The more men like their shoes, the worse they treat them. The same soles are scuffed again and again along the asphalt game trails salesmen, architects, and lawyers stalk daily until there ain't much left. Unfortunately, when these tired boots are finally carried into the cobbler, their bottoms are replaced with unimaginative treads that make great brogues look like knockoffs of themselves. This is the problem that Greenwich Vintage, a small Minnesota outfit, has solved with its new resoling service. Rather than offering a lackluster replication of shoes' original soles, GVco updates aged support with colorful, hiking boot-style soles that transform fatigued into funky.
Greenwich Vintage hasn't invented a clever method for resoling, nor has it discovered a groundbreaker polymer. It is best at what it does for the simple reason that its cobblers takes tremendous care as they work on your shoes. Each pair you send to the service is deconstructed by hand, fitted with a mid-sole that adds a bit of give, then attached to a molded plastic sole that is subsequently shaved down to complement shoes' existing silhouettes. GVco's soles are studded and high, which means the process won't transform beaten brogues into Mark McNairy knockoffs. Instead, the effect is chunkier and slightly more aggressive-looking than most colorful soles – and the results are singular, so clients can rest assured no one else is rocking the same look.
The diversity of soles on offer is impressive. There are two silhouettes, the more boot-appropriate Bricklayer, a thick solid sole, and the more brogue-appropriate Commando, which offers better traction and more of an arch. The colorways are myriad: navy blue, baby blue, kelly green, dark green, electric green, pale yellow, burgundy, pink, purple, orange, black, white, cream, and red. The brighter colors are particularly striking, but the burgundy is a winner as well.
And it all weighs less than your current sole. The pair we sent in came back lighter and better constructed after spending time with GVco's master cobbler. The shoes, which had worn so that they sloped uncomfortably outward, came back refashioned into comfortable urban hikers. Compliments ensued immediately and we felt pretty cool saying "custom" to co-workers asking about our new kicks.
They say there are no second acts in American life. Not so for shoes. [$225, greenwichvintage.us]