A Concierges Guide to London Cobblers
The concierges of world renowned London hotels Claridges and The Berkeley have divulged their secrets on where to find the best services for caring for your vintage.
This article on the best London cobblers to care for your vintage footwear is brought to you by the concierge of 5 star London hotel Claridges.
There are numerous things you can do to take care of your vintage footwear, if your shoes are made of good quality leather there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get some excellent wear out of them by taking the right steps.
Though it may sound obvious, consider where you will be wearing your shoes, for example should you be outdoors all day in bad weather avoid delicate shoes or wearing suede.
How you store your footwear also has a huge impact. Try to store your shoes in boxes so they do not get squashed or damaged. It is also recommended to keep delicate vintage shoes out of the light as this can cause damage. In between trips to the cobblers you should also try and make sure you keep the moisture in your shoes with regular polishing as leather can crack and weaken if allowed to become too dry.
‘James Taylor & Son’ is an excellent establishment to take your vintage footwear. Their experience dates back to the 19th century and they benefit from a full understanding of the shoe making process as they also design and create bespoke footwear to order. A family outlet, they are well practiced in shoe repairs and should be able to restore your vintage purchases as close as possible to their former glory.
A common issue with vintage footwear is that often the shoes can be a little narrow, here a stretching service is provided for exactly this problem. They will be able to widen your shoes without compromising the leather, which is a far safer option then attempting to widen shoes through wear or at home.
They also provide good quality standard repairs on uppers and soles. Uniquely they also provide minor shoe alteration services such as fitting t-straps. Should the leather of your vintage shoes have become too soft and stretched over the years they are also able to take them in to fit you perfectly. Services such as this are exactly what is needed to ensure longevity in older footwear.
‘Merrifield’s of London’ is another outstanding provider of quality footwear care and alterations. A family-run business based in South London they have over 30 years experience in footwear and provide a full range of services.
As well as providing the traditional services such as heel and sole replacement they can provide orthopaedic adaptations. Vintage footwear can prove troublesome for those who require a little extra support, and therefore these types of alterations can be a blessing. If you require a supportive insole but wish to purchase some vintage foot wear, consider giving Merrifield’s a call to see how they can help. With a few adjustments you should be able to make the changes required.
Although they have a factory based in South East London our last recommendation does not have a physical outlet. Instead you can send your shoes to ‘1st Class Shoe Repairs’ free of charge, and they will call you with recommendations and pricing upon the shoes arrival.
Their service is highly commended and unlike the other services mentioned they focus solely on repairs. They are also happy to take on speciality repairs beyond the standard heel and sole replacements. They can also handle extreme repairs that may need to be done such as a full reconstruction. This is a rare service which could prove particularly handy to vintage footwear owners. It may be an idea to go over your shoes prior to sending them to get a good idea of exactly what you want done for when they call to receive your requirements. Try to take measurements of your feet if your adjustments are regarding the fit and size of your shoes. If need be they also handle damaged handbags, belts and briefcases.