Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Shoe Cobbler on Speed Dial

by Katherine Millsap

Not very many young people know that if you buy the right kind of shoes, and take them to a shoe repair shop when worn out, your shoes can last for decades. The key to not participating in the shoe industries planned obsolescence of their products is knowing what to look for when buying shoes and where to get them repaired (in case you were wondering, yes shoe cobblers still exist!). Below is a case study of one brand of men’s leather boots that can last a lifetime if you know how to care for them.

Redwing Men’s Beckman Round Leather Boots:

These boots have a sole that is multilayered and sewn on, making repair of the sole when worn out easy.   You can wear these boots for years, minding the care of the leather.   Once the soles wear thin, you can take the boot to a shoe repair shop where they will take the sole off at the second layer from the bottom and sew on a new sole in its place.   You now have many, many more years with your shoes, again making sure you taking care of the leather with conditioners and oils.  

You will have to put out a fair amount to get shoes of this quality, $350.   That price tag will shock many, as there are many shoes on the market for under $100 that appear to have the same quality.   However, how often do you have to replace the shoes under $100?   Every 3 years?   Perhaps 5 years if you care for them properly?   The lower price point of shoes is what attracts consumers, and that they cannot be easily repaired when worn out and therefore necessitate a future purchase, is planned obsolescence by the manufacturers.   This subpar quality of the shoes under $100 is not apparent until you wear out the glued on rubber sole, at which point you are likely to throw them away and buy a new pair.   You don’t need to go around in that circle very many times to end up spending far more on the disposable shoes as you would on a quality pair with a cobbler at the ready.

So instead of paying out $100 every few years and contributing to the waste that comes with planned obsolescence products, consider buying the more expensive pair that will last decades and get to know your local shoe cobbler.

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