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My first shoes with Topy put on

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by IBJanky, May 4, 2010.

  1. holymadness

    holymadness Senior member

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    Guess again. Flush mounted metal taps aren't as common/readily available in N.A. as they are in Europe, but some do offer it. Nick V./B. Nelson's version of the tap/topy combo:
    Ah, good news. They are hard to find, however.


    Ron ron ron.
     
  2. Wes Bourne

    Wes Bourne Senior member

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    Ah, good news. They are hard to find, however.

    Word. Do you get yours done at Atelier Catellan, as shown here?
     
  3. holymadness

    holymadness Senior member

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    Word. Do you get yours done at Atelier Catellan, as shown here?
    No, I got them done by the cobbler across the street from my office for convenience's sake. He did a good job with the shoes I gave him, though he prefers to use nails rather than screws. So far, no complaints.
     
  4. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I'll say adieu. It's just too painful to see you gentlemen ruining -- and yes, that's only my interpretation -- your shoes.
     
  5. TheBlackBruceWayne

    TheBlackBruceWayne Senior member

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    a shoe salesman asked if i wanted him to fit a rubber sole to my shoe before i buy it....is this what he meant??
     
  6. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This debate has been discussed many times in this forum. It really comes down to personal preference.

    Some no matter what, prefer walking on and the look of leather. Breath-ability has no impact. Nor does flexibility or balance. I never lost a debate with a maker regarding said.

    So, these comments regard economics only:

    I am using averages here. Everybody's different.

    Generally, sole guards last twice as long as a 9-10 iron leather sole. Assume it takes you a year to wear out a pair of leather soles. If you were using sole guards it would take two years to wear them out. Factor in the cost of replacing the leather soles and time if you are sending them back to the maker. Maybe bringing them to a shoddy repair shop that may screw them up. Compare that to every other year replacing the sole guard at less than half the price of a new sole. Also almost any repair shop can do this without error. Do the math, if a shoe lasts 20 years what is the difference in terms of the cost factor? Add the other benefits of sole guards. To me the overall value is incomparable.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. ProfessorShak

    ProfessorShak Senior member

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    Thank you for chiming in Nick. After getting my first sole guards the other day, I may just bring the rest of my shoes in. [​IMG]

    I think the only shoe I wouldn't guard is my black captoe, which is for when I'm suited for serious times.
     
  8. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    This debate has been discussed many times in this forum. It really comes down to personal preference.

    Nick,

    i haven't worn out leather soles in years. i have, depending on the season, around ten pairs in rotation.

    i've worn out "topyed" soles after 3 - 5 wearings. no issues after i replaced them with leather.

    do you have any idea on this?
     
  9. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Nick,

    i haven't worn out leather soles in years. i have, depending on the season, around ten pairs in rotation.

    i've worn out "topyed" soles after 3 - 5 wearings. no issues after i replaced them with leather.

    do you have any idea on this?


    I have no reason to doubt your claim other than to say this:

    I my 33 years of expierence I have never heard a claim even remotely close to your's.
    Therefore, I must assume that something is wrong.
    Here are some posibilities:

    1. Inferior products were used.
    Many people refer to ALL sole guards as Topy. Topy is only a brand of sole guards. Some shop owners buy cheaper/inferior brands of sole guards and pass them on as Topy's because they know the public's image is that a sole guard is a Topy. The reality is that a Topy is a sole guard. Topy did such a good job "branding" their name that in these cases they are actually hurting themselves by creating a situation that shady operators are taking advantage of.

    It's like refering to all bar soaps as Ivory. There is only one Ivory and that's Ivory.

    2. Inferior Workmanship/materials.
    If the sole guard was not applied properly it will wear out quickly. For example, inferior cements will not allow for a tight bond, causing delamination and quick wear.
    Not using enough pressure to attach the sole guard to the sole will result the same way. So would not allowing the cement to "set" properly.

    3. The product is not being used for it's intended purpose.
    One of the purposes of sole guards is to prolong the life of the sole.
    I see it nearly every day, a customer will come in and say some other shop put this piece of crap on and it wore out after a few uses. When I press down in the center of the sole it's so soft, you can almost put your thumb through it. That means the customer needed a new pair of soles instead, the shop applied a sole guard. That's like putting a piece of tape over a cut that needs stitches. If your soles are soft from wear don't waste your money on sole guards. That's not what they are intended for and they will wear out quickly.

    4. Your enviorment.
    Sole guards do not hold up well in enviorments where heavy detergents and or petrolium products are being used. Those chemicals tend to break down the sole guard material and cement used to apply it.

    So Fritzl....if none of the above was the case for you, here is what I am willing to do:
    I see you are located in Austria. If you are willing to pay the postage I will put on a pair of Vibram sole guards free of charge. When you get them back take a picture of them. Take another picture after 3 or 4 wearings. If they broke down at that point, I will forward this discusion to one of the top people at Vibram, post his comments and see what he will do for us. Plus at no charge, except freight, I will do a full re-craft using JR leather for you. Only one stipulation, that is the shoes you send me must have a firm sole on them. This way we are testing a product designed for it's entended use.

    Again, I am not doubting your experience. I just have a hunch you were done wrong.
     
  10. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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    ^ Nick, that was an outstanding post. Very generous offer to Fritzl too.
     
  11. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    I have no reason to doubt your claim other than to say this:

    I my 33 years of expierence I have never heard a claim even remotely close to your's.
    Therefore, I must assume that something is wrong.

    So Fritzl....if none of the above was the case for you,

    Again, I am not doubting your experience. I just have a hunch you were done wrong.


    Nick,

    thank you for taking your time. imo, a lot of people can learn from this description.

    i will think about your offer. it's wonderful.

    n.y. is a long time favorite on my travel wishlist, so it's not impossible, i can make it in 2010.

    perusing through all the jobs done on my shoes, i find a little bit of everything you mentioned. some was on my side, some maybe on the other side. actually, the few remaining "problem childs" are built back with leather soles.
     
  12. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    I'm in favor of topy/vibram sole coverings. In my experience, they make shoes a little more versatile, safer on slippery floors/sidewalks etc., and quieter. Regarding being quieter, my wife (bless her patient sole for putting up with all my shoes) would often remark how my shoes were loud on our home's hardwood floors such that they'd wake up the baby or annoy the nanny downstairs; topys nearly eliminate that issue. One other thing I've noticed -- with topys, I can come home from the office and head right out to the yard to throw around the football or baseball with my sons without changing shoes. Leather-soled shoes are much more slippery on grass, even when it's dry.

    Finally, the top-end makers are not averse to installing these at the factory -- I've got Saint Crispins and EGs with factory-installed rubber soles (SC uses Vibram). Check out the EG Thames sole too -- it's excellent.
     
  13. epa

    epa Senior member

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    I only have one pair of leather sole shoes that haven't got their topies on yet. Why? I just bought it, and after reading a lot of hate against topies in other threads, I decided to wait a year or so before having the topies put on, and try to see if I notice any difference. So far, no difference noticed, except the visual one when I look on the soles. I haven't worn them in wet weather yet.
    For us that give our shoes a lot of use, topies are great, I think. Preserve the shoes, make them less slippery in wet weather, and I cannot really see any drawbacks.
     
  14. epa

    epa Senior member

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    I was waiting for someone to chime in with this comment. When speaking to my grandfather about shoes, a man who believes in the benefits of the topy, he would always qualify his praise of topy'ed shoes by stating that you can't dance in them.

    Guess dancing is as common as it used to be.


    I have done ballroom dancing with plastic/rubber soleguards. Never notices any problem. I don't know about vibram, but most soleguards I have used do not seem to have a very high friction coefficient.
     
  15. D Yizz

    D Yizz Senior member

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    My cobbler doesnt use Topy brand, but a brand I cant remember. I've resoled several of my shoes with rubber guards as a precautionary measure, but only after I've worn the leather sole to a certain level. So far, he's done a great job. My problem is not with the soles, but with the heels, since I dont wear them evenly. My solution has been to add heelcaps (called horseshoes over here, ugh) or else replace the heels every few months.
     
  16. spertia

    spertia Senior member

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    Do any shoes come with Topy soles to begin with?

    I had a pair of StefanoBi shoes (bought secondhand) with Topy soles, and I always assumed that the original owner had put the Topy on. However, I recently saw an identical pair of shoes for sale, and they also had the exact same Topy soles applied in precisely the same way (this was before I resold mine, mind you). Could be a coincidence, but it really made me wonder if the shoes had come from the factory that way.
     
  17. Prince of Paisley

    Prince of Paisley Senior member

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    Looks good Myke. Your cobbler did a good job.

    Leather soles do not "breathe", offer less traction and look ugly after wear. I have two pairs of shoes topy'd from Nick at B Nelson. There is no good cobbler in this dinky little town where I live. If I had access to someone like B Nelson, I'll topy all my shoes without a doubt. Resoling/Recrafting is expensive and topy considerably prolongs the life of the soles. I don't know why there is even a goddamn debate on SF/AAAC about the benefits of topy.


    I'm not saying that you're wrong, but my experience has been that my leather shoes start to "smell" more after I have them topied. I have pretty sweaty feet, and live in a hot country; the conclusion I drew was that the topies affected the breathability, as I don't have the same issue with shoes that I have left with an unprotected leather sole.
     
  18. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Forgive me Father, for I have sinned ... and more than a simple venial sin. I have dedicated a pair of shoes to receive the infamous topy. But ... but ... so many of these men do it ... they can't all be evil ... can they?
     
  19. Politely

    Politely Well-Known Member

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    i've worn out "topyed" soles after 3 - 5 wearings. no issues after i replaced them with leather.

    Have to agree with Nick. I put vibram on all my shoes, and after many years, have never seen it wear out that fast. Once, I did encounter peeling, probably because the glue was insufficient, but my cobbler quickly fixed it without charge. But given your experience, I can understand why you'd be opposed. On my favorite shoes, I have to replace the vibram about once a year, but only because I wear out the toe area at a ridiculous rate, otherwise, the wear is barely noticeable.

    With respect to the other negative comments, I've carefully tried shoes for an extended period both with and without the vibram soles, and I really haven't noticed a difference. I can't speak for topy soles, but in my experience with vibram:
    - it does not feel like a rubber soled shoe;
    - the shoe sounds about the same as a leather soled shoe (but I'm a heavy heel striker so you can hear me coming anyway);
    - there is much less slippage than a new leather sole and in the rain, but under normal walking conditions (after the leather sole gets sufficiently scuffed) they feel about the same;
    - I have not noticed any extra odor;
    - I have not noticed any extra flex or stiffness;
    - it does not look like a rubber soled shoe from the side, and I think the vibram actually looks better than worn leather, especially over time.

    Here's a couple pictures from a year old pair of shoes, which had vibram applied as soon as I got them. I probably wear them a couple times a month.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    But given your experience, I can understand why you'd be opposed.

    long story short: i am not opposed. it just didn't work. heaven knows why.

    funnily, i have a pair with vibram, which i thrifted. it's going strong since years.
     

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