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#114: Old Dogs

January 12, 2010

I like to think of my shoes as my loyal companions in life, unwaveringly along for the ride, traipsing the path of my journey.  I love my shoes.  And to keep them forever young so I can wear them as long as my journey will allow, I also love my cobbler.

This is Maria.  She’s my shoe angel.  She runs the show at Dino’s Shoe Repair on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, and greets me with a mighty “HIYA DAHHHHLING!!!!! LOOK ALIVE!!!!” when I enter the shop.  Vist your local shoemaker and chances are they’ve got an old-school attitude, too.

I appreciate the values of the shoemaker.  They practice an honest and traditional craft, and work very hard to keep their customers happy.  Imagine my happiness in bringing a pair of disintegrating World War II era high heels into the shop, and having them turn around what feels like a new pair that I could bring to gym class and run The Mile in.

If you pick up a pair of old vintage shoes that you plan to really wear, take them to your cobbler and (at the very least) have them resoled.  This will breathe unthinkable new life into the old dogs and  ensure that they are fit for the ‘journey.’  (When conditioning vintage leather shoes, be wary of synthetic products that once applied won’t allow the leather to breath. My advice would be to do your research on the best natural products and do this part at home.)

If you pick up a beautiful pair of new shoes, take those to the cobbler, too.  Consumerism has us steeped in the practice of  Buy, Wear, Toss, Repeat.  Good for the economy but bad for the sole! (HI!  I LOVE PUNS!)

I just had my favorite pair of boots done up.  Fresh soles, a repaired leather strap, an old-fashioned shoe shine…

Wish me well on the journey.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Camille permalink
    January 17, 2010 5:34 pm

    Thanks for writing about cobblers. I would never think of throwing away a pair of shoes without having been told by them they’re damaged beyond repair. Also, thanks for the tips!

  2. January 19, 2010 3:06 am

    any recommendations on what to use to condition nice old leather boots? I have a great pair of old red wings that need some love!

    • indiansummervintage permalink*
      January 19, 2010 11:49 am

      Hi Emily, how fortunate that you have a pair of old Red Wings in your size!
      A vintage cowboy boot guru in Santa Fe told me that his favorite product for conditioning vintage leather is shea butter. Always good to get a real nice cloth to do some conditioning with, and then most importantly to apply the product to the cloth, not to the leather itself. Good to dampen the cloth too. And go very light on the first coat!

  3. February 5, 2010 4:54 pm

    I love old-time shoe repair shops. The sad thing is that people are so accustomed to just tossing things that they forget a good shoe shop can make them good as new.

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