Rubber topsoles

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by MPS, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. MPS

    MPS Senior member

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    Someone has recommended that I have rubber topsoles put on some of my leather soled shoes in order to make them last longer. Can anyone think of a reason not to have this done?
     
  2. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    i've had this done on a pair of dress boots and it will make the shoes last longer and give you better traction, especially in wet weather. the only downside is that it will make your shoes less dressy, so this must be considered.

    it seems to me that every time i have someone else shine my shoes, they inevitably recommend that i have them install these rubber topsoles. this may be a major source of income for shoe repairers, but in my experience, it is worth it. btw, i think i paid between 30 and 40 dollars for this.
     
  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That is what I picked up from a German web site. It is a different matter altogether if the rubber sole is part of the original design; then the tensions will be adjusted accordingly. I might consider it for an old run-about pair, but certainly not for a decent pair of shoes:

    The addition of a protective sole changes the construction of the shoe and the tension on the uppers when rolling the sole. The additionally applied rubber sole would have to take the longest stretch when bending the foot (rolling the sole), although it does not. Compare this with the outside wheels of a car, going into a curve. These wheels will have to drive the largest distance. Since the sole hardly stretches, it will add rigidity to the bottom of the shoe and the coordination of the shoe's components will no longer exist. In a double soled, welted shoe, the total of the soles (inner, middle and outer sole) can be as much as one inch. The additional increase in the tension on the upper parts may well cause tearing of the uppers and the welt stitching.

    Many manufacturers (Church and Green for example) refuse to repair shoes altered this way and no manufacturer would accept guarantees or complaints or would be willing to correct defects.
     
  4. My View

    My View Senior member

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    I have about half my shoes added with a non-slip rubber sole. I have read instructions from the respective manufacturers not to do so, but walking (and slipping) in wet weather without that extra bit of friction is not fun. Moreover, I don't notice any difference in wearing comfort in shoes with and without add-on rubber soles (some people have said that because leather breathes, adding a rubber sole will prevent this "breathing" and will result in wetter feet at the end of the day).

    Can someone else comment?
     
  5. DandySF

    DandySF Senior member

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    The addition of a thin rubber sole to a new pair of shoes will increase the life of a leather sole immeasurably.  However, this very practical measure comes with two costs.  First, the acoustic aspect of a leather sole hitting the floor is completely lost when the rubber is applied.  Second, unless the rubber is applied expertly, the proflile of the shoe's edge may be altered.  

    I most recently had the soles added to a pair of Fratelli Peluso loafers I purchased at Saks.  They've performed very well.  In years past I've also had the soles applied to thin-soled Ferragamo loafers.  Lately I've been buying shoes that come with the rubber sole.  Allen Edmonds has a number of shoes with this feature, although I do miss the authoritative sound a leather soled shoe makes.
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    When these rubber soles are added to the leather is the original sole still vivible? Also how is this process done?

    Please forgive me for I am not familiar with this particular practice. Thank you.
     
  7. MPS

    MPS Senior member

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    The topsoles are rubber half-soles that are simply glued onto the leather sole, thus obscuring the front half of the latter.
     
  8. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    We are talking about thin rubber soles (4mm; 1/8"), which get glued, on top (or underneath, depending, literally, on your viewpoint) of the existing leather soles. The original soles stay in place.

    It has to be done with either new or relatively little worn shoes, because, once the soles are really worn down, you would need more drastic surgery: remove old soles, fix new ones.
     

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