s machine that checks the way you apply pressure on your feet. If you were standing and walking 100% properly, you… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago
Reply to  Dona Collins

@Dona Collins,

I had my gait professionally evaluated about 10 years ago when I thought I was going to run a marathon (um, no) and they said that I was pronating in some inappropriate direction. But it’s a great idea to check again.

Sheryl
Sheryl
7 years ago

If I’m going to spend any substantial amount of money on something, whether it’s shoes or a purse or a coat, I expect it to be repairable. Some items are worth paying for the quality and repair, and I try to buy things with that in mind. Tall or heeled boots? Great black pumps? I’m willing to spend a little more upfront and go in with the understanding that I’ll be having them repaired for years to come. On the other hand, trendy items like colourful or embellished ballet flats or a clutch for going out I’ll go super cheap… Read more »

Kai Jones
Kai Jones
7 years ago

My favorite save was a pair of black Mary Jane-style work shoes that had hook-and-loop tape closures. After several years those hook-and-loop tapes no longer worked, and the straps pulled open when I walked.

I brought them to the cobbler and we discussed options. In the end I had the cobbler craft a new strap punched to fit a new buckle attached to the shoes, which extended the wear of those shoes a few more years (along with new insoles and regular polishing).

Peach
Peach
7 years ago

Good post–and it brings back memories. Our family believed in fixing things instead of replacing them if at all possible. We went to the shoe repair place (there was a name for what they did, I can’t remember it) and had taps put on new shoes to make them last longer. They also repaired soles and heels. They used to make a good living, but the tide turned when so many people started wearing athletic shoes a lot of the time. Some of the stores closed. It’s good to hear there are some still in business.

Julie @ Freedom 48
Julie @ Freedom 48
7 years ago

What a great idea! It’s never even occurred to me to have my shoes repaired rather than replacing them. Since the sole/heel wears out the fastest – why not have them repaired? However, I did visit a shop once to have a pair leather shoes stretched when they were too small for me.

tansy
tansy
7 years ago

In Seattle, the Nordstrom store will clean and shine men’s shoes for free, if you drop them off. I also love their shoe shine stand — I think it’s $3 for shoes, $5 for boots. It is such a treat to have my shoes shined (I’m a woman btw) and it helps them last longer. As winter comes to an end, I take my fall/winter leather shoes and boots in for a service. Cleaning, new heels as needed, etc. Then they’re ready to go the following year. These aren’t repair stories, but I owned both a coffee maker and a… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
7 years ago

Shoe repair is getting hard to find? Not in my neighborhoods, work or home. I think I know why – I live and work in two Brooklyn neighborhoods that are very heavily populated by immigrants. My home is in a neighborhood that is now maybe 3/4 fairly recent immigrants from the old Soviet Union countries – Belarus, Ukrraine, etc. My job is surrounded by mixed neighborhoods, from a wealthy Orthodox Jewish area to poor Haitian or Dominican immigrants. Believe me, both my Caribbean neighbors & my East European neighbors know how to fix stuff. There are several excellent shoe and… Read more »

Marcella
Marcella
7 years ago

The problem I have with really good shoes is sweating into these during summer, which ultimately ends up ruining them. I wear women’s leather flats, of many kinds and styles. I treat them with leather conditioner before wearing, but on a really hot summer day, if I have walked around outside in them, they are wet with sweat by the end of the day. Eventually this starts smelling gross and I have to throw them out. I have tried odor eater insoles (but this only protects the inners, the sides still get sweaty), as well as the powder, but then… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Marcella

Stuff them with wadded up newspaper. It dries them out, takes away the smell and helps them keep their shape. Under the circumstances, I would change the paper out a couple of times and have them dry out for a couple of days.

Note: this does NOT work with electronic versions of the newspaper!

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Marcella

You can also ask your dermatologist about treatment for excessive sweating. Some people put antiperspirant on their feet.

My Financial Independence Journey
My Financial Independence Journey
7 years ago

Professional shoe repair is a great idea. I got some shoes resoled last year. I saved a $200 pair of shoes with a $50 fix. Had I not done that I would have had to buy a new pair entirely, which at this point in time would have probably cost me in excess of $200.

kleurplaten
kleurplaten
7 years ago

One of the most important things is to have very good shoes 🙂

cheapbarb
cheapbarb
7 years ago

Thanks so much for this post, Honey. Shoe repair and I go way back. I had a a pair of black pumps once nicknamed “the tanks” because they just kept going through everything. Some athletic shoes can have new soles glued on- just take them in and ask the cobbler. Another thing I try to always do is buy new shoes from a merchant with an unlimited return policy. Nordstrom, LL Bean, REI, Altrec, Sierra Trading Post and Kohl’s all have great return policies. I’ve returned shoes to all of them but but Kohl’s, but I’ve been told they have… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
7 years ago

Yay, shoe repair! Not only do I send my shoes to cobblers when they run into problems, I also send new shoes (particularly heels) in to get half-soled with thin rubber before I wear them. This extends their lives considerably. My greatest make-do-and-mend achievement was replacing the worn-out elastic on the fitted sheet part of a set of 600-thread count sheets which I had bought for a song when a store closed. They’re wonderful, and there’s no way I could afford to replace them with anything nearly as good, so I instead figured out how to replace the elastic. I… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
7 years ago

After arriving in Bangkok a few years ago I realized that my fairly new sneakers were coming away on the sole. Because I am a cheap budget traveler, the last thing I wanted to do at the beginning of the trip was spend my travel money on new shoes. Fortunately there was a shoe repair man by the nearby Skytrain station. He glued the sole back on my shoe and they lasted for the rest of the trip. When I was back in town a month later I waved out to him and thanked him again and showed him my… Read more »

Meghan
Meghan
7 years ago

I love the shoe cobbler! I don’t buy all high quality shoes (some are flat slip ons from Payless that I get on the B1 G1 1/2 off deal) but when I buy boots or heels, they definitely get taken to the cobbler. Usually, by the time shoes feel awesome to wear, I’ve worn the soles out!

@pfinMario
@pfinMario
7 years ago
Reply to  Meghan

I’ve found that through normal maintenance (like wiping off salt and snow) I can turn those cheap shoes into high quality shoes that usually last as long as the other ones

Deb
Deb
7 years ago

Because of the way I walk, I put extra weight on the heel tips of high heel shoes. On slippery floors, even new shoes would actually slide out from under me. The cheap plastic tips would get very slick and not grip. And the loud noise the hard tips would make! Clack clack clack.

For $5-$8 the local cobbler would glue super hard rubber tips to my heels: problem solved. It was the first place I went after buying new shoes.

Leah
Leah
7 years ago

My local cobbler has fixed my beloved Danskos multiple times. I too wear my heels unevenly. It had gotten so bad my knees were starting to ache. I finally realized the issue when I saw my shoe sitting on its side. After getting repaired, my knee issues went away! My husband just used a fire extinguisher yesterday in his good suit at work. Worse yet, he had to use his elbow to bust the glass to get to the fire extinguisher, and he has a little rip in the elbow. He took the suit to the cleaners. Fingers crossed that… Read more »

jxm
jxm
7 years ago

It’s very seldom that I throw anything away without attempting to repair/refurbish/repurpose it first. I’ve gotten new life out of too many things to name.

My favorite: turning bicycle handlebars into a compound bow, anyone? I was 11. *pew pew*

@pfinMario
@pfinMario
7 years ago

I wait for the buy-one-get-one-half-off special at a discount shoe store and buy my work shoes for $20 for the first set (what you paid to repair shoes) and then $10 for the second set. My daily work shoes usually last one year if not a it more. When that one year is up, I could do as you did and pay $20 to repair them, but I just switch to the second set. When the second set is worn, I could spend $40 to repair both sets, or I could just spend $30 to get another two pairs. The… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago
Reply to  @pfinMario

@pfinMario, I probably paid $50 or less for my shoes well over 5 years ago. With the $20 I invested in them, they will probably last at least another 5 years. They are not stylish at all, just basic black work shoes.

I’ve bought the super-cheapie ones before, but they make my feet hurt. Better to invest in ones that are still super cheap in the end but don’t cause me any pain!

Kelly
Kelly
7 years ago

Love this article! I totally agree that restoring shoes is the way to go and I love my cobbler! I hate breaking in new heels, and by that time, my heel cap is always run down.

I recently bought these heel caps that you can stick over your heels. They’re a great temporary fix to get you through the day/week. Everyone should carry them in their purse. It’s important to keep your shoes in good shape especially when they’re your favorite, go-to, black pair!!!

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