One of the rewards of choosing solidly constructed footwear is that they can be easily disassembled and rebuilt when needed. Many makers of classic footwear provide a repair service to their customers, but is it worth sending them off to the original factory when your local cobbler is just a short drive away?
When your favourite pair has been worn to the point that your soles start getting noticeably thin and soft spots, or otherwise start showing signs of falling apart, don’t even think of throwing them in the bin – it is simply time for an overhaul. While most shoes sold today are not made to last for much more than a season or two, proper welted constructions can normally be re-soled a number of times, giving them the potential to last for decades.
A well worn pair of Crockett & Jones Belgrave from the Hand Grade line, ready to be shipped off for factory refurbishment - the shoe to the right has had the sole stitch opened and the sole and cork filling removed
Taking your shoes to a cobbler can be a great option for smaller repairs, or if you are confident that your cobbler is up for the task and skilled enough for a complete re-sole. But it can also be a bit of a gamble, as some cobblers might do a perfectly good job on easier repairs but lack the skill, experience and equipment to perform more advanced jobs to satisfaction. The main drawbacks here are that regardless of skill level, most cobblers lack access to the original last on which your shoe was built by the maker, and few will replace the welt and cork filling.
Well cared for uppers generally far outlast the soles, and can benefit from a factory refurbishment where the shoes are rebuilt on the original last, giving them more of their original shape back
Tor’s Crockett & Jones Belgrave punched cap toes have seen five years of regular use and abuse, which has taken its toll on the leather soles. He decided to send them off for a full refurbishment at the Northampton factory where they were originally made. This can be done via any Crockett & Jones retailer or stockist, and the whole process should be expected to take between 6-10 weeks.
The shoes will be stripped down, re-welted, re-corked, re-soled and re-heeled on the original 337 last, and will come back newly polished and with a new leather sock. We will post a before-and-after comparison when the repair is finished.
Read more about the Crockett & Jones factory repair service here.