Archive for the ‘Ask to Shoe Cobbler’ Category
Have you ever seen a pair of shoes and thought, Those would be just perfect if it had another little flourish here, or if the leather was distressed, or if there was lace here.
Or perhaps you just always sketched shoes in your notebook but never saw it as a legitimate career? Or even a hobby?
Llorraine Neithardt is a full-time Jungian-inspired clairvoyant, but teaches shoe-making on the side. Quelle femme formidable!
To sign up for one of her classes or order bespoke shoes from her, go here. Speaking of which, here are some of her bespoke shoes.
“If your devotion to the shoe resembles a form of worship … this will be your temple, and you, a disciple of the art of shoe making,” Ms. Neithardt says on her website.
As the article in the New York Times put it, the shoes you will make will be “fantastical creations of fig bark and rooster feathers, spotted python and blood-red kid leather.”
There are courses in mules (beginning), pumps (intermediate) and boots (advanced). There is also an experimental class, which sounds the most interesting to me. You must bring your own heel, shank and leathers. Basic soles are provided.
The workshops are around $2,000, so I’m praying for a tax windfall to give me the chance!
If you know about someone in your area or city who teaches shoe-making or even just shoe design, please post in the comments and inform other readers about this wonderful artistic opportunity.
It had been a long time, years, since I had been to Shoe Service Plus, my longtime favorite New York shoe repair shop, which I have raved about before to you guys. I had been living in San Francisco and just last year returned to living permanently in New York. I was surprised to find recently that the store has moved across the street and is now The Leather Spa.
In addition to its 55th Street location, there is now a location in The Plaza.
I am very happy to say that the new location is much more organised, with the upstairs for drop-offs and the downstairs for pick-ups. There is also a large supply of sprays and insoles.
The prices and policies are prominently displayed in the front, warning that cleaning, dying, stretching, storage and shoe repair all have their liabilities.
Here are some of the amazing collection of arches and insoles they have, with nice, neat little descriptions and prices. I love it!
Hurray for the new Leather Spa! It’s very expensive, but if you’ve got a pair of designer shoes you don’t trust to anyone else, take em here! I saw a woman dropping off numerous Louboutins and Prada when I dropped my humble Cole Haans off, and she said she is very happy with their service. And don’t forget to treat yourself to the proper insoles; it’s very important for your foot health!
My brother loves his hip-hop collection of sneakers. He’s got an enviable collection, and seems to keep certain ones up on the shelf just for gazing at. But in case you should actually want to WEAR your sneakers, you may want to know how to keep them clean. Especially with the impending slush, here are a few tips for keeping those white high tops or gym shoes clean and stink-free.
Here are a few different methods to try. I wouldn’t do this on preciously expensive Air Force Ones and such — take those to a professional or a crazy sneaker guy, or check out this crazy website!
But for the rest of you normal folks out there who just want to clean your regular sneakers, check out these suggestions. I can’t vet all of them because all I’ve done is watch my white sneakers in the regular washing machine, but they’re worth a try!
- Only if they are designed as washable (Check the model online or contact the manufacturer. Not recommended for leather shoes): Remove your laces. Use some white sheets you don’t care about too much to keep your shoes from tumbling around too much. Add your detergent. Set your machine to gentle cycle, I did it on warm. I wouldn’t do hot as I think they might shrink your shoes, but if you have a really tough stain and they’re a little large, that might work. Hang to dry. Do not tumble dry. You can also try putting them in the dishwasher with regular dishwashing detergent.
- For small scuffs: Use a toothbrush with a little bit of bleach mixed with water, or toothpaste, or try the Magic Marker.
- If they are not designed for washing: Take out the laces. Mix household soap or dish soap with water. Scrub the outside with a toothbrush or shoe brush and the solution. Rinse off with cold water. Wipe down with a soft cloth. Repeat the toothbrush scrubbing rinsing and wiping down with the insides. Dry them the same way as the washable sneakers. Sprinkle the insides with baking powder or odor eaters.
I agree with basically everything this man, a butler, says about polishing shoes.
Some tips to remember:
- Don’t forget to take the laces out and polish the tongue.
- Alternate shoe wax with shoe polish cream.
- Put the shoe cream or wax on one shoe with a toothbrush, then let it sit while you put the cream or wax on the other shoe. Do not put the cream on and brush right away. The polish needs some time to soak in.
- Then brush. My suggestion from experience is to dip the shoe brush in a tiny bit of water on the tips of the brush, so that the shoe will be extra shiny, if that is how you want it.
More in my next post about what kind of shoe polish cream vs. shoe wax to use.
The love of a good cobbler, who back in the day would make and repair shoes, but these days, mostly just repairs and shines them, can make a world of difference for your shoes. Finding the right cobbler for you, however, is like finding the right tailor, or florist, or dentist. It takes some doing and some work to find the right one for you.
I have seen some people online on money saving forums try to say you can repair your own shoes. I highly advise AGAINST this unless it’s just a minor internal repair to cover up a fabric hole. Do you really think you can do what this man is doing? I don’t think so. He is grinding a sole down to what he knows is the right shape and height. Don’t try this at home with a piece of sandpaper, kids. It’ll take you 3 days.
I grew up as the child of a cobbler, watching my dad on machines like this. My father did many, many things, being as much of a curious polymath as I am, but for quite a few years he owned a shoe repair and shoe sales business. My uncle owned a shoe store on Market Street in San Francisco, meanwhile. So I’ve been inundated with great shoes for a long time, and one of my first memories is probably of sitting by the mirror as my mother put on makeup, misted on perfume and opened up a perfectly pristine shoe container from the long line of gorgeous Ferragamos she had. She was a size 6.5 to 7, which I still believe to be the perfect shoe size, even though I’ll never fit into her shoes with my clodhopping size 9 feet!
So on to cobblers in New York. Angelo’s and Hector’s both have high praise online from customers, but for years, I only let one place touch my high end shoes, and that was Shoe Service Plus. As I have said before, they took my ripped and broken heels, cracked leather, too skinny and tight shoes and other walk-threatening inconveniences and fixed them to nearly like new for me. However, they’ve been getting horrendous reviews for the past year, while I’ve been living mostly on the west coast, and I’m considering trying Angelo’s, Hector’s or Cobbler Express. I will report back here after visiting one of them. Yelp has other highly recommended New York cobblers.
What should you look for in a professional shoe repair service?
- Clarity up front about what will take place. Ask what color soles and non-slip tabs and zippers will be. If it’s designer, you may want to bring your own zippers. Make sure leather or fabric replacements will be what you want. Ask whether they will repair/paste the rip or replace it entirely with a new piece of leather or fabric. Are they cement gluing a detached sole back on, or nailing it and gluing it?
- Consistent prices. If you think the prices are unfair, demand to know the reasons for said prices and how they measure up to other shop prices. For instance, if you are getting half soles, ask for the price of full sole replacement. Also ask if there’s a cheaper alternative in a different sole material.
- Quality working materials. Ask what kind of soles, what kind of polish and what laces they use.
- A safe working environment for employees.
- An organized shop. It’s a sign they won’t lose your shoes.
- A ticket stub for pickup with a number or other working system.
- A normal turnaround time. They should be able to replace tips (i.e. small soles for the heel of ladies’ shoes) while you wait, for instance during lunch. Larger soles could take a few days to a week. A dye job, rip mending, fabric replacement, replacement of zippers or stretching (width-wise – they generally don’t do length-wise as it’s unhealthy for your shoes and could bust them) could take longer.
New York Times Fashion Advice Bonus; Where to get your Louboutin soles redone in New York (be sure to read the Comments section for other Louboutin cobbler recommendations from readers). These are crazy and kinda tacky but I love em.
And I have to admit, I’m kind of impressed by this woman’s Louboutin collection. She’s no Imelda Marcos, but wow, that is a lot of Louboutins!