Right now you’ve probably got one kind of cobbler on your mind: apple. Today I’m going to talk about the other kind. Not peach. The kind who repairs your shoes. I heard a report on NPR this morning about the booming business cobblers are doing, and it reminded me that I picked up a pair of shoes from my local cobbler just this weekend. Instead of buying new shoes, my local shoe repair place saved me $20 and a pair of shoes I love.

Types of Shoes that Can Be Repaired
Most people consider shoe repair only for the most expensive shoes, but you can get affordable shoes repaired too. My local shop repairs these types of shoes, regardless of the original price:

  • High heels
  • Men’s dress shoes
  • Women’s flat dress shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Loafers
  • Lace-ups
  • Boots

What a Shoe Repair Place Can Do
The majority of shoe repair involves replacing soles and fixing heels, but they can do more. They can also repair luggage, handbags, and leather jackets. Some of their shoe repair jobs include:

  • Resole, including half-soles, full soles, and three-quarter soles
  • Repair a broken heel
  • Replace plastic heel soles with rubber
  • Protect heels with a scuff guard
  • Extend the life of a leather sole with a sole guard
  • Restore the original color
  • Change the color
  • Shine them
  • Stretch heels and toes
  • Replace Velcro
  • Replace or repair zippers

My Shoe Repair Experience
I have a pair of Skechers that I love, but the insoles were worn out and the Velcro straps weren’t holding. I spent weeks checking my nearby discount shoe store for a replacement pair, but they never had my size and the style has changed slightly. I much prefer my original style.

I drive past an old-fashioned shoe repair place every day and one day the sight of it triggered an idea. I took me shoes in to find out if he could fix the Velcro. He certainly could, and for only $10. I stopped at CVS to pick up a pair of insoles, too. For a total of $20, my favorite weekend shoes are good as new. A replacement pair would have cost at least $20.

When Not to Repair Shoes
There are certain shoes you shouldn’t repair, like heavily-used athletic shoes. I buy new gym shoes every six months because the insoles are completely worn out by then. I need much more support and cushioning than even the best gel insole can provide. Even though new gym shoes cost around $50, it’s worth it to keep my feet strong and injury-free.

It may not be worth it to repair cheap shoes, either. If the cost of the repair is more than you paid for the shoes, then it’s probably best to buy a new pair of shoes. Of course, it’s a different story if they’re designer shoes you picked up in a thrift store.

Now that I’ve had one pair of shoes repaired, I’m checking my closet to see what else needs fixing. If it can be repaired instead, I’ll save money and be helping the environment by reducing waste. Everyone wins.


8 Responses to “The Frugality of Shoe Repair”

  1. 40th Money Hacks Carnival :: Steadfast Finances on November 25th, 2008 10:22 pm

    [...] Sound Money Matters discusses an old idea that we aren’t reminded about very often with The Frugality of Shoe Repair. [...]

  2. Randy Lipson on August 29th, 2010 6:18 pm

    Money does matter. Americans need to rethink how they spend and save their money. Not only does shoe repair save you money, but most shops offer materials that will outlast the original materials 3 to 1. So not only are you saving money, you get much more value because your shoes will last much longer with quality materials used to repair your shoes. One of the reason shoe repair prices vary is material quality used. If the prices are too cheap, you can bet the materials won’t last much longer than original materials. Find a quality repair shop. Make sure it is clean and inviting. Not dark and dirty. Your first impression when you walk in the door will give you a good indication of what type of materials and craftsmanship they offer.
    Recycle your footwear, it saves more than money.

  3. Eric Neuner on September 6th, 2011 11:52 pm

    We realized a number of year ago that consistency in workman ship was a big problem. People get used to a pair of shoes and wear them so a comfortable fit and find it hard to part with their favorite shoes. We created http://www.nushoe.com to solve this problem. We repair more than 40,000 pairs of shoes a month and have a 4 week turn around. We are factory authorized by many manufacturers too. We hope you will consider taking a look at what we can do.

  4. Reader Request: Shoe Alterations - Already Pretty | Where style meets body image on February 17th, 2015 5:29 am

    [...] of the rest fall under “maintenance and repair,” in my mind. Heel tips, resoling, replacement of buckles or eyelets, getting shoes stretched [...]

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