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Adding a thin layer of rubber sole to leather-sole

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
As a New England resident without a car, I've been finding the leather soled shoes a bit fragile. I started wearing my first few pairs of leather soled shoes - I love the fit, absorption, and weight, but it kills me to walk through pavement and wet weather. Coming home to find them beaten up, a real disappointment. One day, when I'm chauffered around and never have to touch much pavement, I can see the point of leather soled shoes. But as a student in Connecticut and an analyst in New York who will commute through subway, tough for me to justify wearing the shoes that will break down so easily in the kind of condition I'll wear them in. Is it possible to have shoe repairmen add on a layer of rubber sole? What should I be careful of?
post #2 of 53
Yes, it is possible. Just go to a shoe repair place and they will do it; they will know exactly what you want. Also add taps to the toe or heel. That's all there is to it.
post #3 of 53
Yes, it's certainly doable. I had a pair of Topy (manufacturer's name) "half-soles" added to my shoes for about $25.
post #4 of 53
Would this be consdered as tampering by the brands which have a resoling program?
post #5 of 53
Quote:
Would this be consdered as tampering by the brands which have a resoling program?
With EG it certainly would
post #6 of 53
Not advisable to do so if the soles of the shoes are leather.    Leather is a skin with pores that needs to breathe.  The rubber layer has the potential for causing moisture buildup in the sole that can cause damage in the form of rotting.  In a worst-case scenario, the rotting can spread to other parts of the leather in the shoe.  Wouldn't take the chance, at least not with leather shoes of any worth.  You'll just end up a lost sole. Grayson
post #7 of 53
You can add a thin rubber sole to the bottom of the shoe. As mentioned earlier, the negative is that it will cut-down on the breathability of the leather sole which can cause a build-up of heat and moisture. I never had the problem with "rot", but I noticed a heat build-up. Suggestion # 1: Almost all of the major shoe brands have a dress model with a rubber sole which is suitable for rain days. Suggestion # 2: If you feel that the aforementioned shoes are not dressy enough for work, then keep a pair or two of leather soled shoes in your office. I have ten.
post #8 of 53
I think it's actually quite common for men to have topy's added to their shoes. I have them on a pair of Aldens I own, and they certainly make the shoes more versatile. They are double-soled cordovan boots, so I think of them as cold-weather shoes anyway, so excessive warmth isn't a concern. This is the first I've seen mention of "rot" too, though I suppose anything's possible. Isn't it just a thin rubber layer that's glued to the bottom of the shoe? That's all it appears to be with the Alden's I have. If that's the case, I don't know why Edward Green would care with respect to their refurbishment program as that wouldn't mess with the stitching, etc. In any case, a couple of things -- (i) search for "topy" using the search function - -searching both topic title AND text; and (ii) ask a good cobbler about how it's done, what his experience has been with customers getting them, etc.
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Isn't it just a thin rubber layer that's glued to the bottom of the shoe? That's all it appears to be with the Alden's I have. If that's the case, I don't know why Edward Green would care with respect to their refurbishment program as that wouldn't mess with the stitching, etc.
EG is probably more concerned with the fact that the owner allowed a cobbler unaffiliated with them and of unknown skills muck with the shoes. Many manufacturers (of shoes and of other things) have similar policies. There's been a significant amount of controversy here and on AA about adding rubber coatings to the bottoms of leather-soled shoes. I can't believe that the soles of leather-soled shoes are significantly more breathable without the rubber coating, and I can't really believe that a rubber coating will irreparably damage the shoes. In other words, I'm willing to believe RIDER and shoefan (I think) when they say that it's harmless when done correctly. It perhaps is worth noting that this is the standard procedure for Belgian Shoes: you buy them with a leather sole, wear them around for a while to scuff up the bottoms, and return them to the store for the addition of a rubber coating.
post #10 of 53
If you absolutely, positively must have a rubber layer glued to your leather soles, then an intelligent compromise would be to just have the rubber piece in the center part of the sole; don't do the entire sole. I made this mistake years ago, when I didn't know any better, and the toe eventually began to curl up and the leather soles buckled and were ruined, which was attributable to the trapped moisture. But, your individual mileage may vary. I just wouldn't do it with quality shoes. Simpler is better sometimes. Ultimately, I defer to the bespoke shoe makers who make for me, all of whom advise against the rubber thingee. Grayson
post #11 of 53
FWIW, at least some of the Vass shoes sold recently by Louis Boston came with rubber topy's already installed. A. Harris stated that Louis Boston ordered them this way from Vass, though I can't imagine why (it's no rainier in Boston than in NY is it?). Several of these new Vass with topy's were recently up for sale on Ebay.
post #12 of 53
seok: I feel your pain.  I burn through the soles of my leather shoes pretty fast.  I've tried all sorts of tricks -- from extra reinforcing nails to rubber heels and toes to steel -- and nothing has really worked.  It's especially painful to have to resole bespoke shoes with any frequency.  The cost is ... not low. I complained about this to Tony Gaziano of EG; not that it's his fault; I was more lamenting my fate.  Anyway, he suggested a thin rubber coating for the soles of my latest pair of bespoke shoes.  I don't have them yet, so I can't give an opinion as to comfort or durability.  He indicated to me that if I could live with it on aesthetic grounds, I would likely have no issues with the comfort, and certainly fewer durabilty problems.  We shall see.  If I hate it, he said it would be easy enough to remove.
post #13 of 53
Thread Starter 
Exactly my sentiments, Manton. I'll combine the recommendation to rubber sole the middle of the sole and add a toe cap. I'll try it with my lesser pair of leather soled shoes (Polo shoes off bluefly.com) and see how it goes...
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Would this be consdered as tampering by the brands which have a resoling program?
I purchased a used pair of EG Picadilly's last year for a fairly low price. The shoes had already been re-soled once by someone other than EG. I took a chance and contacted EG about having the shoes refurbished, and mentioned to them that the soles had been replaced at least once by a third party source. EG took the shoes and charged me their standard refurbishment fee (I want to say that it was 150 pounds, but I could be remembering wrong). They came back perfect. Given this, unless I caught them on an exceptionally good day, I have a hard time believing EG would turn away a shoe because a topy had been added to the sole. Regards, Jeff
post #15 of 53
I usually add a thin rubber sole to most of my leather soled shoes. My shoe guy who is Felix Shoe Repair in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. suggests that for a permanant bond between leather and rubber you have to apply when the leather soles are new. This will insure that you get a solid bond with no separation. He uses a selection of Pirelli rubber soles that I find to be the best.
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