Call 905-895-4220
17600 Yonge St., Newmarket
Upper Canada Mall: Lower Level by the Bay

THINK GREEN.
THINK SHOE REPAIR.




 



ADDRESS: 17600 Yonge St.
Upper Canada Mall
Lower Level by the Bay
Newmarket    L3Y 4Z1

Invest in Shoe Repair and Shoe Care
 

Footwear isn't just part of your wardrobe, it is an investment. Spend your money wisely and the return will be more value for your dollar, more comfort, better foot health and even a sense that you are helping the environment.

As with all investing, it is wise to have a counselor to make sure your money is well spent and continues to pay dividends. In the footwear arena, that counselor is a professional at The Art of Shoe Repair.

Shoe repair and shoe care make sense for several reasons. First, shoe repair adds value to your footwear investment.

Quality, well-maintained men's shoes can be resoled seven to 10 times at a fraction of the cost of new shoes. With new soles and heels, and reconditioned uppers, the shoes will look like new, yet retain that broken-in, comfortable feel. It is not uncommon for a man to get 30 years out of a good pair of shoes. Quality women's shoes can be resoled three to five times.

Shoe repair can also alleviate a variety of physical problems. Worn heels will change your gait. When you are not walking properly, your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back can all suffer.

Improper fit causes calluses, corns and bunions. At The Art of Shoe Repair we offer stretching services and fitting aids to alleviate those problems. Typically, we can stretch a shoe from a D to a EE in width. We can also add more space for toes or raise an instep. We can even stretch the calves on boots. If your shoes are too loose, you can pick up heel grips, tongue pads and insoles to create a better fit.

Another reason to have a shoe repair and shoe care routine is your appearance. Do you want to get ahead in the workplace? A nationwide survey showed that 89 percent of business recruiters rate good grooming as very important to becoming a senior executive. The most common mistake for men, and the second most common for women, is unkempt shoes.

On a personal level, two out of three young female professionals say unkempt shoes suggest negative characteristics about men in social situations. Half of the men feel the same about women with sloppy footwear. The most frequent negative character traits suggested were sloppiness, indifference to good grooming and to detail in general, and carelessness.

Shoes are a reflection of their owner's personality. That's what both personnel professionals -- who have been known to observe people closely -- and white collar workers (the people they usually observe) said. Well kept shoes stand for professionalism, attention to detail, ambition, efficiency, conscientiousness, organization, confidence and even friendliness.

Finally, shoe repair is among the oldest forms of recycling. Each year, the shoe repair industry keeps some 62 million pairs of shoes out of landfills and on consumers' feet. So next time you invest in footwear, get some advice from a professional at The Art of Shoe Repair.
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Selecting Quality Footwear
 

Purchasing footwear isn't just a fashion decision. It is a decision that affects your comfort and health both in the short term and over a period of years. Quality, repairable footwear gives your feet the support they need to bear up to their daily burden. It is a renewable resource that eases the burden on your bank account. It even eases the burden on the environment by staying in service for years instead of clogging landfills.

There are three keys to choosing quality footwear. First, look for a shoe with solid construction that will give your feet the support they need. Next, look for quality materials that will make your feet comfortable and keep them healthy. Finally, make sure you buy shoes that fit properly.

Solid Construction

Two important elements to look for in the construction of a men's shoe are a steel shank and a hard heel counter. The shank supports the arches so feet can stand up to their workload. The counter provides additional support for people who walk to the outside and break down a shoe.

Women are more prone to problems than men because the styles they wear are often bad for their feet. Flat shoes with rounded toes are much better than high heels. A steel shank for arch support is preferable and a leather lining will keep the shoes from spreading out as soon as you wear them.

Natural Materials

Quality materials mean comfort and durability. Always look for uppers made of leather or some other natural material. Leather allows your feet to breathe and moisture to escape. Vinyl and other synthetics trap heat and moisture. Your feet will be hot and the trapped moisture makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Linings, insoles and fillers should be made of natural materials for the same reasons.

Soles should be leather or composition rubber. Leather allows the shoes to breathe. Rubber is longer wearing and increases slip resistance. Also, rubber heels are best for wear, comfort and slip resistance.

Proper Fit

Shoes that don't fit can cause a variety of problems from blisters, corns and calluses, to foot, leg and back pain Her are some tips on finding shoes that fit.

First, quality shoes come in sizes and widths. Some brands come in medium widths only. People with narrow feet buying shoes with a medium width have to fit the shoes short to keep them on their heels. When you take a step, your foot elongates by 1/3 of an inch. That is a full shoe size. If your shoes are fit short, your toes have nowhere to go when you walk and you end up with toe problems.

People who have wide feet buy medium width shoes extra long in order to fit their feet. When this happens, the shank, designed to be under the arch of the foot, is actually under the ball. The shoes don't bend easily and they slip at the heel.

When you are trying on shoes, make sure the wide part of your foot sits in the wide part of the shoe. Allow 3/8 to 1/2 inch of free space in the toe area. Also, try on shoes at the end of the day when you feet are the largest and, if you are like most people who have one foot slightly larger than the other, fit your larger foot.

Ask for Information

Unfortunately, not everything we mentioned can be seen with a visual inspection. Shanks and fillers are inside the shoe -- between the sole and the insole. Genuine and imitation leather are difficult to tell apart at a glance. Rubber and plastic will also look alike to the untrained eye.

However, manufacturers that use quality materials like to talk about them. Ask for literature when you are considering a purchase. If no literature is available, ask the salesperson for more information. If the sales person can't answer your questions, it's time to look elsewhere.
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Shoe Care for Consumers
 

Investing a few minutes each month in shoe care is the best thing you can do to protect your footwear investment. Combined with regular visits to The Art of Shoe Repair, shoe care will significantly extend the life of your favorite shoes.

Many people think shoe care means polish shoes occasionally. Actually, it is slightly more involved than that. Caring for your shoes is a four-step process -- cleaning, conditioning, polishing and weatherproofing.

The first step in shoe care is to clean the surface with a leather cleaner to remove surface dirt, just as you would wash a car before you wax it. After cleaning, you should condition the leather. Conditioners soften and lubricate leather, keeping it feeling and looking new.

Once the shoes have been cleaned and conditioned, then it is time for polish. Polishes contain dyes and pigments to renew color and cover scuffs; waxes to provide shine and protection; and conditioning agents to moisten and renew the leather.

There are basically three types of polish -- liquid, cream and paste. Liquids are easiest to apply, followed by cream and paste. Ease of application, however, is inversely proportional to wax content and the staying power of the polish. Pastes hold up the longest. Creams are easier to apply than paste, hold up longer than liquids and come in a variety of fashionable colors.

The final shoe care step is weatherproofing. Though polishes provide some sealing qualities, if you live or work in a wet, muddy or oily environment, the added protection of a weatherproofer is a must.

Suede and Nubuck

The key to keeping suede and nubuck in top shape is preventative maintenance. Before you wear the shoes, protect them with a water and stain repellent designed specifically for suede and nubuck. As soon as you notice that water is no longer beading up, spray them again.

Use a plastic or rubber-tipped brush regularly to restore the nap and remove surface dirt before it sets in. Be gentle brushing nubuck. It is softer than suede and is easily damaged. With oiled nubuck, you need to use a nubuck conditioner to put back some of those oils on a regular basis.

If you get a stain on suede or nubuck, try to remove it immediately with a solvent-based cleaner made specifically for the material. Oil absorbing blocks are also available. These blocks abrade the leather to bring back the nap and remove stains. Use a less aggressive block with nubuck because of its more delicate nature. If you have a serious stain, you might be better off taking the shoe to our shoe repair professionals.

Athletic Shoes

If you have shoes with fabric or suede on the uppers, follow the steps just outlined for suede care. Leather uppers are much easier to clean. Sneaker shampoos with scrubbing applicators remove stains and dirt from the leather surface. If the shoes become scuffed, shoe whitening products restore the original color. At The Art of Shoe Repair our professionals can also use a white spray dye to give a very good finish.

The big problem with athletic shoes is controlling odor. Because these shoes are constructed with foam and other man-made materials, they are ideal places for bacteria to live and grow.

Several deodorizing products are available including insoles, powders and sprays. find a product that absorbs the odor-causing bacteria and counteracts it. A product that simply masks the odor will not solve the problem.

Finally, you can keep your athletic shoes looking and feeling new with replacement parts. New laces do wonders for the appearance and new insoles are often better than the originals.

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The 10 Points of Proper Shoe Fit
 

Selecting a shoe that fits properly is critical. Yet 95 percent of consumers don't wear shoes that fit properly. The reason? Fewer than 10 percent of shoe salespeople have even basic training in foot anatomy or shoe sizing.

Shoes that don't fit can cause a variety of problems from blisters, corns and calluses, to foot, leg and back pain. Here are some tips on finding shoes that fit (from the National Shoe Retailers Association, the Pedorthic Footwear Association and the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society).

  1. Sizes may vary among shoe brands and styles. Don't select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe. Judge the shoe by how it fits on your foot.
  2. Select a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your foot.
  3. Have your feet measured regularly. The size of your feet changes as you grow older.
  4. Have both feet measured. Most people have one foot larger than the other. Fit to the largest foot.
  5. Fit at the end of the day when your feet are the largest.
  6. Stand during the fitting process and check that there is adequate space (3/8 to 1/2 inch) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe.
  7. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortable into the widest part of the shoe.
  8. Do not purchase shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to stretch to fit.
  9. Your heel should fit comfortable in the shoe with a minimum amount of slippage.
  10. Walk in the shoe to make sure it fits and feels right. Fashionable shoes can be comfortable.
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Adding Comfort to Your Life
 

At The Art of Shoe Repair our professionals can make your life a bit more comfortable in several ways. If you have a pair of shoes that is perfectly broken in, our shoe repairers can keep them looking new while maintaining that broken in feel.

If your shoes are too tight, our shoe repairers offer stretching services. Typically, we can stretch a shoe from a D to a EE in width. We can also add more space for toes or raise an instep. We can even stretch the calves on boots.

If your shoes are too loose, you can find the following fitting aids at The Art of Shoe Repair:

Jimmys - are thin pieces of cork, felt or foam designed to go under the sock lining in the forepart of the shoe. If a 7 1/2 is too loose and a 7 is too tight, you can "jimmy" the shoe to make it fit like a 7 1/4.

Heel Cushions - are placed under the sock lining to add comfort under the strike zone of the heel.

Insoles - come in a variety of styles and materials. Flat insoles made of foam or leather add cushioning to the shoe and make loose-fitting shoes tighter. Contour insoles have an arch support and heel built in. They give extra support and hold the foot firmly in place so your foot doesn't slide inside the shoe.

Halters - are oval-shaped pads that go under the ball of the foot. They are made of suede or foam and serve to shift the foot back in the shoe. They are especially useful with open-toed shoes to eliminate toe overhang.

Tongue pads - are applied under the tongue of the shoe and tighten shoes for those with low insteps. They add thickness and cushioning to the shoe.

Heel Grips - are applied to the back of the shoe and help prevent the heel from sliding in and out of the shoe. They also push the foot forward in the shoe.

Pinch Pads - are used wherever the shoe may chafe-especially over the toes where the shoe bends and can sometimes press down into the toes.

Arch supports - provide support under the arch. They reduce foot fatigue by distributing the body's weight evenly on the foot.
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How to Polish Shoes
 

Part 1 of 3: Gathering the Right Materials

1) Choose your polish - Shoe polishes are available in wax, cream and liquid forms. Waxes and creams are heavier and will feed the leather and protect the shoes from water damage. Liquid polishes are good for a quick and easy shine. Shoe polishes are available in a variety of colors -- you can buy specific shades to match the shoes you wish to polish, or you can buy a neutral polish which will work on a variety of shoe colors.

2) Decide whether to use a polishing brush or an old t-shirt - You have a couple of options when it comes to applying your polish. Most people just use an old cotton t-shirt or other soft rag, however it is also possible to get specific polishing brushes with stiff, short bristles. These brushes are included in most shoe polishing kits, which you may choose to invest in. You will also need an old toothbrush or some q-tips to works the polish into hard-to-reach areas.

3) Get your hands on a horsehair brush - A good horsehair shoe shining brush is the one essential tool you need to properly polish your shoes. It has longer, softer bristles than the polishing brush described above. It is used to brush excess polish from the shoes and to really work the remaining polish into the leather.

4) Find a soft, lint-free cloth - If you want to add a shiny finish to your polished shoes, you will need to get your hands on a chamois, which is a type of soft leather cloth. Alternatively, you can use any soft, lint-free cloth, such as an old cotton t-shirt.

5) Cover your work space with newspaper - Polishing shoes is a messy job, so protect your floor and furniture by laying down some old newspaper on your work area. You could also use brown paper bags.

Part 2 of 3: Applying the Polish

1) Clean the shoes - Before you begin polishing, it is important that you first clean your shoes to remove any built up dirt, salt or dust. Otherwise the dirt could get trapped beneath the polish or scratch the surface of the shoes. Brush the shoe vigorously with your horsehair brush to remove any debris.
  • Alternatively, use a dampened cloth to wipe all around the surface of the shoe. Just leave the shoes to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

  • At this point, you may also want to remove the laces from your shoes. This will give you easier access to the tongue of the shoe and will prevent any polish from getting on the laces.

2) Apply the polish using small circular motions - Dip the old t-shirt or polishing brush into your chosen polish and work it into the surface of the shoe, using small circular motions. Apply a medium pressure and make sure to coat the surface evenly, paying special attention to the toe and heel which get the most wear.
  • The easiest way to use an old t-shirt is to wrap the material tightly around your index and middle fingers and use them to work the polish into the shoes.

  • Use a toothbrush or q-tip to work the polish into the hard-to-reach places, such as the edge of the upper and the cracks in the tongue.

  • You may also want to apply polish to the sole of each shoe, in the space between the toe and heel which doesn't touch the ground.

3) Allow the polish to dry and add additional layers, if necessary - Once you have applied polish to the first shoe, set it aside on the newspaper and begin working on the second shoe. Each shoe will require about 15 to 20 minutes drying time.
  • If you feel like your shoes require another layer of polish, apply this second layer using the same technique as above.

  • Remember to use the minimum amount of polish necessary to cover the shoe. It is better to build-up multiple light layers than apply a single thick layer.

4) Brush off the excess polish - Once any additional layers of polish have dried, grab your horsehair brush and remove the excess polish using short, quick strokes. Don't be afraid to put some elbow grease into it -- the heat generated from the vigorous brush strokes helps the polish to sink into the leather.
  • Most of the movement involved in these strokes should come from your wrist. Keep the rest of your arm stationary while your wrist quickly flicks the brush back and forth.

  • Make sure to evenly brush the surface of both shoes. When you are done, the shoes should have an even finish with a slight shine. If super shiny shoes are not your thing, you can stop here.

Part 3 of 3: Shining the Shoes

1) Buff the shoes with a soft cloth - The easiest way to add shine to your shoes is to use a soft cloth -- such as a chamois or an old cotton t-shirt -- to buff the shoes. Place one hand on either end of the cloth and work it across the shoe in a brisk side-to side motion.
  • Some people like to breath on the shoe (as if fogging a mirror) before buffing to increase shine.

  • If you like, you can place the first shoe on a shoe butler (or on your foot) to make this process easier.

2) Use the spit-shine method - Spit shining is a method used in the military to achieve a hard shine. After you have applied the first layer of polish, spray a little water onto the shoes and work it into the surface of the shoe. Then dip the cloth in warm water and use it to apply a second layer of polish.
  • Keep repeating this process until you achieve the desired level of shine. Just make sure that you let each layer of polish dry fully before applying the next.

  • Spit shining can be done using a soft cloth or a number of cotton balls.

3) Try fire shining - Fire shining is a fun, if slightly dangerous, method of shining shoes. It involves lighting the shoe polish on fire for a couple of seconds, until it becomes melted and gooey. This melted polish is then applied to the shoes using the same technique as spit shining.
  • Once you have applied several layers of the melted polish, you can take the fire play once step further by using your lighter to evenly heat the polish on the surface of the shoe, until it melts and achieves a wet look.

  • Do not let the flame actually touch the shoe and move the lighter constantly, as if spray painting. Once the polish has evenly melted, allow it to dry.

  • Apply one final layer of polish, then buff the shoes with a soft cloth to achieve a high-glass shine.

Video

Tips

  • If you get a scratch on your shoes, you can try melting polish in it. Heat the polish until it runs and pour a little to the scratch. Polish, let dry, repeat. It is hard to get it to hold, but if somebody has a tip on how to accomplish that, let others know. However, it is easily better than a scratch.
  • If you decide to use cloth, it’s a good idea to use a stiff tooth brush to clean the welt, waist, quarter and heel of the shoe (including the sole).
  • The key is not to put too much polish on the shoe, but build the polish/shine up in thin layers; this is called the "fat-on-lean” process.
  • Buy only shoes that have an excellent shine in the store. This will let you know that they’re capable of.
  • Another way to shine up the welt and heel is with a good vinyl preservative like Armor-all or Turtle Wax F21. Use a soft cloth to apply the preservative to the welt and heel. Do not apply the preservative to the leather or the traction area of the sole.
  • For a smooth grain, don't buy pig skin shoes; pig skin looks thinner and tends have a spotty, scaly appearance, especially away from the polished toe of the shoe. Calf leather is more expensive, but it has an even, deep-looking appearance and lasts longer.
  • Unless you have patent-leather shoes, don't expect to be able to bring even the finest shoe to a true mirror finish without many hours of work. That being said, after that groundwork is carefully done, and if you use shoe trees to prevent wrinkles on your leather, maintenance of the shine on your shoes is relatively effortless.
  • You can buy shoe shine kits at big-box stores consisting of a can of black polish, a can of brown polish, a cloth, a buffing brush, and a circle applicator brush.
  • Always polish new shoes as soon as you get them; even though they may be new; it helps break the shoe in, while treating and protecting it against future use.
  • After the shoes have partly dried, try using fine women's stockings to even the polish. This will gives them additional shine.
  • In an emergency, consider giving each shoe a once-over with a silicone cloth. This will supercharge your shine before you rush to that interview, but it doesn’t last the way several applications of polish do. What’s worse, it will scratch the shoe leather at a microscopic level (synthetic cloth against a natural product); use at your own discretion.
  • Store your polished shoes in a cold room or even the shed to dry. Protect them by placing them in a shoe box with a lid.
  • Don't use cracked polish – it’s too dry. You can check this in the shop by shaking the tin; if everything stays still in the tin, it is perfect.

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