How to fix old shoes and save money

May 21, 2009 3:53:36 PM PDT
In this tough economy people are looking to save money on their wardrobe and one of the most expensive items can be shoes. In this Stretch Your Dollar, Eyewitness News reporter Katie McCall shows you how a few minor changes can give those old shoes new life and save you money.

Nieman Marcus shoe expert Jon Chitow caters to Houston's well-heeled crowd. Whether they cost $500 or $50, he said you can keep your shoes red-carpet ready for years.

"Everybody knows that we're in a recession," said Chitow.

The number one spot he said women wear down is the heel tap.

"You want to have these taken off and replaced so you have a nice even balance on your shoe," said Chitow.

A new pair of heel taps cost around $20, but will make the shoe last longer. Chitow said even the biggest shoe injury can be healed, even if the whole heel snaps off.

"You can actually send and receive a new heel so you can save that pair," said Chitow.

Sometimes the manufacturer will even do that for free or you can take them to a shoemaker.

Sal Maida's family has been making shoes in Houston for 108 years. We brought him some shoes that were ready for the garbage can.

"Sure, we can save these," said Maida.

Maida saves all sorts of shoes, like this pair that didn't fit his customer.

"She liked the shoe and the strap was too long and it was dropping off of her heel. So we took that inch out. Now when she puts it on, it grabs onto her heel and doesn't fall off," said Maida.

The cost? Just $17.

"It doesn't matter what you pay for the shoe. If you like it, you get it repaired," said Maida.

We learned a lot of shoemaker tricks, such as if you have a dingy pair of patent leather shoes, take a bottle of Windex, spray it on a rag, and you can make your shoes look like new.

"Since I went through chemotherapy, the shape of my feet have changed and particularly the instep," said customer Muffy Moroney.

Moroney is a long-time customer who is altering her shoes after cancer treatment.

"For special people, we do special things," said Maida.

Instead of buying new shoes, she takes her shoes to Maida, along with anything else she wants to save. That saves her money.

"He's saved favorite purses from extinction," said Moroney.

Remember those banged-up shoes we brought in? After repair, they look brand new. The cost was about one-tenth of what it would cost to buy a new pair.

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