I picked up my Baudoin Lange Grand loafers from the Austin Shoe Hospital last week. They were sitting on the shelf ready for almost a month. But I had no idea how much I owed and the shoes were in rough shape when I dropped them off, like PETA commercial rough. Where you don't want to look at it and when it catches your eye you automatically feel bad. I knew the shoes needed a lot more than a $50 clean up and I wasn't ready to pay the piper. It's not my proudest moment. But a moment nonetheless.
For some quick background, I originally got the loafers right before my honeymoon in 2019. There was zero break in time required and I hit the ground hard once we got to Europe. After two weeks and dozens of kilometers the front toe on the left loafer was scratched from dragging my feet across Paris, Nice, Beaune and London. I admit some dragging was induced by days fueled by bottles of Pinot Noir and nights capped with Negronis and martinis.
When I got home I didn't let up on the loafers either. I wore them to the lake, to the office, around town, etc. They were my go to slip ons. During this heavy use however I neglected to put a trace of polish on the poor leather. By the time I mustered the courage to drop them off at Austin Shoe Hospital I didn't know what was salvageable. The rubber sole had ripped. The insole was completely gone. So was the heel support. The exterior leather looked like a pair of guys coming back from a three day Myrtle Beach golf trip. I confessed all of this to the Cobbler with a bit of guilt and a shrug. Without hesitating he assured me he could save them.
I'm very happy with the work Austin Shoe Hospital did reviving my loafers from the grave. In total it cost a little over $150 to replace the soles, the insoles, and touch up the exterior leather. Paying a third of the original price of the loafers for maintenance was disappointing but deserved. It really was an overhaul that could have been prevented by letting the shoes rest every once in a while and polishing them. I will call it a lesson learned. When buying more expensive things with the intention of keeping them for the long haul we take on the maintenance those things require. If we ignore or neglect those items we should expect to pay a premium for someone to come in and rescue us from ourselves.