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Shoe soles and heels

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello Friends:

I am curious about the different levels of quality I should be looking for when replacing my soles and heels when visiting the shoe maker. Of course the shoe maker will say that the soles are from Italy etc., but I am concerned that I may not be getting the best or something that will last even longer. What questions do I need to ask and what should I look for in a name? Ditto for heels. Any comments regarding clickers (heel and toe protectors)?

post #2 of 11
Ask for »Rendenbach« soles and heels.
They are the best and the longest lasting.
post #3 of 11
Regarding sole protection:

I find my heels and toes wear very quickly, but I can't handle the thick plastic half moon cobblers hammer onto the sole. I went to a shoemakers supply here in NY and got very tough 2 mm thick sole rubber, which I glue to the high-wear areas of the heel and toe. The sole remains bare leather. I can barely feel it when walking, and I'm no longer in danger of burning through the toe in 5 wearings.

Some people install noisy metal taps, some get plastic taps beveled into the sole (not cheap), some get the entire sole covered with very thin rubber (i.e. Topy brand), and some nail on the thick plastic half moons. For a do-it-yourselfer, localized thin rubber works very well.
post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by Octoploid
Ask for »Rendenbach« soles and heels.
They are the best and the longest lasting.

That would be great, but the average cobbler probably won't stock that. Instead, see if they still have any stock left from's gone out of business, but there's still lots of great sole material from them floating around. If you're in North America, the Westan leather will give you about 90-95% of the Rendenbach's performance at probably half the price.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Your guys are the best! This forum never ceases to impress me. I will call around and see what the shoemakers are stocking in my city. If I can find what I'm looking for then i will include the information you supplied in my newsletter that I send out.

post #6 of 11
I forgot to add that, because Westan is now defunct, some cobblers are purchasing soles from an Australian tannery that are supposed to be about as good. I can't find the name, though.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok. If anyone has the name, please fire away...
post #8 of 11
Billiebob, Would you mind sharing the location of NYC shoe repair supply?

Myself, I prefer the thin rubber pad glued to the leather sole. I use nothing on the heels of my shoes. When the heel starts to show significant wear I have just the lower part of the heel replaced with a new piece of rubber. I am not sure if that's possible in really high end shoes or if you would need to replace the whole heel.
I find that taps upset my balance and drive me nuts while walking. I know some people are not bothered by them.
post #9 of 11
I think there's a real opportunity for someone to offer a "paint on" solution of carbon rubber that can be applied to the soles.
post #10 of 11
I get shoe supplies from this place. Their hours are not normal, so you should call ahead. It's wholesale only, so they expect you know precisely what you want and some terminology like the units of sole thickness. I told them I'm a student. As you walk in, the sheets of soling material are on the left. The thinnest stuff is around 2.5 mm, which is great for protecting toes. Barge cement keeps them in place well.

Kaufman Shoe Repair Supplies
(212) 777-1700
346 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
1.1 mi NE - Directions
post #11 of 11
All soles and heels are certainly not alike, as you know. When I flip over a pair of my Edward Greens, the soles look like rough sandpaper (with hundreds of tiny leather fibers sticking out, and undoubtendly coming off with walking). On the other hand, my Vass soles are always smooth and seem to show virtually no wear. Perhaps the Vass soles aren't as foregiving (soft) as EGs, but they'll certainly wear alot longer than the EGs.
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