Is resoling quality English shoes worth it?

I’ve got three pairs of Grenson shoes. One pair got completely ruined on my first date with my now wife.

I was wearing a blue blazer, red trousers and these brown, half-brogues and the date was going swimmingly. We were in Soho, London, when suddenly there was torrential rain. The narrow streets of Soho were flooded and in our walk to Tottenham Court Road Underground Station, my shoes got literally soaked. They were underwater.

I was careful when drying them not to let them near heat sources like radiators because that could crack the leather (something I learned from schoolboy football).

Nevertheless, they were totally buggered.

I’ve had them in my wardrobe ever since then, with the intention to get them restored.

Last month, I took them to my local Timpsons. Timpsons is a shop for shoe repairs, leatherwork and watch repairs.

Here’s what they looked like beforehand.

Totally buggered right?

Timpsons quoted me GBP 70 for a leather resole which included a cream treatment of the uppers or I could opt for the full resole which would give me all of the above but also a new heel. This would be GBP 90.

GBP 90???? At this point, you might be thinking, ‘Why don’t you just buy a new pair of shoes?’

GBP 90 could buy some decent shoes, couldn’t they? Or even if not, that GBP 90 could be put towards the cost of a new pair of shoes?

In my head, I knew that the cost of a new similar pair of Grensons is around GBP 200.

I also love the shape of these half-brogues. They look slimline in all the right places and the view from above is very satisfying.

The thinking around quality English shoes (shoes made by certain brands: Cheaney, Crockett and Jones, Churches, Loakes, Grensons etc) is that, as long as there isn’t too much damage to them, they will be able to be restored i.e. resoled and refurbished.

I bit the bullet and went for the full resole and refurbishment at GBP 90.

Here’s the result:

What do I think?

If I’m honest, I don’t love them anymore.

I was disappointed with the level of shine. They’ve definitely lost their lustre.

Brand new, these shoes have a high-shine finish. Now, they don’t.

This isn’t Timpson’s fault.

It was mine for letting them get ruined in the first place.

Would I resole again?

Absolutely for minor damage like the leather sole getting a hole in them. You’d still have a great shoe and it would be wrong to throw them out for such minor damage. You’d also save GBP 100 on not buying a new pair of shoes immediately.

But for the level of damage my shoes had, I wouldn’t do it again because I’m not happy with the results. Timpsons did the best they could but they have lost their magic.

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