Friday, 27 December 2013

Shoes: To Fix or Not

These Choos are NOT made for walking: The designer shoes that look old and tatty after one day's wear.
- Joanne Hegarty,  Mail Online, August 15, 2011

I certainly did NOT experience the extent of the problems that Joanne Hegarty and friends did in the article about the delicate nature of designer shoes but after an afternoon reception I did come away with damage that I personally did not even realize happened. 

Jimmy Choo heel tip. Photo by JoyD
Jimmy Choo heel tip. Photo by JoyD
The Jimmy Choos I bought in 2011 have served me well until I went to an outdoor wedding reception in Germany last summer. The heel tip was gone and I was walking on the metal "nail". The leather was pulled back on the heel and lifting from worse to slight almost halfway up the heel. I couldn't wear them and so I began searching to see if I could get them fixed. I emailed Jimmy Choo customer service and a person responded quickly and efficiently with a shoe repair reference in New York state. I was in France at the time and was returning to Canada. With that information, the Choo advisor suggested I take them back to where I bought them. When I came back to Canada, I explored both alternatives but needed some time to ponder whether the cost and effort would be worth it for a pair of shoes, already over two years old. With the information I collected, I came to the reality that I probably would just buy a new pair rather than pay return shipping and repair and heel replacement fees. At the very least my research revealed that they were fixable. I was talking about my dilemma to my friend Sharon over lunch and she suggested that I try a new local shoe repair service whose work is "fabulous"! 

This new "shoemaker" was from Romania and performed a small miracle for no more than the cost of a new pair of heel tips, less than $15.00 (Cdn). I was relieved, appreciative and certainly confident that she could repair just about anything I would take to her. 

Shoe Advice: 

No matter the brand name, the more delicate the shoe (such as a strappy sandal with a thin leather sole), the more necessary to have them re-soled before you actually wear them. You are not so much getting them re-soled but reinforcing the delicate leather sole with another leather sole. If you wait until after the original sole has worn, you may not be happy with a complete "re-soling" which may change the look in a more pronounced way than if you had them reinforced originally.

Black marks on light coloured patent can be removed with petroleum jelly and a little rubbing or if that doesn't work, non-acetone nail polish remover will remove the black marks if they are superficial and not "embedded".

Always use a protection spray on shoes and boots if there is the slightest chance that you will encounter moisture on leather soles. And when I write "moisture" I don't only mean a torrential downpour, I mean the dampness of a grassy lawn - those heels will sink and after a couple of hours of contact, the leather on the heel could very well lift and the heel tip compromised. Think of those heels soaking in wet soil for two hours. Walk on concrete steps after and the heel could encounter significant damage. Be careful and think twice before spending a lot of time on that lawn in heels - gardeners wear rubber clogs for a reason.

Going out for dinner is different than dancing all evening so choose different pairs for different purposes.

When encountering problems with designer shoes, return to the store where you bought them for advice, you will receive more specific pertinent information from the local retail outlet than the designer's website. For this reason, I will never buy designer shoes online but of course, that is a very personal choice.

Explore alternatives before throwing away a pair of shoes. You'd be surprised what a good cobbler can do!

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