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The Dr. Will See You Now

Dr. Nick Valenti of B. Nelson Shoes has operated on some of the finest shoes imaginable. He’s the “Go to Guy” when the time comes to make the necessary repairs on your beloved-ed pairs.

In this guest post Dr. Nick shares his diagnosis about the life expectancy of your shoe parts. Trust me the prognosis is better than you might think. Just as is in health care, prevention is critical.

When to repair:

Over time your shoes will be in need of replacement parts. How to know when.




High-grade shoes are made with either a rubber top-lift or combination leather and rubber top-lift. They are attached to the top of the heel base. The top-lift comes in various thicknesses depending on what the manufacturer chooses to use in order to obtain the correct balance of the shoe. Regardless, the lift (or heel) should be changed before it is completely worn out.


Look at the profile of the heel. You will see where the top-lift meets the base. The top-lift can easily be removed and replaced when needed. Try not to wear through the top-lift into the base before replacing the lift. If you do, this may require the repair shop to add a wedge to the worn out base. If not done properly, it may cause a wave in the heel, which will be uncomfortable to walk on.


When the rear outside border of the heel or top-lift is worn out to the approximate thickness of a dime, it’s time to replace it.



2.Replacing the Tips:


Although this is much less common, I have seen it enough that I thought it was worthy of mentioning.


Some have a gait that tends to drag the toe. That results in the toe of the sole wearing faster than the body which is under the ball of your foot. If this is the case for you then it may not be necessary to replace the entire sole when just the toes wear out. Just have the tips replaced.


If you continue to wear your shoes while waiting for the body of the sole to wear out you may be causing damage to the welt at the toe. This also leads to a more expensive repair when it could be avoided. When replacing the tips a reputable repair shop will sand down the sole approximately one inch down from the front of the sole towards the heel. He will then add a new piece of leather that is cemented and stitched to replace the worn area.



3. Soles:


Don’t wait until holes appear in your soles to replace them. When you see a hole that also means the foot-beds have been disturbed. Most repair shops do not replace and or level the foot-bed. They simply patch it. This will affect the comfort and feel of the shoe. Unless the entire foot-bed is removed and replaced, the shoe cannot be restored to it’s original feel. There are several ways that you can tell when your soles need to be replaced. Everybody wears differently so these are not in order:



A: Hold the shoe upside down, with your thumb, press down on the center of the sole. If it feels spongy or soft it needs to be replaced.


B: look at the profile of the shoe. Does the sole look particularly thin where it meets the welt? This is most commonly seen on the on the inside border but, depending on your gait, can be seen on the outside border.


C: Circular markings of wear. Generally when you see these on the bottom of your soles it’s time to replace them.



You can contact Dr Nick at:

B. Nelson Shoes 140 E. 55th St. New York City, New York 10022
Phone: (212) 750-0818 Email: