Wednesday, October 04, 2017

If the shoe's fixed, wear it!

Two of my friends gave me two pairs of shoes that were too old and tattered for them to wear any more. They trusted that I'd be able to find good uses for them, so I couldn't let them down! The friends in question are actually husband and wife, so how fitting is it that I joined their two pairs of shoes in a matrimony of footwear!?


Exhibit A. very scruffy looking men's boot.

Exhibit B. A woman's flat shoe with the heel missing.

The men's shoe was pretty much useless to me (or so I thought...), so I had set it aside to take to the shoe recycling center at a grocery store near where I live. The women's shoe had a little bit more promise, but was hindered by two big problems: 
  1. The rubber heel tip had fallen off and disappeared (the one in the picture is the one I eventually used to repair it)
  2. It was a half-size too small for me!
 After shopping around futilely for a replacement heel tip (a.k.a "lift," a term that I didn't know before I started this project), I finally got the idea to steal the lift from the old men's boot. I was able to remove it with the aid of a flat-head screwdriver, then I cut it down to size with a pair of wire cutters (very difficult!), then I glued and nailed it to the women's shoe. Later on, the heel of the other women's shoe went missing, so I repaired it in much the same way, except I didn't bother with the nails.

It worked! I wore these shoes for a full day without either of the heel lifts falling off. They even went for a spin on my bicycle without being damaged by the pedals, which is something that happens to my shoes from time to time.

To fix the problem of the too-small fit, I did it the quick and dirty way. I snipped into the upper edge of the heel with a pair of wire cutters, to open it up a little for my foot. Now they have little notches in the top, but they no longer give me blisters!


Lessons learned from my first foray into the art of cobbling:

  • New shoe-repair rubber is ridiculously expensive—but old worn-out shoes are a perfect source for this material. Next time you're tempted to throw away a pair of shoes, maybe keep them with your craft supplies instead!
  • Shoe nails don't work on the type of plastic used in cheap heels.
  • Using wire cutters to shape the rubber for shoe soles is a terrible idea. What is a better tool? I'm not exactly sure yet, but I might try a utility knife next time around.
  • While shoe-stretching only works on real leather, it is possible to make a too-small pair of synthetics larger (if you don't mind damaging them) by cutting them at strategic points.
 As always, more pictures and more narrative can be found at my blog!

--The Unfashionista!


Eimear Greaney said...

years ago I fixed a few pairs of boots myself, one pair at the flapping sole with super glue, and taped overnight and the second I used a screw and on the inside to connect the upper to sole and covered screw head with some foam and then insole on top. If I cannot repair them myself, I will get them repaired as a repaired pair of shoes that are comfortable are worth way more than a new pair.

RanchHouse said...

Love your what I learned. That is so valuable.
Thanks for sharing.

Chickie Walsh said...

Very clever! What a fun project to try out.

Saga said...

Wow, I am impressed. I have a few shoes in my refashion closet, that I intended to fix, but I haven't gotten to it yet (summoned the courage). Your post is good motivation.

/EOD - Saga