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Sole me Sole

The sole is the most forgotten part of the shoe, step on me, make me step into all kinds of stuff, wet or dry, cold or hot, the sole is the main reason you can wear a shoe.  But I am leather, just skin in the game, that’s me.  Down here on the bottom of your shoe where the leather meets the road.  Your Fugawee shoe is a leather soled shoe and not a modern composite, it wears a lot faster than rubber.

It is important that re-soling of leather shoes happens in a timely fashion.  That’s because there is a point of no return and you have a ruined shoe.  A Fugawee shoe only moderately abused but properly taken care of will give you ten or more years of service.

Care maintenance: When you get back home from an event, check your shoes, clean them and use a good dressing to return the oils to the leather that have evaporated.  Use shoe forms to help keep the shape of your shoe while they rest for the next event.

What is happening to your sole?

The method we use is a McKay stitching in our shoes.  At the time, this was the primary method of shoe construction as the welting process, that didn’t come in till 1869.  The thread is pulled into the leather at the skive line.  These are leather soles and will need to be re-soled from time to time.  This will give you longer use of any pair instead of having to replace them when the uppers are fine.

The US Army figured three months in the field was all that a pair of shoes would be useful.  If you’re spending a lot of time on concrete or asphalt, this is hard wear and will tear apart the leather fibers, in other words, this will wear out the soles faster.  This does not happen with modern rubber soles.  The period correct fix is hobnails and or heel plates (I find all hobnails are better on asphalt).  This will give you a grip on the rough ground beside letting your leather sole last longer.

How to tell when you need a re-sole.

Turn the shoe upside down and look at it toe first. You will see on any pair of new leather soled shoes there is an arch acting like a toenail. As you walk the leather wears off, it will flatten out. (Just like thinning the top of toenail to prevent an ingrown nail.)  When it gets to that point, you want to push in/down on the middle of the sole.  If it is giving/getting soft. Then it’s time to have them re-soled.

What to Do!

Get them re-soled it’s what you have to do.

According to Steven at Dons’ shoe repair our local shoe repair shop:

  • Frayed thread on bottom… that’s the time to save your sole. You have gone as far as you should to keep the shoe in good repair.
  • Smiling seam: yes that is fixable. When a sole has worn down to the stitching, the upper and lower soles separate (Usually happens to the toe so it looks like the shoe is smiling). Time to take them in for repair.
  • A hole through the outer sole. (Some shoes have two layers of Sole leather) Maybe this can fixed. Check with the repair shop.
  • Holes all the way through….. Too late the shoe is good for potting plants.

The nonperiod fix is to have them 3/4 soled with rubber (that’s the heel and sole). This usually referred to as Sole Saver.  The rubber sole material can be smooth, of the same color as the original leather sole or black to match the uppers.  It is almost undetectable and the footing is so much better less slipping and sliding.

Now just a heel minute or Heel..@#%! Heel.

Because we’re looking at your sole, it is a good time to check out the wear on your heels.

Is it just at the back? Or is there wear on the outside or the inside of the heel? This would show “Pronation” or “Supination”.  If action isn’t taken it could mean that with further wear, the heel cup could slip sideways and accentuate the pronation or supination of the ankle, you may already have.  It will seem like you are walking on your ankles, and that is not far from the truth. We had one client that his heels were almost on the ground.

If you have a Fugawee shoe on and it’s hurting your feet, please call us. We don’t like people walking around in Fugawee’s and their feet hurting.

It may be time for the heels to have a facelift. The same material (Sole Saver) can be used for new heels. Some repair shops carry both colors and others have to order the natural color.

Lots of folks, like to use heel plates and or hobnails.  This can prolong the wear, as we all know that iron takes longer to wear down than leather.  But check those additions too, not as often, but they will after a while show the same wear as the leather.  After all, they had no place but your tootsies to learn that from.

How long should a set of soles last?

The US army figured three months in the field was all the time a pair of shoes was good. If you’re spending time on concrete or asphalt a lot this will wear out the soles faster. The period correct fix is hobnails and or heel plates. (I find all hobnails are better on asphalt.) But check with your commander which they will allow. Hobnail and heel plates can be like ice skates at first on hard surfaces and really mess up wooden dance floors.  You may need a plain pair just for the Balls. But going up a grassy hill you can’t find anything better.

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