I know you’ve got sole – my first brogues redone

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A while back I wrote a couple of posts about my Church brogues. First about discovering them in a local charity shop and discovering how appropriate they were for me, and then the process of having them resoled to make them more usable to me.

Being utterly enchanted with the result of the freshly ruggedized fancy shoes, I was in no doubt about what needed to be done when my knockabout brogues were starting to display signs of distress. The problems aren’t readily apparent, as see on the photo below, but my fastidious eyes saw trouble looming. Back to Shoehealer they must go!

Not surer-expensive or super-fancy, but still solid knockabout brogues!

Not surer-expensive or super-fancy, but still solid knockabout brogues!

The brogues in question are a pair of reasonably priced brogues by One True Saxon, a British brand that was known for decent clothes, before going downhill, disappearing, and possibly resurrected again. In any case, these are about three years old and have seen a lot of use. They are of a pleasing design and nicely worn it, and never fail to gather plenty of likes when displayed on Instagram, so there was never any question of not fixing them up.

The main failures were as follows:

  • The heel layers were parting, and kept needing glueing
  • Stitching was coming apart on the uppers
  • The heels had worn through the rubber sole
The original soles were rubber over leather, but pretty much zero grip. Guys need traction!

The original soles were rubber over leather, but pretty much zero grip. Guys need traction!

So, fixing they needed, and I wanted to upgrade a little. The flat, featureless original rubber sole was always a bit useless. No grip, and boring as a flat rubber sole can be. I’m a big fan of the classic commando-style sole of the country brogue. This is as used on my Grenson’s and my Ice-Cutters. It does have it’s problems, but it’s still a distinct and hard-wearing sole with lots of grip. Totally awesome in today’s harsh office environments. It shows you have the right rugged and pioneering spirit and will not settle for second best. Or so I like to think.

Some stitching coming apart as well. Does not bode well unless fixed!

Some stitching coming apart as well. Does not bode well unless fixed!

So, with a brief note explaining the woes of the enclosed, off they went by post to Shoehealer in Doncaster in England.

And after a suitable period of time had passed, they appeared back at the mansion. And with great anticipation they were unwrapped for inspection!

After a vacation at Shoehealer in Doncaster in the North of England, the brogues are back, suitably refreshed.

After a vacation at Shoehealer in Doncaster in the North of England, the brogues are back, suitably refreshed.

And quite wonderful they are too! The uppers are stitched, the heels entirely rebuilt, and the soles are immaculately clad in fresh new Goodyear brand rubber. Ready for years of further use and enjoyment.

Now that's much better! Freshly resoled with a proper commando lug sole with heaps of traction.

Now that’s much better! Freshly resoled with a proper commando lug sole with heaps of traction.

This, folks, is why we spend a little more and get shoes that are made properly. Get a pair of cheap shoes and you’ll toss them out when issues appear. Get a pair of slightly more expensive Goodyear-welted shoes (i.e. that the soles are stitched on and replaceable), and you can get them fixed. This is the way of the proper gentleman, stylish and sustainable. There is much to be said for buying good stuff, keeping it a long time and repairing it when needed. Save the environment one resole at a time?

Now only resoled, but also the heels have been rebuilt as works of art.

Now only resoled, but also the heels have been rebuilt as works of art.

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10 Comments

  • Rob 26/09/2016 at 18:37

    They look great. You’re right about One True Saxon. Once Ian Paley (ex Paul Smith) left and the brand was sold to Scotts that was the end. Though I think they had started to decline sometime before that. In their day they really offered something a bit different without breaking the bank.

    Reply
  • Kris 10/11/2016 at 13:54

    Hello there I have a pair of Boots with a Dainite looking sole, they are really good boots with a good year welt. I would like to soles like the ones above put on but I have no idea what to ask my cobbler for, I live in cornwall and I think my choices are limited so any information I can pass on to my cobbler would be fantastic.

    Thank you in advance

    Kris

    Reply
  • Paul Kruize 12/02/2018 at 11:13

    Looking great Nick! Made me re-think on the issue of leather versus rubber. I have a pair of Grenson boots with a commando sole which are great for the colder months. Also a pair of Grenson brogues, Sid longwings, with leather soles. They look great, but it can be like skating sometimes… I do like Grenson, and their price compared to Trickers and Cheaney, but the thing is their Dainite brogues have a full rubber heel, which I think is a shame. Isn’t life hard for those of us who care about the little details? 😉

    Reply
    • nick 12/02/2018 at 11:26

      I have to admit, again, that I really don’t get on well with leather soles. They’re slippy, they wear, I feel terrible if it’s even damp outside, and it just seems like a really bad idea. On the other hand, given the prevalence of them, and especially among the better and more expensive brands, I feel like somewhere I’m missing the point. To me though, rubber soles, be they Dainite, Commando or otherwise means I can actually use the shoes and enjoy them. And yes, we are total nerds on this stuff 🙂 Though I’m not sure buying a pair of cheap and cheerful one-season and they’re used up shoes is a great alternative either?

      Reply
  • Paul Kruize 12/02/2018 at 11:31

    Agree on your preference! What I meant is that a Dainite or Commando looks better with a leather heel in between, like on this pair you had redone as opposed to a full rubber heel. Seems a bit poor on a good brogue…

    Reply
    • nick 12/02/2018 at 11:33

      Oh, definitely! A finely layered heel of leather positively reeks of sophistication and craftsmanship, where a solid rubber heel just looks like a quick and dirty solution. I have the same thing about felled seams on the inside of jeans legs. Overlocked seams just feel (literally and mentally) to be the cheap and easy solution. Where do you stand on that?

      Reply
  • Paul Kruize 12/02/2018 at 11:39

    Totally on the same page Nick! There’s no cutting corners as far as I’m concerned. Maybe I’d rather have a pair of old brogues updated decently than buy some new that are not done properly.

    Reply
    • nick 12/02/2018 at 11:49

      A pair of lovely old quality brogues with a good resole job sounds at least as nice as a brand new pair. Cheaper as well. And like many things in life, a pair of brogues with a bit of wear and polish on them can also look very much nicer than a pristine fresh pair!

      Reply
  • Paul Kruize 12/02/2018 at 11:52

    Again, agree!

    Reply

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