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A heel you can fix

Aunt Toby has written about shoes and the total unfairness of it all vis a vis men’s shoes vs. women’s shoes cost of shoes

But here is as good an example and demonstration of the unfairness of it. I recently bought these shoes. Now, never let it be said that Aunt Toby doesn’t look for quality but in terms of women’s shoes in this country, the whole issue of quality is moot. If you can find a pair made out of leather with a supportive inside that fits you and is comfortable, that is almost the most you can expect. The concept of a ‘quality women’s shoe’ just doesn’t even come into the same radar screen with men’s shoes. A large part of that is the whole ‘women buy for fashion; men buy for wearing..and wearing..and wearing.’ So, men by and large are willing to spend a good dollar for a solid pair of leather shoes with good soles and heels that they will wear to work. They might have two or three pairs of shoes that they wear to work and rotate through during the week, but those are still pairs of shoes that are being worn 260 days a year and will usually last 3-4 years if they are cared for. If they are taken to the shoe repairman for new soles and heels and cared for, then they can last decades. Why? Largely because the inputs into the shoes are tough and first class: heavier leathers, solid soles (with multiple layers of tough materials in them) and heels.

Women’s shoes? Not so much. And these shoes “ri-cheer” are a good example. Yes, they are leather and they have an absolutely fantastic insole system (which is frankly why I bought them; I wear a 6 D and have some, ahem, foot issues, so a shoe that I can put on where my foot let out that “ mmmmmmmm” is a shoe that I am going to buy. If it is fairly stylish, that is the cherry on the sundae). They are a heeled oxford style, which has been fairly popular for the past couple of years and continues to be so.

But the heels? OMG. Unlike the heels on men’s dress shoes, which by their nature are flat and broad, and solid, heels on women’s dressier shoes are plastic. Now, I’ve seen some that are solid plastic, solid plastic which have been covered with the same material as the shoe body is, and then there is this type here: hollow. With a tap at the bottom that fits in like a plug.

I caught the edge of the tap and it yanked right out. The heel itself is attached to the shoe with adhesives and perhaps some sort of nail-gun/staple affair, but the tap at the bottom of the heel just fits in with two little plastic extensions. You can see that in the photograph. But the tap was not glued to the heel itself.

Cheap. Very cheap. And the horrible thing is this: Luxury brand shoes are made…just…the…same…way.

In the same factories in China.

OK..so I really liked these shoes. That foot bed ‘had me at hello’. So, here’s how to fix this – this is a repair you really and truly CAN do at home.

All you need:
Roll of duct tape or other non-stretchy, tough tape
Adhesive that will work on plastic, leather, glass, metal (not wood or carpenter’s glue).
A toothpick or Popsickle™ stick to put the glue onto the tap
A paper towel

How to:
Pull out the tap a little bit more so that you have room to work in terms of getting the glue onto the surfaces.
Squeeze out a bit of adhesive onto the toothpick or stick and carefully smear it on the inside surface of the tap AND onto the matching edges of the heel.

Carefully squeeze the tap back into place so that the extensions go into their respective holes.

Press down hard.

Put the shoe ON and with a piece of newspaper on the floor or something else to protect the floor, step down and put your weight on to the heel. Take the shoe off.

Using the paper towel, wipe off any of the adhesive that has been squeezed out between the bottom surface of the heel and the tap.

Take about six inches of duct tape, and rip in half the long ways.

Take one piece and put in over the tap and pulling slightly, stick it to the side of the shoe. Do the same thing to the other side of the tape and the other side of the shoe.
Let dry and cure overnight.

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2 Comments

  1. BMGM says:

    I’ve had very positive experiences with SAS (made in San Antonio), Munro American (made in Arkansas) and New Balance* (made in Maine) shoes. They are all very comfortable and well-made, come in a variety of widths (some featuring combination lasts like Italian shoes), and last a long, long time.

    Compared to Italian shoes of similar quality, they are a good value at $100-200/pair. Inflation adjusted, they are the same price (or even less) as the American shoes we used to buy 20-30 years ago.

    *NB shoes are made in either China or the US, with the US-made ones slightly higher in quality and price.

  2. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

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