How do I fix a bent stiletto heel?
July 17, 2006 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Alas, the 3 1/2-inch stiletto heel on one of my glorious Calvin Klein brown suede pumps has broken, after a year of intensive catwalking on NYC pavement. The steel rod inside the heel bent in half. I tried to straighten it out with a vise, but the heel bent again as soon as I tried to walk on it. The shoe repair guy I went to claimed it's impossible to fix. But I know I can fix it by replacing the steel rod. Any ideas on where to find one?
posted by zembla3 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your pumps sound divine. What is the diameter of the steel rod?
posted by LoriFLA at 10:50 AM on July 17, 2006

Can you post a picture or two? I don't know anything about shoes but their might be a generic substitution or a way to replicate it easily.
posted by Mitheral at 11:06 AM on July 17, 2006

I'm drooling over the description of your shoes.

Try calling CK directly. Tell them how much you love, adore, and worship these shoes, and by the way, please can you help me get them fixed?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2006

If it's just a straight mild-steel rod, all one diameter - go to a hardware store.

If it has to be really stiff, go to a machine shop, especially one that does die making. They'll have pieces of hard steel pins that they've cut off, and don't have a use for.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:12 AM on July 17, 2006

I'd go to a new shoe repair guy. "Impossible to fix" might just mean he doesn't want to be bothered with it.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:32 AM on July 17, 2006

Go to a engine rebuilder for an old intake exhaust valve from a motorcycle
posted by hortense at 11:37 AM on July 17, 2006

posted by mr_roboto at 11:47 AM on July 17, 2006

Former shoemaker here.

Stiletto heels are usually made with a metal tube at the center of the heel, around which styrene plastic, or sometimes wood, is formed to make the final heel shape. Another small piece, called the "lift" or "toplift" is the cap which touches the ground, and which wears out (pretty quickly) on high heels. The lift is replacable, the tube embedded in the heel is generally not. Cobblers will sometimes replace broken high heels on women's shoes, but rarely want to undertake the same repairs on stiletto shoes, because the higher the heel, the greater the forces created on the heel by even the slight mis-alignments of normal walking, and the higher the probability of subsequent breakage, and even serious injury to the wearer. It's also very difficult to find replacement heels of exact profile to the old one, and which can still be covered approriately to make an attractive repair. Finally, the customer rarely wants to pay the bill for the work involved in these kinds of repairs, which are more minor art engineering projects, than cobbling.

So, if the tube is bent or broken in the damaged heel, the possibility for repair at all is pretty limited. But if you're willing to spend about as much as the shoes cost originally, you can try your luck with the shops listed on this page.
posted by paulsc at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

If they're only a year old, try scouting a new pair on ebay. you can set up a saved search that will email you every time a pair is listed that might be the same model you have. I'd suggest the following for the search:

Calvin (klein,klien) brown (stillettos,stiletos,stilletos,stilettos,stilletto,stileto,stilleto,stiletto,shoe,shoes,heels,heel,pump,pumps) 8.5

(for example if your shoe size is 8.5)
That way you'll catch any auctions where the person didn't use good keywords in the title, or misspelled stiletto. I'd leave out the suede part in the search since there won't be too many results to comb through, and a seller might not have listed suede in the title.

Or if they are that near and dear to your heart, hire a concierge to scout out a pair for you. But that could be a mighty price to pay.
posted by saffron at 3:47 PM on July 17, 2006

If you decide to fix it and you're looking for a store rec, the people who can do it and do a haute couture job are at Arty's (8th between 22nd and 23rd). I've brought some pretty strange shoe repair problems to them and they're always known how to handle it. They also specialize in upscale shoes- in fact, my friend was told by the Prada store that she should take her broken heel to Arty's because they'd do a better job replacing it.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:36 AM on July 19, 2006

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