Do you know of a good cobbler? No, I’m not talking about peach cobbler. I’m talking about shoe repair. These days, many people are trying to get more creative with saving money, and one good, but often overlooked, way is shoe repair – shoe cobbling is the official term.
Pure thrift isn’t the only reason to repair instead of buy shoes, though. Comfort is another; if you’ve got a pair of shoes that fit – like a glove? – or that makes you feel like a million dollars, then think about repairing them instead of hoping and praying that the replacement will look and feel just as good.
Of course, the costs and benefits of shoe repair are going to largely depend on what type of shoe it is. $50 athletic shoes aren’t worth more than a quick, shoe-glue fix. Your $200 dress shoes or boots, on the other hand, are worth a cobble or two.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair Shoes?
Shoe repair can be as simple and cheap or complex and expensive as you want it to be, but, like your shoes themselves, you usually get what you pay for. A Los Angeles Times article on cobbling suggests, “A handy rule of thumb is this: If a repair costs less than half the price of new shoes, repair the old ones.” I’d add that you can pay a little more than that if the shoes are really worth it to you.
You can replace just about any part of a shoe, kind of like a car, and prices are definitely going to vary, so you’ll want to do some research. Below are some of the common shoe repairs and their accompanying ballpark prices.
- Heel – It can be rubber, leather or a combination of the two and will cost roughly $10–$40 to replace.
- Heel base – If you wore through the heel and part of the base, it can still be repaired, but it’s going to cost more.
- High heels – Replacing these can be as easy as pulling out the old heel tip and replacing it yourself.
- Sole – Do you need a half or whole sole replacement? Soles are usually repaired along with the heel for $45–$80 total.
- Insoles/footbeds – You can buy new gel insoles or have them professionally replaced. $20+
- Welt – This is the material that’s attached to the shoe upper and to which the sole is then attached. $15+
- Sole protectors – This is a thin piece of rubber that goes over the leather sole to make it last longer. $15+
- Shoe stretch – Your shoes can actually be stretched if they’re just a little too small for your feet. $15+
- Cleaning, shining and dyeing – There’s a variety of options available depending on what you want. $5+
Repair or Replace?
Deciding to repair over replacing your shoes is about more than just the cost. Different cobblers will make the repair in different ways and with different materials, so a cheaper repair may not be worth the money. Conversely, sometimes a shoe repair will last longer than the factory job if the cobbler is using high-quality materials.
Dan’s Shoe Repair explains that repairs can save you a lot of money in the long run if you started off with a quality product:
“High quality shoes can be resoled from three to ten times. Quality Men’s heels can be fixed seven to ten times, while quality women’s shoes can typically undergo five to eight heel fixes. Uppers made from a high quality material last longer and can also be repaired numerous times.
It is possible to get more than 20 years of life out of high quality shoes that you choose to repair. This makes it less expensive for you to repair your footwear rather than discard shoes and purchase new ones.”
A CBS Minnesota writer did a shoe repair experiment with her favorite boots and found that to repair them would cost about half of what she paid for them – but it would’ve cost less if she’d properly maintained them all along.
So the skinny is you can save money in the long run by repairing quality shoes instead of wearing them out and then replacing them. But you need to perform basic shoe maintenance along the way and find a good cobbler before your shoes are completely worn out.
What kind of shoe repair experience or advice do you have for us? Do you have a question we didn’t answer here? Let us know!