I have written about our feet and their needs, I have written about the types of good shoes and why it is worth the extra money to buy custom handmade shoes. It is now time to talk about how to take care of your shoes. (Past articles available at http://ashland.oregon.localsguide.com )
I have discovered over the past ten years that the majority of people don’t understand what services are available for shoe repair, or that their item is even repairable. According to the Shoe Service Institute of America (SSIA), “quality, well-maintained men’s shoes can be resoled seven to ten times. With new soles and heels, and reconditioned uppers, the shoes will look close to new, yet retain that broken-in, comfortable feel. It is not uncommon for a man to get 30 years out of a good pair of shoes. Quality women’s shoes can be resoled three to five times, also lasting many years.” The list of items that can be repaired is long, and includes: Purses, leather coats, backpacks, luggage, tents, horse tack, car accessories, baseball gloves, sports equipment and the list could go on and on.
Repair services include: Soling of shoes & boots, replacing heels, stretching, repairing rips, Velcro/elastic replacement, sewing seams, shining, cleaning, waterproofing, re-coloring, repairing or replacing zippers, orthopedic adjustments or lifts and again, the list could go on and on. Repairing items is an Earth friendly cost saving practice, in fact, according to the SSIA, “shoe repair is among the oldest forms of recycling. Each year, the shoe repair industry keeps million of pairs of shoes and other items out of landfills and on consumers’ feet, or in their possession.” New shoes can have protective soles placed over the new sole, providing protection for the sole and allowing for the protective sole to be replaced indefinitely without stressing the shoe during repair. This type of preventative repair can triple the life of a shoe, and is less expensive than a traditional sole.
People will often ask if I think their shoes are worth the price of repair. This is a hard question for me to answer, as the value of footwear or accessories to the owner goes far beyond the original purchase price. It involves the current replacement price, if the item can even be replaced, the current comfort of the item, sentimental value and is a replacement going to be of the same quality as the original. An additional factor involves the fact that the replacement components used in the repair, are often higher quality than the original components, i.e. soles. This means a repaired item could be of higher quality after the repair than a replacement item due to the quality of the replaced components.
Join me next month for Shoe Repair 201, but meanwhile take care of your shoes, because, if you care about your teeth or what you eat, you should care about your feet.
Dan has been in and around shoe repair and retail shoes for over 40 years. His parent owned both a shoe repair/retail shoe store and operated a licensed vocational school teaching shoe repair. The Shulters family has been repairing shoes since 1947.