advice on shoe damage, please

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by bjh, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. bjh

    bjh Active Member

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    I have two pairs of Alden cordovan shoes purchased at Brooks Brothers about three years ago. I take good care of my shoes (Edward Green, Alden cordovan, Vass) and so was surprised and dismayed to notice damage at the heal of the upper on one shoe (sorry, don't know the correct terminology). The leather seems to have split in two places along and close to stiched seams. This doesn't seem like a region under undue stress; my first guess is that this is the result of faulty workmanship. If so, should I complain to Brooks Brothers or Alden?

    Thank you for your comments and advice.

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  2. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Would you by any chance be in the habit of putting on your shoes without the aid of a shoehorn?
    Or, do you use a shoehorn but put the shoes on pre-laced?
    Either these shoes are alive and growing or you have possibly caused this damage. No other explaination comes to mind.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012


  3. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    are you serious about this? I wonder which kind of logic you used here... omg.

    good news - it can be repaired.
     


  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Putting your shoes on without a shoehorn can, I suppose, cause this kind of damage. But it would be rare and unusual unless the leather was really poor quality and/or the shoe didn't fit...to the point it was uncomfortable.

    More likely, the damage was there to begin with...when the shoes were new...and just wasn't noticed or was camouflaged by finishing techniques.

    IMO, the most likely reason for such damage is the last and the hinge incorporated in the last.

    The topline of the shoe is roughly an inch smaller in diameter than it is at the widest part of the heel--about an inch lower.

    A last must be "broken" open to be removed from the shoe. Some lasts actually get longer initially as the last is broken open. This can tear the back of the shoe, esp. at the dogtail, if the leather has been skived (thinned) or was weak in that area.

    Other lasts break in such a way that the last becomes shorter lengthwise. Expressly to avoid such damage. Years ago, such lasts were more common than they are today.

    The bad news is that repairs are inevitably clumsy and invariably short-lived.

    If this damage occurred in the factory...as I suspect it did...it went out the door as worse than a second. A competent quality control should have rejected it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012


  5. Kwaker

    Kwaker Senior member

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    I've seen the same damage on AE cordovan 2nds being sold on eBay. It is not that uncommon.
    If the initial damage occurred at the factory, then time and wear has brought it to this stage.
     


  6. bjh

    bjh Active Member

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    Thank you for your responses, gentlemen. I wouldn't dream of putting my shoes on without a shoehorn.
     


  7. bjh

    bjh Active Member

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    By the way, fritzl, I respect your appreciation of fine shoes, but my "kind of logic" is based on simple physics.
     


  8. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    well, from my personal experience this part of the shoe has the duty to hold your foot back from slipping out. if this doesn't mean tension than i stand corrected.
     


  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    After the shoe comes off the last, why would there be tension there? Tension would mean tightness/stress on the foot. It should be snug, true enough. There should be no extra space behind the heel, for certain. But tension is something else.

    Using a shoe horn applies a certain amount of tension simply because it is an extra layer/extra thickness behind the heel. But that's why shoe horns are made of thin horn or metal.

    Once the foot is in the shoe, it is the shape of the heel of the shoe combined with the oblique pressure of the laces that holds the foot in.
     


  10. bjh

    bjh Active Member

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    Well said, DWFII. Nothing like the quiet authority of an expert.
     


  11. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    glad your problem is solved. congrats.
     


  12. bjh

    bjh Active Member

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    I'm happy to report that today I exchanged the flawed shoes for new cordovan captoes in color no. 8 at Brooks Brothers, 346 Madison Avenue, NYC. They tried first a repair, with the agreement that they would exchange if I found the repair cosmetically inadequate. Well, just as DWFII said, the repair was "inevitably clumsy." They immediately agreed to the exchange. Maria Germer, the Shoe Specialist (in the business for 34 years and who wears Alden cordovans in a size six) was a pleasure. I left the store pleased with my new shoes and grateful for DWFII's help. Thank you, sir.

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  13. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Congratulations. What amazes me is that you sucessfully traded your 3 yr old pair for a brand new pair. I wonder how long Aldens warranty or guarantee lasts? If so I would like to trade in my 966's for a pair of whiskey shell longwings and pay the difference (rubbing hands together*wishful thinking).
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012


  14. Shikar

    Shikar Senior member

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    WOW, now thats standing behind your product!!:slayer:

    Regards.
     


  15. 89826

    89826 Senior member

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    That shows Brooks's goodwill. Their motto is that more or less the customer is always right. Alden, not so much.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012


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