Repairing shoes


I just picked up three pairs of shoes that I had repaired. All of them have already been resoled or reheeled before. But when your shoes are attractive and comfortable they are worth hanging onto.

With so many shoes in the shops you would think buying replacement shoes would be easy. But it ain’t! I don’t like many, no most, often all, of the shoes in shops. Too high, too flat, too unbalanced, too tight, too hot, too cold. These ones were just right.

I don’t wear ballet flats. They are uncomfortable, bad for my back and they make everyone except Audrey Hepburn look like they have fat ankles and fat feet. After a few wears ballet flats look sloppy and scruffy.

I won’t totter around on ridiculously high heels. Again, they are uncomfortable, bad for my back, and they make most people look silly when they walk.

So I get my favourites repaired.

Finding a good cobbler is getting more difficult. It is another skill we are losing as shoe manufacturing goes off-shore and people treat shoes as disposable items.

Some people question the cost, saying I could buy new ones for the same price. And then have the latest fashion. Well, we have already addressed that issue. But what about the environmental costs?

We have become accustomed to shoes being cheap, just as we have become accustomed to our clothing being cheap. In most cases the quality has been lost. And that is another reason to buy quality. They can be repaired. Not like these shoes. They were made of plastic. Amazingly they were comfortable and looked brilliant. But there is no getting around it, they cannot be repaired. The plastic was cracking so it was just not worth getting them reheeled.


So these shoes can only end up in landfill. And being plastic, we know what that means.

And these sandals?

Well, I just don’t like them. They make my feet look ugly. But worst of all, the sole is too slippery for my bad back. They would have to be very attractive for me to risk slipping. And here is an example of where cheap shoes are not worth repairing. Even if I loved these shoes, the cost to re-sole would be more than the original cost. But it is a mute point as these shoes cannot be re-soled. These I will donate. Someone may like them for summer.

So what have we learned today, class?

Buy good quality shoes so they can be repaired, Miss.


Buy shoes that are comfortable, look good and that you can walk in.

Right, class dismissed.


10 thoughts on “Repairing shoes

  1. I am totally taking photos of my non-cankles! Ok, maybe not, you might make me doubt myself. Yes, I wear ballet flats. The mini heel you talk about, is impossible to find! You can occasionally get ballet flats with a slight heel – my mother seeks them out. I’m glad you can get them reheeled, I resole and reheel shoes as needed. There’s a great local man (he also gave me some leather to rethread the zipper of my loved wallet, for nothing!) He charges what he thinks people can pay, which is kind. At least my unpolished shoes are mainly not plastic, which is a start, surely :p?

    • Now Sarah, just because I am opinionated doesn’t mean I am right!

      But you are right about mini heels. You can’t get them. But watching Dancing with the Stars I had an idea. Ballroom shoes! They have the 40s and 50s look I like. And like Miss Fisher on the ABC. So I might try a dance supplier. Just have to hide the fact that I have no rhythm and am all left feet! And am buying them because I have certain tastes not because I dance.

      • Touche re: opinions and being right!

        Dance shoes sound like a solution, so long as you find some that aren’t sequined. On second thoughts, they might be just what your heart desires!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say in your article. I have narrowed the make of shoe down to one now, that’s Ecco shoes ( do you get them in Australia?) Comfortable, they suit my feet now that they are not so perfect as when I was young and they wear well. I would rather pay more and be comfortable.

    • Linda, because of your comment I just checked Ecco out online. I like what I saw. I thought they were all sort of sandals, flat and “comfortable” (meaning not really attractive and making me look old) but there were some really nice designs. And I like the company values. A new store has just opened near me, so when I start buying again, I will check it out.

      Loved the grey ankle boots with a heel.

      Thanks for the referral.

  3. I keep trying to find shoes that are somewhat better for the environment. I have continued to buy good quality leather shoes that really last. I am not thrilled with the leather industry, but synthetics are certainly no better. I will probably also buy hiking boots that contain Gortex, and try to take good care of them. I hate buying new shoes, so the less shoe shopping I need to do, the better!

    • I love shoes, but can’t seem to find ones that I like. Luckily when I do, I usually buy good quality and they last for years. Strange, given my attempts to be green, I never really thought about the environmental impact of shoe production until recently. The Ecco shoes look like they are not too bad in that area.

  4. Totally agree about buying shoes that are comfortable and can be resoled when needed. For me that means ballet flats and what Americans call “pumps” – classic high heels but not platforms or towering heels.
    Dancing shoes would be perfect for you – checkout the range at Blochs online. They are not all sequinned 🙂

  5. Gosh you have lovely shoes. I have quite boring shoes, but they are well made, and I do take them to our local cobbler. He has been mending shoes for 28 years, in a profession that I imagine is fairly recession-proof. Must suggest it to the children for their consideration! The shoe-man also recently put new press studs on my winter parka, and has put a new zip in my handbag, so really very versatile.

    • Yes, they do do a range of repair jobs, but I worry that they are all, well mostly, quite older men and that with our disposable society, theirs are skills that will be lost.

      And thanks about my shoes. I do like my shoes. I am very fussy and don’t follow trends but go for beauty. Means finding shoes I like is hard. Even when my back was really bad and I was crippled, I just could not bring myself to wear the shoes sold as “comfortable” as they looked ugly (to my eye) and made me look almost as old as I felt at the time.

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