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My first shoes with Topy put on

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

  1. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    At this point in the discussion I'll open the can of worms:
    Vibram produces out of more than one factory. The one's I use are strictly the one's made in Italy. I never had a problem with them. I insist on them. By far New York's largest supplier to my industry is Kaufman. He doesn't sell Topy and, he won't. I understand why. Here's an example. A few years ago the owner of Topy came into my shop and offered to sell me direct. I declined because my supplier has always done right by me. As long as he continues to do that I will continue to be loyal to him. A few months ago I received a postcard from Topy stating their products are now available at Kaufman. When I called him to inquire he told me they do not and, that post card was sent without his permission. I see this as an underhanded attempt to strong arm him into selling Topy. Topy has done a good job promoting and marketing themselves. The way I see it they are trying to conner the market. Given my experience in their business approach I prefer not to deal with them. If they succeeded in cornering the market I'm concerned that prices would increase. What impact would that have on my relationship with my customers?
    I'LL pass.........
     
  2. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    At this point in the discussion I'll open the can of worms: ...

    a man after my heart. well done, nick
     
  3. Kazou

    Kazou Senior member

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    Wow Nick, interesting. Thanks for that tidbit. Cutthroat businesses everywhere!
     
  4. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

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    I have tried both the thinner vibrams and the thicker ribbed ones. Both performed well and I see no reason to change.
     
  5. wysiwyg

    wysiwyg Senior member

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    I have a pair of AE's that I'd like to preserve. Is there any point in using their recrafting service or resoling the shoes in general if I go the Topy/Vibram route? I assume if the rubber wears through they can just be replaced at the local cobbler without touching the original leather.
     
  6. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I have a pair of AE's that I'd like to preserve. Is there any point in using their recrafting service or resoling the shoes in general if I go the Topy/Vibram route? I assume if the rubber wears through they can just be replaced at the local cobbler without touching the original leather.

    Correct, thats one of the advantages.
     
  7. Fishball

    Fishball Senior member

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    At this point in the discussion I'll open the can of worms:
    Vibram produces out of more than one factory. The one's I use are strictly the one's made in Italy. I never had a problem with them. I insist on them. By far New York's largest supplier to my industry is Kaufman. He doesn't sell Topy and, he won't. I understand why. Here's an example. A few years ago the owner of Topy came into my shop and offered to sell me direct. I declined because my supplier has always done right by me. As long as he continues to do that I will continue to be loyal to him. A few months ago I received a postcard from Topy stating their products are now available at Kaufman. When I called him to inquire he told me they do not and, that post card was sent without his permission. I see this as an underhanded attempt to strong arm him into selling Topy. Topy has done a good job promoting and marketing themselves. The way I see it they are trying to conner the market. Given my experience in their business approach I prefer not to deal with them. If they succeeded in cornering the market I'm concerned that prices would increase. What impact would that have on my relationship with my customers?
    I'LL pass.........


    Nick,

    May I ask why you just use Italian Vibram not US?
    BTW, I bought my JR sole and toplift from Kaufman too, they are nice guys. [​IMG]
    I bought Vibram US directly from the factory. Vibram Italy via Singapore.
     
  8. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Nick,

    May I ask why you just use Italian Vikram not US?
    BTW, I bought my JR sole and top lift from Kaufman too, they are nice guys. [​IMG]
    I bought Vikram US directly from the factory. Vikram Italy via Singapore.



    We use several style Vibram sole guards. By far, the most popular style for men's shoes is the 2337. Several years ago a few pair came back because the sole guard was de-laminating from the sole at the toe. When I inquired, I was told that some were made in the U.S. and some were made in Italy. My supplier was awaiting a shipment from Italy and was using the U.S. made until the Italian made arrived. From that point on I have always used the Italian made. No more issues.
     
  9. wysiwyg

    wysiwyg Senior member

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    Around how much should I expect to pay a cobbler to put on Vibram or another material?
     
  10. talldesk

    talldesk Well-Known Member

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    Around how much should I expect to pay a cobbler to put on Vibram or another material?

    $25 = install vibram, shave the edge, apply edge paint.
     
  11. SuitMyself

    SuitMyself Senior member

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    I agree about the 'feel' point, but the breathability point is completely bunk. Leathers soles do not breathe. I don't understand why this myth is being propogated time and again. The flexibility is not changed by adding a peice of rubber that is a thick as a dime.


    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.



    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.


    I've read on some threads on SF that some high-end shoe makers and retailers scoff at the idea of putting topys on a pair of well-made high-end leather soled shoes.

    Topys really do do a great job of making the leather soles last longer.

    Some high-end shoe makers have said topying the leather soles will make them not breathe as well. It's quite obvious that's just like your hair stylist saying you shouldn't wear a hat in inclement weather because it will ruin the beautiful hairstyle he just did for you. It's all bull. These shoemakers--and the hair stylist--are only thinking in their best interest, and not yours, because they don't want their handiwork covered up.
     
  12. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Anyone have any experience getting a pair of AEs recrafted after having Topys applied? I'd love to have some put on (I live in NY and all the walking just eats through my soles), but I'm worried that I won't be able to have a serious recrafting/resoling done when they need them.
     
  13. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Anyone have any experience getting a pair of AEs recrafted after having Topys applied? I'd love to have some put on (I live in NY and all the walking just eats through my soles), but I'm worried that I won't be able to have a serious recrafting/resoling done when they need them.


    That should not be a problem as neither the footbed or welt is impacted by applying sole guards. However, if that's your concern, you may want to check with AE first just in case.
     
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Some high-end shoe makers have said topying the leather soles will make them not breathe as well. It's quite obvious that's just like your hair stylist saying you shouldn't wear a hat in inclement weather because it will ruin the beautiful hairstyle he just did for you. It's all bull. These shoemakers--and the hair stylist--are only thinking in their best interest, and not yours, because they don't want their handiwork covered up.
    The truth is that leather soles do breathe. Anyone who says different doesn't really understand leather. That said, "breathing" is more about wicking moisture away from the source (your foot) than it is about drawing air in and blowing it out. I'm not a fan of Topy or Vibram. I've seen both get brittle and crack sitting on the shelf (not being a fan, I probably don't turn over inventory as quickly as Nick V.). Having said that, I doubt that Topy will significantly affect the wicking properties of a leather sole. On the other hand, a full rubber sole --Danite or Vibran--does not wick moisture away from the foot and will tend to keep the interior of the shoe damp." This encourages bacterial and fungal growth in the leather of the interior (if it is indeed leather...perhaps a good[?] argument for cloth and fiberboard?) and can result in noxious odours and even skin infections. It is well to remember that leather is preserved hide. It is an organic product that in its natural state is a prime candidate for "break-down" organisms. And after it is tanned, it will be dressed with fat liquors and other nutrients that help to preserve the leather but which are, in fact, not unlike the natural fats and oils that were removed during tanning. And the foot brings its own colony of hungry micro-organisms to the hot, damp, environment that is the interior of a shoe. I am not convinced that Topy adds any significant degree of traction to an outsole --it won't prevent you from slipping on ice, for instance, if you are not balanced when you walk. On the other hand, my wife and I have danced--ballroom, latin, CW--for near on to 20 some years. I would not ever try to do fast spin with a rubber sole of any kind. Beyond that, dancing requires a quiet upper body and rubber soles of any kind tend to make your movement hurky-jerky. As for wear, Topy wears well...until it delaminates or gets a hole in it. Then it fails. Same as leather.
     
  15. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

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    Adding rubber sole guards to great shoes is like going to a fine restaurant and putting ketchup on eveything. Some people just love ketchup.
     
  16. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

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    The truth is that leather soles do breathe. Anyone who says different doesn't really understand leather.

    That said, "breathing" is more about wicking moisture away from the source (your foot) than it is about drawing air in and blowing it out.

    I'm not a fan of Topy or Vibram. I've seen both get brittle and crack sitting on the shelf (not being a fan, I probably don't turn over inventory as quickly as Nick V.).

    Having said that, I doubt that Topy will significantly affect the wicking properties of a leather sole.

    On the other hand, a full rubber sole --Danite or Vibran--does not wick moisture away from the foot and will tend to keep the interior of the shoe damp." This encourages bacterial and fungal growth in the leather of the interior (if it is indeed leather...perhaps a good[?] argument for cloth and fiberboard?) and can result in noxious odours and even skin infections.

    It is well to remember that leather is preserved hide. It is an organic product that in its natural state is a prime candidate for "break-down" organisms. And after it is tanned, it will be dressed with fat liquors and other nutrients that help to preserve the leather but which are, in fact, not unlike the natural fats and oils that were removed during tanning.

    And the foot brings its own colony of hungry micro-organisms to the hot, damp, environment that is the interior of a shoe.

    I.


    This has been my experience. A leather inner sole is essential as it will wick the moisture away from feet. With most goodyear welted shoes below the inner sole is the cork footbed (often crushed and mixed with adhesives) that does not wick moisture so that in essence the welt becomes the only place for that moisture to evaporate partially (and the rest from the upper). As such the topy will not affect this evaporation as no adhesive is applied to the welt or sides of sole to block it.

    Were the topy will affect evaporation more is on blake shoes, since this is simply inner leather sole on outer leather sole for a direct evaporation path. Unfortunately the reverse path works just as well and blakes are a disaster in rain or snow. Thus in such circumstances a topy is essential for them.

    I personally hate the look of topys but also hate to see nice leather soles pick up all sorts of debris outsides (pebbles, sand, water ect) thus use topy only on my "outside shoes". "Outside shoes" can be worn inside but "inside shoes" are never worn outside. In the unlikely event I forget to change pairs and wear an "inside shoe" outside, this will immediately attract rain fall ((&*()%^*^FOP*&%*) and my nice leather soles will become embedded with multiple little pebbles causing me to slip everywhere once inside and on polished stone floors !!!!!!!
     
  17. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Adding rubber sole guards to great shoes is like going to a fine restaurant and putting ketchup on eveything. Some people just love ketchup.
    It's not that I like them, it's that I'm tired of paying $120/pair to resole multiple pairs of shoes every six months. I live in New York and therefore walk a ton, and it eats shoes alive. As I see it, I have a couple of options: 1) Buy shitty shoes and throw them away every few months. No thanks. 2) Pay $120/pair every six months to resole them. This gets expensive very, very fast. Not too mention annoying. 3) Put some sole guards on them. From what I can tell, this is my only realistic option. I love leather soles and hate to think of covering them up, but this is just getting ridiculous.
     
  18. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

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    Ketchup [​IMG]

    FTFY
     
  19. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Senior member

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    ketchup is pretty awesome, let's not drag it into this argument
     
  20. GasparddeColigny

    GasparddeColigny Senior member

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    I am not convinced that Topy adds any significant degree of traction to an outsole --it won't prevent you from slipping on ice, for instance, if you are not balanced when you walk.

    I was wondering recently if soleguards were common or not, and it seems they are. I have been using soleguards for years now for 3 reasons, durability, grip and to avoid the leather sole getting soaked.

    On all 3 counts it has worked for me, especially regarding grip: leather soles, rain and flagstones or marble made for some near-slips. I have found some leather soles to be quite hazardous in the wet.
     

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