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Did my cobbler ruin my AE Strands from stretching?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by wookinpanub52, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. wookinpanub52

    wookinpanub52 Member

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    My walnut AE Strands were just a little tight around the ball of my feet so I took them to a cobbler to get them stretched. When I recieved them I noticed a few things. First is that the color of the leather around the stretched area is discolored and lighter than what it was before and does not match the rest of the shoe exactly. That same area also appears to look more "aged" now than the rest of the shoe the leather grain or creases are much more visible now. The leather around that area also appears to be much "thinner" as well. Lastly, there is an unsightly crease just above the heel on one of the shoes.

    My biggest concern is the discoloration and the "aged" look of the leather. Is this a common thing to happen when stretching shoes? If so I would have never done it to begin with. Can it be fixed? Thank you all for your help!

    Here are some pics. It's not as bad in the photos but it's much more noticeable in person.

    [​IMG]

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  2. atila

    atila Senior member

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    That stretch near the heel looks terrible, wow.
     
  3. southbound35

    southbound35 Senior member

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    Not sure I'd say they're ruined, but that's definitely an unfortunate outcome.

    I'd say the nature of the full brogue shoe makes it a bad candidate for stretching since you're not going to get an even stretch across areas that are partly stitched and partly not stitched. As has happened with your shoe, the non-stitched area stretched while the stitched areas did not. Since the stitched area curves into the non-stitch area, the non-stitch area will naturally follow the shape of the stitched area.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  4. md2010

    md2010 Senior member

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    They are not ruined. Just use some conditioner and polish them.
     
  5. wookinpanub52

    wookinpanub52 Member

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    I will absolutely try this. Thanks for the reply. I hope this works out!

    This makes perfect sense. I never really thought about it this way. No one really mentions anything about this when the topic of stretching shoes comes up but it's a good thing to know. Thanks
     
  6. Mr. Moo

    Mr. Moo Senior member

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  7. Joker Man

    Joker Man Senior member

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    Shoes don't stretch so get the right size next time. He soaked the shoe in alcohol to stretch it and discoloured it. Bad luck, nothing you can do.
     
  8. anginaprinzmetal

    anginaprinzmetal Senior member

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    ^ +1
     
  9. Joker Man

    Joker Man Senior member

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    Give them to goodwill aqnd get a pair that fits next time.
     
  10. papa kot

    papa kot Senior member

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    I think you need wider shoes. Judging by the description of the problem and the look of gap between the laces in the pictures, now you'll end up with less than comfortable shoes that will look odd... Sorry man, but the last used for those shoes is the narrowest AE offers. Should have read the forums (and the reviews on AE's site)...
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  11. wookinpanub52

    wookinpanub52 Member

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    Yeah, the worst of it is that they were only a little narrow and I didn't really need them widened. I've done my share of reading and most of what seen is that stretching shoes is not a problem and can can be done easily by any cobbler. I guess I missed the posts that say the process itself could damage the shoe so much. Had I known I would not have even tried it. Lesson learned, albeit an expensive one.

    EDIT:
    And they aren't bad to the point that I will buy a new pair. I'll still wear them and just live with the fact that my heart will sink every time I look down at my feet. :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The truth is that you are playing Russian Roulette anytime you ask a cobbler to stretch your shoes. There is little or no way to gauge how much the shoe is being stretched relative to how much is needed. Nor any way to accurately position the stretching tools to stretch only one specific area.

    And what do you tell the cobbler? "Stretch them a little here and a lot there"? What is "a little" or "a lot?" What does it mean? What does it mean to you...what does it mean to the cobbler?

    If you had the original last and could alter it and then slip it back in the shoe (or even better, relast the shoe) it could be done exactly right, but without the last...even the fancy new stretching machines are crude affairs and only roughly approximate the interior of the most generic shoes.

    Beyond that the leather has been stretched during lasting...sometimes to or near its limits...and the surplus trimmed off. Where does the extra leather come from to stretch a shoe larger than it was when finished and new? Only by moistening the leather...often with alcohol based solutions...can the fibers of the leather be loosened enough to stretch and slide. Any transient finish/colour such as stains or polishes are often casualties of stretching fluids and stretching procedures.

    And since the leather has already been stretched (during lasting) any additional stretching is bound to stress the leather in some way. At best, making it marginally less plump.

    Leather can be stretched successfully but to the extent it is done after the fact, so to speak, it is always fraught with problems and consequences...always a risk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  13. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I understand what DWFII wrote. I agree w/his comments in many cases, He is correct. The typical cobbler will grab an old wooden stretcher, insert it into the shoe and blast the shoe.
    That can cause damage. The way I view it is, the shoes should be eased rather than blasted. In order to do this it's more of a process, and may have to be repeated.
    Very effective if done that way. No damage done.
    Here is what we use:
    http://www.shoesystemsplus.com/cam80stretcher.htmle:
    Most reputable cobblers will use something along the same lines.
     
  14. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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