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Shoe Repair: Repair Your Shoes and Save Money

Updated on September 20, 2013
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Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

Save Money- Repair Shoes Instead of Replacing Them!
Save Money- Repair Shoes Instead of Replacing Them! | Source

My wife had a pair of shoes she really liked. She was holding one of them up, telling me how much she liked the shoes and how angry she was at our dog… The shoe was chewed up, and the dog was hiding in another room. These were nice leather shoes that probably cost over $50 new. Another problem- there was no good way to replace them. These shoes fit just right and were just the right style. What could I do to get my dog out of the doghouse? Could we repair the shoes rather than trying to buy new ones?

Shoe Repair Shop in the Mall
Shoe Repair Shop in the Mall | Source

Do Cobblers Still Exist?

I decided to investigate shoe repair options. Do they still have cobblers? I usually buy cheap shoes and throw them away after they are worn out. Or sometimes my wife throws them away for me. I recently had a pair that the heels were worn down to 45 degree angles. I had never considered repairing a pair of my shoes since they are so cheap and get so much wear since I only have a couple pairs of shoes. But I thought my wife’s shoes would be a good candidate for shoe repair. They were in good condition, except the strap across the top was chewed off.

I searched the yellow pages on the Internet and found 3 options for shoe repair. One was in a store in the mall, so I decided to give it a try. I took the pair of shoes that was chewed up by our dog and another pair of my wife’s leather shoes that was ripped along a seam.

The repair shop was unlike any of the other stores in the mall. It was jam packed with old shoes, industrial looking sewing machines, and repair supplies. The shoe repair guy said the shoes with a ripped seam would be no problem to repair. I could pick those up tomorrow. The chewed shoe caused some deliberation. He decided to order some purse strapping to replace part of the shoe strap and blend it in with the original strap. This one would take a few days.

How Much Does Shoe Repair Cost?

The shoe repair shop can perform extensive repairs such as replacing soles and heels on shoes starting at around $20. The seam repair cost $5 to sew it back together. Repairing the strap on the dog-chewed shoes cost $6.35. I suspect it was $5 for sewing and $1.35 for the piece of purse strap.

What Kind Of Shoe Damage Can Be Repaired?

I watched as the shoe repairman turned away a customer. The leather was too worn to repair, he said. It is possible for shoes to be worn out beyond repair. However, if there is damage or wear to a specific part of the shoe, they are a good candidate for shoe repair. I think we got lucky on our shoes with dog damage. If the chewing was more extensive, they would not have been repairable. However, since the dog damage was limited to the strap, it was easily replaced.

When Should You Repair Shoes Rather than Buying New Shoes?

A rule of thumb is if the shoe repair cost is less than half the cost of replacing the shoes, then repair is a good option. Shoe repair is often more durable than the workmanship and material in the original shoes. I will note that the stitching was visible in the shoes that had the seam repaired. I think this is fine for casual shoes, but this wouldn’t be acceptable for dress shoes for a job interview, etc.

Should You Repair Shoes or Buy New Shoes?
Should You Repair Shoes or Buy New Shoes? | Source

Really cheap shoes are probably not worth repairing. The material wears out quickly, so you may be better off throwing away cheap shoes rather than investing in repair.

Can You Repair Shoes Yourself?

Some shoe repair and shoe maintenance can be done at home. You can easily replace the shoe laces if they get worn. You can polish leather shoes and cover scuffs on shoes with polish and filler that you can buy at shoe stores. You can apply water proofing spray to protect your shoes. For more significant repair, you’ll want to take your shoes to a repair shop where they have the proper equipment and supplies to make lasting repairs.

Shoe Shine Kit- Maintain Your Shoes

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© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher

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    • drpennypincher profile image
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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Hugh, I will seriously consider getting higher quality shoes next time and repairing them as needed for years of use. I have attempted simple shoe repairs myself, but the shoes quickly came apart again...

    • Hugh Morrison profile image

      Hugh Morrison 4 years ago from London, England

      Buying cheap shoes and throwing them away when they wear out is false economy. It's much better to buy really good quality shoes (the kind with leather uppers, lining and soles) and then have them repaired - this will give you years of quality footwear.

      That said you can do quite a few repairs yourself. Re-soling and heeling kits are available online, and you can repair worn linings with leather offcuts which can be bought cheaply on ebay.

    • drpennypincher profile image
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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Thanks kidscrafts, I really like reusing and recycling- especially when it saves money. I might even think about buying shoes that cost more than $30 next time if I could repair them periodically and have them last for many years.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      We have a few cobblers in Ottawa but with time passing it seems that sometimes it's not worth it to repair the shoes..... depending of the price. I have some very good shoes that would be worth spending money to a cobbler that to replace them for sure!

      Thanks for sharing! Interesting as usual!

    • drpennypincher profile image
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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Crafty, I think it's funny that you can buy rawhide dog treats that look like sandals. It's hard enough for dogs to learn what is OK to chew or not! I am happy we have a cobbler in town, I am sure I will be a repeat customer...

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      We had a cobbler in town until the past 10 years. Now the store front belongs to an engraving trophy place. There is nothing worse than buying a pair of shoes and having it damaged within a short time or having a favorite pair become Fido's toy. :D