Make us your home page
Instagram

Cobble some real savings

Your heels have worn down to the nails. Your sandal strap broke. Your soles have holes. What better excuse to go shoe shopping? • But wait. Even cheap pairs from discount stores can add up, especially with the likelihood that, given the quality, they'll suffer the same fate. • A better option may be good, old-fashioned shoe repair. There's something quaint and preservationist about going to a shoe cobbler. And in a lot of cases, it's quicker and cheaper than buying new.

"Even if they're inexpensive, you're still saving few dollars if you figure you're spending $7.50 (to replace heel tips) on a $10 pair of shoes," said Earl Duncan, owner of the 65-year-old Holmes Shoe Repair shop at 17 Sixth St. N in St. Petersburg. "And that's not including spending the time shopping, and then you need to calculate gas, which isn't cheap these days."

Sometimes throwing away damaged shoes makes sense. But before you do, consider whether those separated soles or lost loafer tassels or broken heels are salvageable.

"I was surprised at how cheap it was when I first took a pair of dress shoes in to get reheeled," said Carolyn Schmidt of St. Petersburg, who frequents Duncan's shop. "I'd rather just preserve shoes I like and that are comfortable than go out and spend money on new ones."

Here are some guidelines on shoe repair, cobbled from the cobblers themselves, that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars annually in replacement shoes.

Heels are the easiest and cheapest fix. When in doubt, fix those heels. They typically cost about $6 to $10 a pair for women's shoes and $20 to $30 for men's shoes. By replacing the heels, the entire shoe performs better, whether it's a cheap or expensive pair.

No job is too large or small. Cobblers are skilled at adapting to new materials and details in shoes. Most can rebuild a shoe practically from scratch if needed. "Basically, anything can be fixed for a price," said Joanna Cooper of Hyde Park Cobblery and Shoe Repair at 2 S Howard Ave. in Tampa. "It just depends on how much you're willing to spend. It could change the look and structure of the shoe, but anything could be done."

Find shoe cobblers that only cobble shoes. While a good alterations or dry cleaner's place that also happens to do shoes may be fine, shops that only focus on shoes tend to be the most meticulous and skilled at complicated repairs. There also are several online shoe repair services, such as NuShoe.com, that will send you a postage-paid mailing bag for your shoes or boots after you fill out an order form.

Buy well-made (i.e. more expensive) shoes that you love, and do regular maintenance like you would on a car. This especially goes for men's shoes, which tend to be more utilitarian than women's shoes and are also more expensive. In his many years repairing shoes, Duncan said he has been most impressed with Allen Edmond or Alden brand shoes for men, and Nine West, Cole Haan or Rockports for women. If you have a pair of shoes you love, bring them to a shoe repair shop for scuff guard or sole guard application. Some shoes also can be waterproofed.

Don't abandon your shoes forever. Most shoe repair shops will hang on to your shoes for months, and sometimes years, in hopes you'll return for them someday. But it's kind of rude. At Holmes Shoe Repair, there are special shelves for those sad, unclaimed shoes, and actually they'll keep them for up to three years, Duncan said. After that, they'll donate the shoes to charity.

Share yours

What tips do you have for saving money in this awful economy? Share your secrets for publication in a forthcoming feature. Send an email to [email protected], check us out on Facebook at Here's the Deal Tampa Bay, or follow us on Twitter at @HerestheDealFL.

.fast facts

Average prices of shoe repairs

Heel repair/replacement: $5-12 for women's heel tips; $19-40 for men's heels

Full resoling: $15-30 for women's; $40-90 for men's.

Shoe or boot stretching: $12-40 women's; $15-50 men's

Buckle or hook replacement: $10-35 for either women's or men's shoes

Tassel or strap repair: $5-30 for men's or women's

Custom-fit orthotics: $200 and up

Cobble some real savings 01/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 22, 2012 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  3. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo

    Health

    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program

    Banking

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]