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Central element of any good dressing, the city shoes require a rigorous and daily maintenance. But bad practices persist, and we often get calls for help about shoes that are not in good shape or are not working at the end of their life.
However, some precautions to protect them, as well as simple actions, can allow us to keep them longer. This is what we will see together today.
Disclaimer: beBCBG is a start-up specialized in shoe making and dry cleaning in Paris. After the dry cleaning of a suit, they bend with us on good practices to adopt with his shoes. To do this, they opened the doors of one of their craftsmen-shoemaker. The word is theirs!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SHOES
Far from us the idea to make you an ultra-detailed retrospective of the history of the shoe! But while today’s shoes are probably the most comfortable in terms of comfort, more complex designs have gone before.
3rd millennium BC: the first leather shoes are born in Europe and Asia, modeled on the Areni-1 shoe, discovered in Armenia in 2018.
3rd – 2nd millennium BC: In ancient Egypt, sandals are now made from leather, woven straw, with palm leaves or papyrus. They are unisex and signs of social distinction: the poorest walk barefoot while the rich wear sandals sometimes covered with gold. Slaves, they, literally have no right to put on shoes (nice …).
Fifth century BC: Ancient Greece sees the appearance of sandals fully made of leather: sole and leather straps to maintain the sandal to the foot. The famous Spartans that we still sport today!
5th century: The Roman Empire spreads over a multitude of regions and includes as many climates. In the hottest regions, Roman sandals have no major evolution compared to the Greek, if this is sometimes a riot of luxury 1. In the cold regions of the empire, citizens are wearing boots or closed shoes. To relax, this little world wears slippers.
Under the Christian empire, clothes evolve with manners. Christian morality imposes to no longer reveal his body. Shoes are no exception and must now cover the feet 2.
In the Middle Ages: the artisans of the Kingdom of France obtain their leather goods abroad. In particular, they use goat leather from Cordoba in Spain. The users of this leather are now called “cordouannier” or “cordouennier” 3. From the eleventh century, the shoe spreads, but it was not until the fifteenth century that the leather shoe dethrones the wooden shoe.
XVth century: one measures his social rank with the size of his shoes! The “foals” are furious and compete with originality and length.
Sixteenth century: the boot leaves the battlefield and is now invited in the salons. The boots sometimes show ankle – big release of manners! – and waders often go up to the waist.
17th century: borrowed from the boots of the riders, the heels now equip the boots and the shoes of city. Shoes are refined and loops and ribbons appear.
Twentieth century: in the first half of the century, shoes and shoes are democratized to all social classes, although the hoof remains worn in some regions, including agricultural.
In the second half of the century, the rise of the fashion industry does not leave the footwear side that becomes an icon in its own right. Series production and mass distribution standardize styles and trends.
It is interesting to note that the generalization of the shoe in its modern form remains finally quite recent, barely a century ago!
APPLY THE PRINCIPLE OF PRECAUTION
Millennia of evolution have led to the diversity of models, shapes and colors that we know today. So please, do not ruin everything! Before you can wear your favorite shoes safely, it will be necessary to go to your shoemaker to administer “first aid”.
Review …ANTI-SLIPPING SKATES
WHAT INTEREST TO ASK A SKATE?
The installation of skates is the first operation to be done on any new pair of shoes with smell
with leather sole. Above all, it prevents slipping: the sole of a new shoe is smooth, so it slips on a wet surface.
The second reason is to protect your shoes from moisture and water infiltration, thus premature wear of the sole. 4 The skate has a real impact on the life of your precious shoes and the health of your bank account! To avoid the abnormal deformation of the shoe 5, it is best to have made it to his foot before put a skate. This is usually the case from 5 to 10 ports.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not so that the glue adheres better. Your shoemaker must in any case “scratch” your sole with specialized tools and abrasives, to ensure an ideal gluing of the shoe. We will talk about glass here. HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR SKATE?
Two options are then available to you: the classic skate called “Topy” 6 and the natural skate called “crepe”. The first is a little cheaper but the natural skate is however more flexible and more aesthetic.
It will replace your skates when they are worn. The life of a shoe will change according to the wearing frequency of your shoes. The watchword is the precaution: do not wait to have “attacked” the sole to act.
One last tip before giving your shoes to your shoemaker: ask him to show you an example of skating he has done. If he did not just stick the skate but took the time to thin it at the join with the sole, it’s because he knows what he’s doing! ALMOST INDISSOCIABLE OF SKATES
Most shoemakers recommend fitting irons at the same time as the skates. First of all because it is much more practical to carry out these two operations jointly, but especially for the good of your shoes.
The irons are the first bulwark against the friction, blows and impacts of all kinds that your shoes undergo every day.
Again, two types of products are available to you:
The “irons beans”, which are fixed over the pad and which add a slight extra thickness to your sole. An inexpensive solution but that may hinder the approach of some.
Embedded irons that – as their name suggests – are recessed and screwed into the soleplate, thus adding no extra thickness. They will be more resistant and more aesthetic. A price a little higher too, because of the working time for your shoemaker.
THE HEELS, DO NOT NEGLECT!
The term “heel” is a generic term, often misused because it can mean two things:
the heel block: we are talking about the heel in its entirety, composed of several layers, the last of which is called “bonbout”,
the bonbout: this is the last layer of the heel, in contact with the ground, which serves to protect the other layers.
It is at bonbout that we will be interested first of all. If one sees more and more develop the systematic pose of a goodbout rubber or semi-rubber on the new shoes, some of them are still sold with a bonbout leather.
On the same principle as for the skate, you will have to call on your shoemaker to replace it with a rubber boot. This will save you the same inconvenience as with a new sole: slips, humidity and various aggressions.
The installation of a bonbout is a quick and inexpensive operation that, if renewed regularly, you will avoid changing the entire block heel
The slider is the leather piece on the back of the shoe, inside. In contact with your heel, it is therefore subject to continuous friction. Who says friction says wear: slipper in the first place, then your foot!
To avoid having to wear double skins, we invite you to go through the shoemaker box as soon as the wear of your slide appears. Your craftsman will find a leather similar in color to the original leather and will replace it in a few days.
A SECOND LIFE FOR YOUR SHOES
The first signs of old age appear on your favorite shoes? An unfortunate accident caused them deep scars? It may not be too late! Your shoemaker has the means to dress the most serious wounds, even to resuscitate shoes at the end of life.
Focus on the most common last chance interventions.
Your shoes sometimes suffer seemingly irreversible damage: stain of fat, red fruits 8, motorcycle grease, stain after rubbing with raw jeans, etc … You’ll rub, clean, wax … nothing will do !
All is not lost, your craftsman shoemaker can save your shoes by performing a deep cleaning of the leather. With the help of products adapted to each type of task, technical
CHANGE COLOR WITH THE PATINA
Your shoes have lived well and successive polishes seem less effective than before? Did you just get tired of their original color? On the contrary, time has darkened their hue? You can ask your shoemaker to make a new patina on your favorite pair.
We are talking here about an artificial patina which consists in giving a new shade to your pair of shoes. To make it simple: your leather is stripped, dyed and nuanced (even drawn) to transform the appearance. Even if the game is worth the candle, the operation weakens the leather. It must therefore be done knowingly.
The field of possibilities is almost infinite, but keep in mind that it is very complicated and sometimes impossible to go from a dark shade to a lighter one.
Achieving a beautiful patina requires know-how and a lot of experience. It is an operation carried out entirely by hand which requires between 7 and 10 days of work to your craftsman. Prices will start at around € 60 for a single patina and may exceed € 100 if you are looking for originality
ASK A NEW HEEL BLOCK
We were talking about the block heel at the beginning of the article. It may be that with age, it begins to show signs of weakness and gradually falls off the sole. You may also not have followed our previous advice and have forgotten to change the bonbouts of your shoes, which will be worn to the point of no return …
Whatever the reason, the wear and tear of your heel blocks does not mean the end of your precious shoes. Your craftsman shoemaker can replace them with new blocks that he can cut to the shape of your sole, and color according to the color of your leather.
THE FAMILY RESSEMELAGE
The ultimate repair that a shoemaker can achieve to revive tired shoes, the reshaping is – as the name suggests – to completely replace the worn soles with new soles.
How do you know if your pair needs to be reshaped? Here are some symptoms that will put you in your ear:
broken mounting wire – often due to missing or worn-out pads, or insufficient greasing of the mounting wire,
outsole that burrows in front – exacerbated version of the previous symptom, which can also appear if your irons are worn or to the absent subscribers,
hole in the sole – here too, the lack or advanced wear of skates is involved.
We will count between 110 and 160 € following the fitting of your shoes. This rate will include the change of the bonbouts. Your shoemaker may sometimes suggest you change only the half-sole, if he believes that the part under the block heel can still hold up. The addition will be lightened.
THE FINAL WORD…
The history of shoes is almost as old as that of Man. However, it is only since the beginning of the last century that the leather shoe definitely supplants the wooden shoe. Ready-to-wear, which appeared about fifty years later, helped to standardize styles and trends.
When buying a new pair, a few precautions can keep it longer, from the installation of the skate and horseshoes at the heel bonbout. Then it will be up to you! Small habits and regular maintenance will maximize their life.
Finally, in case of big problems, your shoemaker is never far away. Good shoes are repaired, so ask your craftsman before replacing them!