Where should I send my shoes for repair?
August 10, 2011 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Should I get my shoes fixed in Toronto (and if so, where?) or send them back to their maker for restoration?

I have some shoes made by Alden that are tan shell cordovan. While on vacation I had to wear the shoes when it was really wet outside so I bought a pair of overshoes/galoshes. When I took these overshoes off later on I saw they had left black marks on my shoes which wouldn't come off with a damp cloth.

Not wanting to ruin the shoes myself I went to a high end menswear store (Harry Rosen) and asked for a recommendation for a repair place. The repair place took my shoes and when I got them back I found they had spray painted/dyed them a slightly different colour. What's worse is that after wearing the shoes a couple of times even this colour started to come off, making the shoes unwearable.

Does anyone know where I can get these shoes fixed properly in the Toronto area? In this context fixed properly means removing the sprayed dye as well as the black marks from the shoe.

The other option is sending these back to Alden for restoration. Does anyone have experience with Alden's restoration, and is it appropriate for what I need done to the shoes? The website makes it seem like it's more about resoling the shoe and giving the leather a nice polish which isn't quite what I need. It also seems to be a fairly long process - 4+ weeks.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total)
What I've heard on the internets is that Alden's repair service is no better than that of a good cobbler - it's a nice service if you don't have someone handy, and the advantage is that they can use the original last when they're resoling, but it's not sui generis.

Why not email Alden for advice? Or one of the specialist shops that retails Aldens- Alden of Carmel is unfailingly helpful.

I bet the place that repaired your shoes had no experience of cordovan. Lots of places don't.

As a shoe snob (with, admittedly, secondhand Aldens snagged in a lucky Ebay auction) I truly do feel for you.
posted by Frowner at 11:28 AM on August 10, 2011

Yes, me too. That sounds like a nightmare, and all my shell shoes are thrift shop finds.

I'd honestly send them back to Alden. They're likely to cost more, but be significantly less likely to mess the shoes up. Cleaning and treating shell is much different from doing the same with cowhide, and unless you know the place has experience with it, they might not even have the right materials.
posted by OmieWise at 12:37 PM on August 10, 2011

It's not a shoe repair/cobbler, but you might want to try Dove Cleaners in Yorkville - one of their specialities is leather, and their website lists 'shoes' as a service. (They did a great job of cleaning and re-dyeing a leather purse of mine.)
posted by Kololo at 7:24 PM on August 10, 2011

You might try Novelty Shoe Rebuilders on Young street between King and Queen.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 9:02 PM on August 10, 2011

I came to recommend Novelty on Yonge.

Nick's Shoe Repair on Dupont at St George is anoth high quality option.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 5:12 AM on August 11, 2011

The shoes have been to Novelty - they may be good in general but that's where bad became worse for my shoes.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2011

In Getting boots resoled in Toronto I recommended Bay-Bloor Shoe Repair (located where you'd expect), and I bet for your problem they'd also do a good job, or tell you if they couldn't.
posted by wdenton at 8:01 PM on August 13, 2011

Went to Bay-Bloor and they did a good job of removing the dye-job from Novelty but weren't able to remove the black marks, and were doubtful that it could be done. I've contacted Alden so will see if they think they can do it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2011

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