Not too long ago I posted about the hole that I had worn in the bottom of my Weejuns (Penny Loafers for Penny Pinchers). I thought that my loafers were done for as the damage had made its way through the cork, but due to the encouragement of my readers I took them to my local cobbler for an assessment. It turned out to be the best choice as he was able to repair my loafers, but I was not as prepared as I prefer to be in such situations. I thought that I could use this experience to help those of you who like me are inexperienced with shoe repair to have a few questions prepared for your cobbler.
My Local Cobbler
My loafers were returned to me repaired using a different method than I had expected. Expecting, but not requesting, or at least inquiring was my first mistake. I only asked if they could be repaired and that was it. I should have asked how he was going repair them. There are two types of shoe repair, full soles and half-soles. Both methods are exactly what they sound like. Full sole repair involves replacing the full sole and half soles; you guessed it, half soles.
Weejuns before repair. Notice the finished stitching.
Most people tend to recommend half soles for cheaper shoes and full soles for a quality shoe. Full sole repair involves replacing everything from the toe to the heel. Half sole repair is when the toe and instep area are replaced. You can think of full sole repair as replacing a tire while half sole repair is more comparable to mending the tire. However, many have indicated that a half sole repair can hold up if well done.
Weejuns after repair. Here you can notice the absence of stitching.
I expected a full sole repair, but I received a half sole repair. I also expected the soles to be stitched, but they were only glued. Now all soles are glued, but I expected stitching as well, because that is the way they were originally finished. Was my cobbler wrong for using this method, I don’t think so, but I would have appreciated being consulted or at least informed as to how he intended to repair the shoes.
The new half soles are thicker than the originals
Despite being surprised by the finished product this was a good learning experience. I now know that if I want a full sole shoe repair I should ask for it. I also know to inquire about the possibilities of resoling my shoes. Will they finish the shoe with stitching? If not, why? What other options are there? I hope that my experience can help those of you who are thinking about visiting a cobbler for your first time. Remember there are no stupid questions. I am looking forward to wearing out the soles of my Weejuns for a second time.