Wednesday, September 22, 2010

have I got shoes for you

You remember how, back in the day, you could take your worn-down shoes to a strange little bloke in a brown coat in a dingy little shop somewhere and get them repaired? New soles, heels, that sort of thing. I have a vague memory of a bloke in Newbury who used to run one of these sort of businesses from a disused railway carriage in a siding at Newbury railway station, along with the usual key-cutting and shoelace-selling, plus probably bestiality and serial killing I shouldn't wonder.

Of course this sort of business still exists, it's just that they're generally branches of Timpson's and therefore a bit more well-lit and fragrant and respectable. I am delighted to be able to tell you that Timpson's have an online shop where you can not only buy the usual shoelaces but also, fantastically, segs. I had no idea you could still get them.

Anyway, the point of all this is that these places are all well and good (apart from the bestiality and serial killing) for classic shoes with the leather and hard rubber soles, but many of today's hip and happening modern shoes have softer rubber soles which you can't really nail a replacement heel (or segs) to. Here's an example: my much-loved Petroleum suede loafers. Nothing wrong with them in the uppers department, but many years of wear and tear have taken their toll on the heels, as you can see. But what to do? As I say, nailing a spare heel on isn't going to work.

Fortunately help is at hand from the totally awesome and gnarly world of skateboarding. It turns out that the abrasive top surface of the modern skateboard, designed to stop you from sliding off when executing a reverse 720 goofy nosebone tail grab, or something like that, is a bit hard on the old Vans, and so something is needed to repair the associated wear and tear. And that something is: Shoe Goo! Available from many respectable online retail outlets, including SkateSlime and Amazon. In theory, as well as being good for sticking flappy bits of sole down and filling holes, Shoe Goo can also be used to rebuild worn soles back up to their former dimensions.

So I had an experimental initial application, during the course of which it became clear that a) it does go impressively hard and rubbery once dry, but b) it's quite runny before that, and that therefore some sort of temporary supporting structure would be required to build the heels back up. A bit of masking tape ought to do it. You'll need an applicator (and they don't supply one with the goo); I'd suggest a lolly stick or one of those little plastic spatulas you get with Araldite.

Run the tape round the heels, press it on, then pipe the goo into the required areas.

Results: not half bad actually. As you can see there's still room for improvement, though, particularly with the shoe on the left.

So, take two, same drill. The stuff dries sufficiently to remove the tape within 24 hours, but another day or two before actually wearing the shoes is probably prudent.The weird shiny transparent look soon scuffs up once you walk around a bit.

For total future peace of mind you could of course embed some segs in the still-soft goo. Maybe next time.


The Black Rabbit said...

You always were the Imelda bleedin Marcos of Bristol...

electrichalibut said...

To beef air, Imelda bleedin Marcos would have just bought a new pair of shoes. And I did have a bit of a purge before we moved house. And I got rid of some shoes as well, hahahahaha.