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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Munky,

    Just because a cobbler cuts keys, it don't signify one way or the other. It's almost a tradition...one, I suspect, started during the depression. But cobblers also retail--shoe waxes and creams, brushes, laces, shoehorns, etc.. that probably takes as much time and attention as cutting keys.

    FWIW, I think you are on the right track regarding having the heels replaced by someone local...and competent. Frankly, I think it a disgrace if shoes are made such that they have to go back to the maker/manufacturer for a complete re-craft...anytime. Shoes evolved to have the outsoles and heels replaced by competent workmen no matter where you ended up. Something is wrong when you can't do that. Hooking the customer into a dependency that is all one way is borderline unethical in my playbook.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  2. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Thanks for that, DWF - all very useful - particularly the bits about some shoemakers building in dependency and the key-cutting!
     
  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The answer is very simple, your cobbler does not stock the right components, so he puts on a 'spin' and tries to direct you to the items he does stock.

    He doesn't want to invest in stock of "1/4 rubber top-lifts", as he has to buy them from his wholesaler in multiples of a dozen or more and he will need more then one size to be be able to cater for heels of all sizes. He might not have the clientèle who cares for those things so he has decided not to stock that item.
     
  4. BCer

    BCer Senior member

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    That could be, but I have a different spin too. Not right or wrong - I posted on this topic some time ago and didn't really get any definitive answers. I'm not sure there is any true purpose for the leather piece on a heel - cushion, silence,?? If it's only a status thing - "look at the bottom of my shoes, I've got leather on my heels", then I agree with going to 100% rubber at the first re-heel. In our Pacific Northwest climate, it's either raining most of the winter, or the ground is still wet from the most recent rainfall. My leather soles are all topy'd, and a leather piece in the heel just gets 'soggy' in our weather. So for me, it's off with the leather vanity-heel, and on with a rubber block.

    All this said, UNLESS someone can point me to true utilitarian reason for the leather heel piece? I'd love to hear thoughts on this - didn't get many bites before when I asked.
     
  5. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Why not wear wellingtons then?
     
  6. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    You aint answered the question, though, Patrick. What is the advantage of a heel made partly of leather and partly of rubber?
     
  7. Ryan Beren

    Ryan Beren New Member

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    Any heel with rubber won't last as long, but will (like you mentioned) perform better in wetter conditions. Rubber wears out and doesn't breathe. Some people like it because they feel it is more comfortable. Leather will always last longer. It really boils down to personal preference. In the case of a heel that has both, it's always been my understanding that it's meant for traction.
     
  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Rubber sucks for many reasons: Against tradition, looks ugly, wears weird in comparison to the sole itself. Just don't do it!
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Not really true.

    Modern rubber, in particular, will out wear leather by at least half again. The rubber in a combi heel is there for the traction and to extend the life of the top lift--the rubber always being strategically placed at the point of strike.

    pB has it right though--any argument for all rubber heels and/or topy is equally an argument for corrected grain/waterproof leather and/or plastic shoes.... ie. wellingtons.

    Point is that leather has its own justification and one that is esp. apropos in the context of SF and men's fashion. We choose leather for what it is and not for what it isn't or what it lacks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
    2 people like this.
  10. BCer

    BCer Senior member

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    Agreed with what you've said, and as always, I appreciate learning from your expertise too!

    However, I argue the rubber heel/Topys equals wellingtons argument. Regionally, I humbly suggest leather soles are very impractical in a rainy environment. I've done it, and can attest that wearing leather soled shoes in a regular rotation (2-3 days a week) with exposure to wet pavement, speeds the sole's wear-out prematurely. In the Vancouver area, our pavement is probably wet 60% of the year. I humbly suggest I'm not willing to wear wellingtons 60% of the year. For me, rubber heels and Topys are worth the investment. I do own 20+ pairs of leather soled shoes (15 pairs AE), almost all with Topys. I wish I lived in a dry region - for the sake of my shoes only. (I do love how green and lush our environment is - however harsh it is on shoes.)

    All in fun and respect, and for the love of great shoes!
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I understand. I live on the left coast of the USA. Although I now live in high desert, I spent a good number of years in a three tier rainforest over in the Willametter Valley...mold in the closets.

    I would only note that if you're gonna be in the wet for so long that it starts to saturate your outsoles, you really do need to be wearing rubber boots. Or leastwise not dress shoes.

    Otherwise a pair of Tingley's is the "traditional" solution.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. BCer

    BCer Senior member

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    Haha, mold in the closets! You know where I'm coming from!

    No idea what "Tingleys" is/are??

    I hear you loud and clear about not wanting to be out in the rain or wet for long periods, but I don't want to be in the situation where I'm simply crossing the street and run into someone who wants to chat for a bit, and I have to say "sorry, gotta run - I've got leather soles!" I like the idea of Topys giving me a little more leeway and peace of mind. Makes a high quality leather shoe a little more bullet proof.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    [COLOR=FF0000]Here[/COLOR]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  14. Baked Potato

    Baked Potato Senior member

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    Do you guys treat your cordovan shoes (with cordovan cream) before using them for the first time?
     
  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    No
     
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  16. bespoken pa

    bespoken pa Senior member

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    All I have done is brush and buff my cordovans no polish of any kind. I may reno in the far off future if absolutely needed.
     
  17. BCer

    BCer Senior member

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    OHHHHH, Swims by a different brand! Ok, got it. Yes those are an option, but not the most aesthetic one...no one sees my Topys!
     
  18. benhour

    benhour Senior member

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    i totally agree with that!!! I know patrick is going to kill me for that!! hahaha

    Generally here we have a sunny weather (Greece) but when it rains its quite too dangerous to go out wearing leather soles!! Lets now explane, here most of the stares and floors at the outer space of the buildings (including my house) has marble wich when is wet is like you are on ice if you were leather soles(trapes water benith the sole and the marble)!! Because here the weather is sunny most of the time(85%year there is no rain) i just ware my badweather shoes!
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. BCer

    BCer Senior member

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    I'm not trying to be a thread-disturber here by any means. I totally see the use for Swims (by any name), and admire guys who wear them. In snowy, slushy, salty weather areas, I would completely expect them on every guy wearing dress shoes. But in our mild, but wet climate, I chose to have Topys installed, and personally don't feel they 'degrade' my shoes at all. If I lived in a dry climate, I'd FAR prefer to leave the leather soles 'raw'. I love the feel of walking on a hard surface in leather soled shoes. But soggy leather is another story, unfortunately. I do have a couple pairs that are unprotected, that I save for dry weather use only.

    And yes, my leather/rubber combo heels will be replaced with solid rubber when they need re-heeling.

    So all sides of the argument are 100% perfect to me...I'm glad there are such great options available to men who chose to wear fine leather shoes in less than perfect weather!

    Probably enough for this discussion...
     
  20. sleepyinsanfran

    sleepyinsanfran Senior member

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    I got my first topy-ed soles after a 2-day work-trip to rained-out NYC wore out the leather soles on my captoes more than they did in 5 years of use in San Francisco. Topy's have some drawbacks in the rain (e.g. one of my topy-ed shoes got a bunch of mold growing out the sides from retaining water), so I guess there are multiple sides to the topy-or-no-topy argument, if like me, you prefer the hard leather sole rather than rubber soles.
     

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