How to improve upon brogue perfection

If you think back to a week or to before Xmas, you’ll recall that I reported on the stroke of luck I had in finding a pair of Custom Grade brogues by Church in my local Salvation Army charity shop. A truly remarkable find, and even more remarkable in that they were my size as well. A pair of shoes that normally retail for around 400 pounds, lightly used and only 25 pounds. Rare luck indeed! And given that these are the first halfway decent pair of shoes I’ve seen in this shop in 4 years, I think the chance is slim of a repeat find.

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The brogues as found, before any attentions.

Anyhow, while the shoes themselves were magnificent examples of quality British brogues, I wasn’t too happy with the leather sole. A trial run round the house showed that they were slippy on hard wood flooring, and I’m really not convinced leather soles are the right thing for my sort of usage. I use my shoes, and you never know when it will rain. Considering I already have 2 pairs of Grenson brogues with commando soles, this time I wanted something different. A bit of research (and consulting with shoe maestro Scratch) convinced me that classic Dainite soles would be a nice choice for these.

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Lightly worn original leather soles

British brogues deserve the attention of a proper and experienced shoemaker, and where better to find one than in Great Britain? I had previously taken notice of Shoehealer in Doncaster, being both a shoemaker and seller of an astonishing range of quality shoes. I popped an email to them asking for a quote and received a very favourable reply. So off the Churches went, back over the ocean, to be treated to new soles.

Richard, partner of Shoehealer, kindly agreed to document the process (as I was incredible curious as to what would be done to my shoes), so I’ll let him take over from here.

Thank you, Richard and Anthony, you did a truly excellent job on my lucky brogues!

‘Your Shoes’ with the original Leather Sole fitted and part worn, and now at Shoehealer in the UK having the leather sole replaced with a more durable Rubber ‘Dainite’ Sole.

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All shoes will have a ticket attached, detailing the customers name, and details of the work required.

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This model, the ‘Chetwynd’ would usually have a Single Leather Sole fitted. In this instance, we created a thin leather Mid-Sole, to serve as a base for the new Dainite Sole. This Mid-Sole was created by scouring down the original Leather Outsole to around 2.5mm.
This was possible as the original Leather Sole had very little wear. If the original sole was worn too far, we could have fitted a new leather Mid-Sole.
Adding the Mid-Sole will increase the durability and make the shoe a little more sturdy without upsetting the balance or weight of the shoe.
The pictures show the original Heel Blocks removed, which are discarded.

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All of the original Welt stitching is removed and ‘Contact Adhesive’ applied. The Dainite soles are bonded in place, before being ‘rough trimmed’ ready for the Welt Stitching.
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With the Soles Stitched in place (Shoehealer use a Goodyear Outsole Stitching Machine), the Heel part and the Leather Heel Stacks have ‘Contact Adhesive’ applied, before the Heel Stacks are carefully positioned.
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 The shoes are them placed on a ‘Press’, which applies pressure of around 3.5 Bar (147 psi) which ensures every part of the Heel Block is firmly in place.
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The Heel Blocks are ‘Rough Trimmed’ and ‘Ring Shank’ (serrated) Nails are used to add extra security to the Heel Black. These Nails are fixed using a ‘Long Tube Heel Attatcher’.
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Richard, Business Partner at Shoehealer checking work in progress, and ensuring exacting standards are met.
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After final Sole Edge Trimming, a Liquid Stain is applied before a Hard Wax finish in a complementing colour.
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The shoes have the Uppers Hand Polished before they are sent back to a happy customer
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17 Responses to “How to improve upon brogue perfection”

  1. Brian in Alberta

    Nice post and great shoes. I now have only one pair of boots with leather soles. They’re good for one more season and then I’ll retire them. After that, unless something special comes my way – as it did for you – I will only be buying rubber soles. It’s my understanding leather soles stayed in use after the introduction of rubber versions because the shoe manufacturers didn’t like having to buy soles from the rubber companies. And of course leather soles later became “traditional”.

    Reply
  2. Ørjan Nordheim Skår

    Great article! You are the only fashion blogger from Norway worth to follow! Great style!

    Reply

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