The toe on the front of the sole always down faster than the rest of the sole, and for some who take big steps,the wear can be quite dramatically. Here a tip about flush rubber toe taps which is a good solution to prevent this from happening.
The natural solution for most people with this problem (who want to keep the leather sole and don’t want to cover it with a rubber topy) is to attach an external metal toe tap. Sunken metall taps are quite rare since you in most cases need to have them attached directly in the factory. Surface taps naturally gives a really good protection, but personally I’m not too fond of it. I think they are uncomfortable when walking, and they it can look a bit so-so if they are seen from the side from above, it can be dangerous when walking in stairs or on the hard floor, and the shoes can’t be used indoors on parquet.
My first pair of shoes with flush rubber toe taps were a pair from the Hungarian maker Vass. Like many other manufacturers Vass don’t want to put on sunken metal taps on shoes with single leather soles since the screws easily can go through the whole sole out on top, so they just do the rubber version on these. After trying this, I quickly realized that it is a very good solution. The feeling is just like walking with leather soles, they can hardly be seen at all, and the durability is still really good. For me the regular procedure nowadays is that I walk with the shoes for a while and wear down the toe, go to the cobbler and have sunken rubber toe taps installed, go with the shoes for a longer period, and then both the toe tap and the middle of the sole are often in about the same time span worn down to the extent that I need a resole.
I have also had sunken rubber toe taps installed by cobblers on several pairs. It doesn’t have to be done when they are brand new, you can wear them for some time, just make sure that there still are some margin to the welt so that the cobbler will be able to grind it evenly without having to risk to also sand down the welt. Most skilled cobblers can do this procedure, even if it’s something that isn’t too common (in fact, all the cobblers I asked had never done it before). Price wise, it costs between €20 and €45. Usually they have to sand down the sole stitch, but since today’s glue is so hard and the seam is also locked in every stitch for the rest of the sole it’s this nothing that weakens the shoe. And if the cobbler doesn’t understand what you mean, just show this blog post as a guide.
Could you advise a supplier / manufacturer for these? I think my cobbler won’t have seen these before.
Thanks for the great post.
Thanks for this! My cobbler sort of did the same, but cemented leather instead of rubber on the 2 cm of the nose part of the sole after cutting enough space to make it look original. With the same theory though, once that wears out it’s probably time for a resole. The main difference is that he didn’t do a straight cut into the nose part of the sole, but at an angle (like a halve sole job sort of). I was pleasantly surprised by the result, and it’s not come off, peeled etc (they have been worn in cold, rain etc).
Peter: Yeah, exchanging the toe tip with new leather is a common way to solve it when toes are worn down, depending on how much you wear the toes you might need one or even two more “leather toe taps” before sole is worn out.