How to make your shoes last forever

If you've ever had a pair of shoes that you had to lay to rest against your will, then read on, because this is for you.

credit: photo by John Scarisbrick for Intermission Magazine

credit: photo by John Scarisbrick for Intermission Magazine

Most of us, after buying new shoes, will put them on straight away and hit the streets. What if I told you, however, that by delaying your gratification for a couple days of preparation, prior to wearing, you could extend the life of your shoes and make them basically indestructible? 

Ok, so how do you do this?

When you buy a new pair of shoes, before anything else, take them right away to a shoe cobbler to have a sole put on, before you ever wear them. I know the temptation is difficult to resist, but this will enormously extend their lifetime! I learned this because I used to bring my damaged shoes to the cobbler, and he told me that my life and his would be so much easier if I just brought my shoes straight away before wearing them—and that way the original sole of the shoe would remain intact. Try to get yourself into this habit, especially if the pair is an investment for you. Doing this should cost you around $30-50, but compared to the cost of having to buy new shoes a lot more frequently, it makes sense. The sole they'll put on will not be noticeable in appearance and it also gives your shoes grip. 

photo by Garance Doré for www.garancedore.fr

photo by Garance Doré for www.garancedore.fr

If you live in New York or another city where you're on your feet more than in a car (especially in the scorching summer when the concrete melts your sandals before barely making it to August!), this is really practical and sensible. It helps you to get more bang for your buck, and it makes large purchases so much more worthwhile.

 

Minas Shoe Repair on Wall Street is where I bring all my shoes, and you won't find a better cobbler than these guys in New York City. They are super sweet—practically angels—so already your day is made better by just going there; but you also get the sense that they appreciate the craft of shoe making, and that they sincerely take pleasure in making your life easier by taking the best care of your shoes. If you live in NYC, take my word and GO! 

photo by Janice Alida

photo by Janice Alida

This is Minas (left) with a couple of his employees. Minas Polychronakis has been fixing shoes since he was twelve years old (he's now 72). He had to relocate his family-run business to Wall Street and completely rebuild when his shop was destroyed in 9/11. Minas, on shoes, says, "You take care of them, they take care of your feet. Then, your feet take care of you." 

photo by Janice Alida

photo by Janice Alida

This is a pair of Céline shoes I just had done this week. Minas uses a brand of soles called Vibram. You can see the second sole just on the front half of the shoe - barely there, right? Vibram is amazing because they are super durable and they provide grip. Look for a shop that uses this brand.

 

So that's it. Now go gather all of your shoes that you care for, including any recent purchases, Yelp the best cobbler you can find, and get it done. It will be worth it.