One, two, buckle my shoe, or at least repair it somehow
July 20, 2012 2:12 AM   Subscribe

Does anybody know of a cobbler anywhere in London or the south-east of England who can repair a sandal with a broken rivet closure, or else replace the rivet closure with a buckle closure?

I bought a pair of Aerosoles Heirlooms by international order.

As you can imagine, the shipping cost was nearly 100% of the cost of the sandals, and then I had a nearly £20 customs fee to get them delivered once they arrived in the UK. It was a big risk but I figured it would be worth it as I am totally fed up with having uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes and I had heard enough good things about Aerosoles that I thought it was worth the risk. It was a long, long, long and very expensive business, but I finally got my sandals.

Well, apart from the heel being very loose and the toe-strap being very tight... I solved that by having as many extra holes punched as possible to tighten the fastening, and Vaselining my toes so that the toe-strap didn't give me another blister, by the second wearing I had successfully worked around all the problems and I had a really nice, comfy pair of sandals at last.

Lightheaded with success against incredible odds, I went to put them on for their third glorious wearing. Only to find that the cap had come off the rivet closure on the right shoe, so that there was no way of holding the fastening closed. I tried tucking the strap in but of course it unfurled and the shoe was just flapping unsecured on my foot.

I took it to a specialist cobbler in Oxford, the kind that was established in 1242 and promises the very finest of shoe repair services to the gentry. Of course, they told me that repairing the rivet closure was out of the question. I actually believe that part, because of prior experience with trying to get that kind of closure repaired.

I then asked them if it would be possible to work around it by replacing the rivet closure with a buckle fastening. They said no, they couldn't.

I actually don't see why this would be physically impossible at all. Is it really the case that no cobbler would ever be able to remove a rivet and sew a buckle fastening onto the strap where it was?

If there is a cobbler that could do this, who are they and where?
posted by tel3path to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
I know nothing of London, but you might try calling 1. immigrant cobblers - more likely to have patching skills and to work on women's shoes; 2. custom leather places, like the ones who do work for teh gays - there's a place here in MPLS that does both quotidienne shoe repair and pretty serious men's fetish stuff and they're pretty good about buckles and odd jobs.
posted by Frowner at 6:22 AM on July 20, 2012

If you can't get them fixed, shoot me a memail. I am in Atlanta (big retail town!) and will be crossing the pond this fall. If nothing else, I can try to find you a replacement pair & toss them in my suitcase. If you could get to London to grab them, that might work & be cheaper than OMG shipping and customs.
posted by pointystick at 6:54 AM on July 20, 2012

You could also try calling a tack shop to see if know anyone that could help you.
posted by Requiax at 10:44 AM on July 20, 2012

Timpsons have been able to fix a surprising variety of shoe issues for me, and they're ubiquitous on high streets.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2012

Okay, you know those little cardboard mini-drawers with the metal knobs? One fell off just now. It was like the eureka moment on The Closer or something. I applied it to the empty screw and then worked it through the hole in the strap.

Now if I could get it out of the hole, and get it to adhere to the empty screw, I'd be getting somewhere. And if I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

Unfortunately Timpsons have turned me down, and I've tried all the shoe and leather repair places in the centre of Oxford (including one tack shop), so I'm going to try to get this home repair to work, and if it doesn't I'm going to get systematic with the other suggestions.
posted by tel3path at 4:17 PM on July 20, 2012

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