Sole Mates | Shoe Saving Tips From the Pros
During summer months, the feet are most on display. And while many of us go out of our way to pamper our toes with pedicures, our shoes can take the real beating. Just because you aren’t tromping through snow and slush doesn’t mean your footwear doesn’t need T.L.C. Just ask David Mesquita. Along with his father, Carlos, David owns Leather Spa, New York’s go-to shoe repair. “Pre-treating shoes is actually a bigger part of our business than repairing destroyed ones,” says David, who sees some 500 pairs a day. Here, the Mesquita men share their tricks and tips for taking care of all types of footwear before the damage is done.
For high-heeled sandals:
“Often times, the leather on the sole of a sandal stiletto is very thin and soft,” Carlos says. “So we recommend bringing the shoes in for a rubber sole.” But don’t worry. Your Louboutins are in good hands. The Mesquitas get a special sole from Germany that is dyed, buffed and cut to maintain the shoe’s original look.
For high heels with a closed or peep toe:
“These shoes are worn so often by women to work or at night that people really put half of their weight in the heel,” says David, who recommends a new top-lift — a small plastic and rubber square that is nailed into the heel in place of the lightweight plastic point most of these shoes are made with. “Some customers come in once a week to replace a single pair,” David says. “This is a very common method.”
For flat sandals:
“Many sandals are worn in hot weather so the sweat stains can be terrible,” David says. He suggests pre-treating sandals with Wetblock Combo spray, which protects leather, suede, satin, silk, canvas and exotic skins in two coats but still allows the material to breathe. It’s available on the Website leatherspa.com.
For ballerina flats:
Part of the charm of those Lanvins are their wafer-thin soles — which wear down faster than you can say, “Taxi!” David recommends adding an extra piece of rubber at the heel to increase their mileage.
“It’s not the season for boots,” David says, “but we see a lot of people who want to prepare for treacherous weather.” He recommends pre-emptive resoling with flat, alpine material — the kind you see on the bottom of Timberlands — in either tan or black. “This is not really for style,” David admits, “but many clients want better traction, and this will go through anything.”