High Heel Shoe Repair

The best way to get your high heel shoes repaired is usually at a local shoe repair shop. You can tell them exactly what you want and all of your concerns face to face and point to the shoes, as you do so.

Also, if you have very expensive shoes or special request(s), you may want the best shoe repair shop near you. Some shoe repairers are better than other because they are smarter, have more experience, better equipment, more equipment, etc.. You can usually find the best shoe repair shop(s) by asking the best high heel shoe retail store(s) in your area for their recommendation.

In New York City, one of the best is:

Shoe Service Plus
15 West 55th Street
New York, NY
Telephone 212-262-4823

This shop is highly recommended by many and used by some of the best shoe salons in New York City, including Manolo Blahnik. In addition to repairing heels and soles, re-attaching and reinforcing ornaments, they can perform many other services.210 N Beverly Dr

In Los Angeles, one of the best is: <<<<< Added February 24, 2002

Progressive Shoe Shop
210 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone 310-276-8717


Besides having your shoes repaired, it is possible to alter shoes in many ways. For example,

a) tighten or stretch shoes and boots nearly anywhere, including boot insteps.

b) replace the heels with different shape heels. (Note that it is usually recommended to never change the height of the heel as doing so can change the balance of the shoe.)

c) add ankle or other type of straps. (Some shoe repair shops that work with leather and most local custom shoe makers can add straps to shoes and boots.)

d) change a pair of shoes with closed-toe boxes, especially ones that are too tight for you, to open-toe boxes.

e) change a pair of shoes with closed-backs to open-backs.

f) dye shoes in nearly any color.

I saw your email on the "high heel repair" website and would like to know if you have info on how to purchase caps (or covers) for the ends of high heel shoes. These come in pairs and each tip is about a quarter inch in diameter and a quarter inch high, and are shaped like the end of a high heel shoe. They used to be called "lift savers" or "heel protectors". They get put on over the bottom of the shoe heel. Kiwi used to make them, they are a great product. They keep the heels from wearing down, and save money because they're cheaper than the heel tip replacements with the little spikes.

Thanks for any information you can give me.

P.M. - 12 Sep 2003

You can still buy them at most large supermarkets and shoe repair stores. However, these caps jut or stick out over the heels and alter the design line. This takes away beauty from the smoothness of the heel and can also attract people's attention directly to the caps.

It is less of problem, when the color matches perfectly. For example, black caps with black heels. However, I have only seen them in black, brown and clear color only.

J.J. - September 17, 2003

Hello. I enjoyed your web site and your book very much. But I have a question.

Living in New York City, the plastic covers on my stiletto heels get worn down very quickly. The repair, though very simple, costs $5 or $6 at the typical repair shop. There must be a way I can buy the plastic covers and put them on myself, but I can't find a store that will sell them retail. Any tips?

B.R. - 6 Oct 2003


1) Heel tips are made in different sizes (for thin stiletto to thicker heels) and you will have to find the correct size. A worn heel tip must be replaced with one of the exact same size. Otherwise, it will not look right.

There are Internet sites where you can buy replacement heel tips. For example, www.dancehappy.com sells replacement heel tips for $6 a pair plus shipping and handling charges.

You can search the Internet yourself for places that might sell them cheaper. Who knows? You might find one.

I do know that there are some manufacturers in Taiwan that sell replacement heel tips. However, you have to order them in bulk and get more heel tips than you will ever need. It would probably be more practical for you to try to negotiate buying a bunch of replacement heel tips directly from one of your local shoe repair shops.

2) $6 is actually a very reasonable repair charge for heel tips. Although it is easy for skilled shoe repairmen to replace heel tips (taking less than a minute), it can be difficult or tricky for an unskilled person to do.

The person would need strong fingers to grip the heel and pliers. It is possible to break the metal pin (under the worn plastic cover), if the person was not careful or twisted the head of the pin. Also, it is possible to align the replacement heel tip incorrectly, when it is inserted. Furthermore, one can injure herself, if not careful in removing the metal pins.

J.J. - November 4, 2003

Hi. I've been searching online for advice on high-heeled shoe repair. I found your site and you definitely sound like you know what's out there as far as top-notch repair goes in NY and LA. I live in DC.

The problem at hand: I have a pair of Via Spiga high-heeled leather boots. the heels are about 3 1/2 inches high and about 1.5 by 1.5 inches square around. One heel broke off completely. It's in one piece. There are about 7 nails sticking out now from the sole of the boot, where it had been attached. Do you think this can be fixed? (These are NEW. I am so distraught). I don't care if it's pricey, as long as it's really good.

L.O. - 29 Oct 2003

1) If you brought the boots at a local retail store, then you should bring it back to them. They might offer you an exchange, get the "NEW" boot fixed for you (especially, if you brought the boots recently) or tell you where to go to get the boot fixed.

2) We all know that stiletto high heels can break off. However, the type of thick heel that you described is difficult to break off. I wonder how you managed to do it? Do you wobble when you walk?

3) If the heel is not fractured, then it might be possible to fix. It is difficult to tell without actually seeing the boot. In any case, it would be doubtful for any shoe repair shop to offer any guarantee for fixing it.

I assume that you have tried to stick the heel back on and that it keeps falling off (because the nails will have lost their original bite or grip). Although the nails can be removed and the heel nailed back on, it is better to not leave the air pockets created by the 7 nails.

One way to do this is to coat the 7 nails with a bit of glue, before sticking the heel back on. Then, add a screw and/or a few additional nails to provide more reinforcement.

The same number of screw/nails should also be added into the other boot. So, the two boots stay balanced.

4) However, shoe repairmen can and should be reluctant to fix the heel for you because it really should not of broken off. Most people would probably be unable to break that type of heel off, if they intentionally tried to. Also, since you broke it once, there is a greater probability for you to do it again.

It might be better for you to discard the boots. Also, consider getting boots with either chunky or wedge high heels, that are almost impossible to break off.

J.J. - November 4, 2003

I just came across your website and thought I'd ask a general repair question since you seem knowledgeable. The heels that I wear at work take a beating since I wear them all the time for 10-12 hours a day. I took a pair of pumps to a repair shop XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. In addition to replacing the heel caps that had worn down I asked if there was anything that could be done on the soles to keep them from wearing down too quickly, particularly at the toe area which always seems to get scuffed as the soles wear. They said they could put something on the soles to protect them from wearing too quickly which I assumed would be something leather. But, when I went to pick up my shoes they had covered the entire part of the sole that touches the ground with black rubber. I was not thrilled as I don't find this to be a particularly elegant solution, although admittedly it's probably not really noticable when I'm wearing the shoes. Is this the only solution or do you know of one better for protecting the soles?


D.K. - 21 Nov 2003


I assume that you are indicating your shoe maker added black rubber "sole protectors". You could of waited until a hole appeared in the leather soles and then, have them replaced with new black rubber "half soles". In that way, you would have gotten full use of the expensive leather soles (that came with the shoes). Either way, it seems that you are concerned about the aesthetic qualities of black rubber.

While most people will not notice or care about the material that the soles of your shoes are made of, the people who are most important to you might notice and wonder about it. Unfortunately, this includes your lover(s) who might kiss your legs, feet and high heels. Some shoe fetishists even kiss and lick the high heel tips and soles as well.

High heels can become part of the person wearing them like a second layer of skin and remain as such in the memory of the person(s) kissing (and licking) them forever. So, there are some reasons to support your concern.

In regards to half soles for high heels, they are available in genuine leather, rubber or polyurethane (plastic). You can ask the shoe maker to see what type of sole he is intending to replace your worn ones with. Also, you can ask to have leather soles replaced with leather soles.

Leather is natural material from animal skin and usually the most expensive. Leather soles are preferable to black rubber and polyurethane ones because leather is more luxurious to sight, smell and touch. Leather is also edible.

Polyurethane soles are man-made material, pleasing to look at, almost odorless and pleasing to touch. While most plastics are toxic and not edible, polyurethane soles seem safe enough if gently licked. Furthermore, polyurethane soles are the least expensive. Unfortunately, polyurethane is very slippery.

Black rubber soles and sole protectors are made of material from tropical plants, durable, flexible and provides the most traction (or slip-resistance) for soles. Black rubber is also used for car, motorcycle and bicycle tires because of these same qualities.

Unfortunately, black rubber sole material is the least pleasing to human senses like sight, smell and touch, compared to genuine leather and polyurethane. Also, if a person licks black rubber sole material, some black rubber molecules will inevitably end up on his (or her) tongue and taste awful.

However, black rubber soles or sole protectors are less noticeable with black-colored high heel shoes and boots. Some high heel boots (especially, those made for winter wear) are actually made with black rubber soles to provide more traction or slip-resistance. So, black rubber sole material is of less concern with high heel boots.

Most wear-and-tear of heel tips and soles occur when walking outdoors, especially on concrete and asphalt ground surfaces. So, it is practical to wear high heels with black rubber soles or sole protectors for outdoor use.

"No slip pads" are mentioned in my book All About Wearing High Heels (for leather and polyurethane soles) to help prevent slipping, especially on waxed floor surfaces. These pads, that can be pasted (with their self-adhesive back) onto the middle of (the front part of) the soles of high heel footwear, can also help reduce some wear and tear of the soles. However, the pads will wear out instead of the soles.

J.J. - November 30, 2003

I am so glad I found your site. I bought a pair of XXXX XXXX stiletto heel boots last year. I have not worn them very much but I love them!!! They are very unique looking. I recently put them on and as I was walking out the door I felt the heel snap. I noticed that it was fractured. This is the second time this had happened to me with a stiletto heel??? Does that mean that I may walk too hard? ... Is there anyway a shoe repair shop could just get another stiletto heel and replace both shoes? ...

M.H. - 21 Nov 2003


No, breaking off or fracturing a stiletto heel does NOT mean that you walk hard. A stiletto heel can break off and/or fracture if the small heel tip ends up at a very bad angle on the floor or ground (apart from the rest of the shoe) and the wearer shifts most of her body weight onto the foot wearing that heel.

This usually happens on uneven ground (or ground that is not smooth), like in cracks or crevices on concrete streets, asphalt pavement and roads, rotted hardwood floors and tiled floors that do not have enough grout between the tiles; on top of a small pebble or tiny rock, etc.. It can also happen if the wearer wobbles around, as people do when very drunk.

Stiletto heels are made in too many different shapes, heel heights and with different material coverings and colors. So, the exact stiletto heel that one needs is not usually available. However, most shoe makers usually have some generic replacement heels in stock. In regards to heel replacement, note that a heel should only be replaced with one of the exact same heel height.

J.J. - December 7, 2003


Ladies! High Heels (Spike Heels) are BACK. The Main thought about high heels, and spike heels is to pay attention to them. One day the the rubber heel is ok, and the next day the rubber part is worn off and the metal pin is showing. This is the time to replace the heel lift...When you wait too long, even one day, the metal pin or spike can be driven deeper into the heel, and becomes more difficult to be removed. When the metal pin is hard to remove, then damage to the heel can occur, even though we try real hard not to damage them.

Most spikey high heels are plastic with a metal pin that is tightly inserted into a metal tube that is usually in the center of the heel block. High heels are usually covered with a real thin leather, suede, vinyl or cloth. When the heel is over worn, or the heel lift comes off, the heel covering is easily damaged, and the heel is harder to repair.

There is a temptation to try to repair them yourself, because they don' t look too hard to replace. Even some grocery stores carry replacement tips. Usually these are the cheapest plastic that money can buy, so you really don't accomplish saving any money, because they will wear out real quick.

So the moral of the story is to find a shoe repair shop that specializes in high heel repairs, and make sure you get them replaced as soon as possible. If one heel tip is missing, bring in both shoes, because even wearing the shoes one day will cause the heels to be uneven. Delaying the repairs will eventually lead to the heels having to be sanded lower to make the heel blocks level, which dramatically can change the original balance of the shoe.

Gene - 18 Aug 2004

Hartland Shoe Repair Co.
St. Paul MN 55104

Gene has won an award from the St. Paul Downtowner as the best place to get women's heels repaired


After reading your repair column more, I would like to input one more subject. It looks like you are well informed about shoes, boots, and High Heels. About the posting about the sole guards.

We have different colors of sole guards:

  1. BLACK that looks black.

  2. NEUTRAL that looks black or brown depending on the shoe it is put on...If it is installed on a light colored shoe, it doesn't look as black.

  3. OAK, a tan or yellow color, which can go very well with light colored shoes, and on top of leather soles without changing the color. All the shoemaker has to do is to apply the shade of light brown, beige, or a leather colored polish to the edge of the sole for the color you want. HOWEVER IF THE SOLE EDGE IS BLACK you have to consider the fact that you will have to apply black edge dressing to the yellow sole, which may or may notcome off on the floor, or on your shoes or boots if you accidently click them together. Also if the heel lift is black, you may have a dilema as to what color you want. If LESS WORK is the thing, you may still end up deciding on using the neutral, not the black, so it doesn't require as much work.

  4. WHITE that is usually intended for dance shoes, and may be known as white rubber dance shoe soling by the shoemaker who doesn't know that some people may want to use it for a sole guard. Since I have seen white shoes and boots with white heel lifts, maybe the white soling would fit the scheme. (Unless you want Black as an accent.)

Gene - 25 Aug 2004


I keep getting people asking me questions. Cool. Just a note, the white heel replacement tips are only for the smaller spikes. They won't fit the bell shaped spikes, just the ones that are in the half inch diameter or smaller.

I am going to order about two dozen pairs to have in stock, there is word in our shoe repair trade that the white ones are going to be in....

Gene - 07 Sep 2004

White-colored heel tips are long overdue. They will be very useful for white high heel shoes and boots, especially those worn at weddings. They can make the heels look an extra quarter of an inch higher.

Note that it is usually possible to paint the sides of heel tips with enamel paint. If done, it should be done before replacement heel tips are inserted. Otherwise, some masking tape (or Scotch tape) over the leather heel covering should be used.

J.J. - September 12, 2004


I just got the white dowel pin heel lifts in. Like I said, they are only for spike or the thinnest of heels.

I get enamel paint from the hobby store that sell model car kits, etc.. They have both regular paint (in little jars with brush) and spray paint. Also, different colors of regular paint can be mixed.

The enamel paint also works if you have plastic heels that get scratched up. If the leather (natural or man-made) covering the heels get damaged, you can remove the covers (and use something like acetone to clean off the old glue) and then, spray paint the heels (instead of having the heels recovered). The heels will be sticky, so let them dry (for at least 24 hours before touching).

Gene - 17 Sep 2004
Hartland Shoe Repair Co.

I have a beautiful pair of Giuseppe Zanotti heels that tie up the leg and one of the ankle straps broke off and I have lost it. I want to add a new ankle strap, but the shoes are a turquoise color and I cannot seem to find anyone who can match it up. Do you have any suggestions on a shoe repair shop or someone that I could send my shoe to that may be able to help me. I can't bear to just trash the shoes!


A.H. - 25 Sep 2004

It may be easier to look for and buy a new pair in the same or similar style and color.

However, sometimes people have favorite pairs of shoes that are really irreplaceable. If that is the case, you could try to find a custom shoe repair shop that can make you a new pair of ankle straps in white (if turquoise is unavailable). It is usually easier to make two new identical straps than to duplicate a strap perfectly.

Then, find a dye service, wherever dye-able wedding shoes are sold. Alternatively, you can try to mix shoe dyes yourself to come up with the turquoise color that you need.

A basic shade of turquoise can be created by combining equal parts of white, green and blue. These are colors that are easier to find at large shoe repair stores, in the shoe care section of some department stores or via the Internet (search for shoe+dye+kit at Google; some possibilities are http://www.steps-to-memories.com/shoe-dye2.htm and http://www.dylon.co.uk/colourcentre/shoecolo/shoecolor.htm).

Note that there are many variations of turquoise. So, you may need to experiment by adding a bit more of one (or two) of the colors to match the turquoise that you need.

J.J. - October 23, 2004

I am so pleased to have found your website. You sound extremely knowledgeable, perhaps you can answer this question. I found a pair of white high shaft, faux leather, platform heeled boots. I would like to have them cut down to at least the calf part of my leg (the shaft portion that is, not the heel). Would you recommend doing this? You mentioned a shop in one of your columns: Shoe Service Plus, would you recommend them? I don't want to take them to just anyone.

Also, does stretching done professionally really help? I tried it once but was unsatisfied by the results. I tried it for a pair of suede burgandy boots. They were tight on the metacarpal area...

You are awesome : ) Thanks, M. G. - 10/7/04


It depends on how much it will cost. There can be a big price difference depending on whether the boots are laced or zippered. Zippers have to be replaced.

It may be cheaper and better to buy a new pair of boots. There are faux leather platform heeled boots that are very reasonable priced via the Internet. However, note that faux leather shoes and especially, boots are generally not recommended in my book.

Genuine leather high heel shoes and boots are better because they are more breathable. You can wear genuine leather high heel boots (without pantyhose or stockings) 24x7 and not have to worry (or worry a lot less) about sweat and skin rash problems.

In regards to stretching, it depends on the quality of the stitching (that attaches the uppers to the soles), exactly where you need stretching, how much stretching is needed and the skill of the person do the stretching. If the shoes are stretched too much, the stitching that attachs the leather uppers to the soles can be broken or the leather can rip open.

J.J. - October 23, 2004

I apologize if I missed this in your site...which I just found....and love!!!....but haven't got all the way thru yet. My problem I have been looking for the adhesive non-slip sole pads in BLACK.....all I ever find is that grey color, which is fine for regular shoes but on my beautiful high heels/stilettos that have black soles I think it just doesnít look right and these I pay better money for and also, as you seem to understand (TY!!!), there is the whole aesthetics of a stiletto that to me is kind of ruined by the grey pads. Or is it better to get them taken to a shoe shop? I read the post about the soles being covered in black rubber, but this seems over kill as I am just needing a little less slip. I have googled for black sole pads and came up with nothing except your site (which was a very nice find).

Thank you for any information you choose to provide and apologies if this is a naÔve question.

K. - 14 Oct 2004


I have never seen non-slip sole pads in black either. However, gray pads on black soles are quite common and easy on the eyes. Also, it is easier to see the wear and tear on gray pads and know when to replace them. It would be much harder to tell the wear and tear of black pads on black soles.

J.J. - October 23, 2004

I have a pair of skinny, high heeled shoes, and am in need of those no-slip pads that are mentioned in the book. However, I need them for the actual heel, rather than the sole of the shoe. Do you know where I can find/buy them?

S.R. - 21 Oct 2004


I do know about the problem that you referring to. Unfortunately, there are no pads for heel tips (as far as I know).

However, ankle straps and/or thicker heels can help avoid this problem. Ankle straps can be added at some shoe repair shops or at any local custom shoe maker store. For thicker high heels (including medium, thick, chunky and blade high heels), just shop around.

J.J. - October 23, 2004


I have added a product that used to be around years ago. With stiletto heels coming back, I am using them again.


Heel shields are a heat shrink plastic sleeve that helps to protect the high heels from damage. They come in black, white, and clear. (they are about an inch and a half in length)

They work best for the stiletto style (not any of the bell shaped heels, because when they shrink with the heat gun, they shrink best with any tube shape better.) They also work as an economical repair of a heel that is slightly damaged around the tip.

As with any product, some people will like them and some don't. It depends upon your expectations, and usage and how much you wear the shoes, and how hard you are with your shoes.

Such as the clear ones are used for any color, but as they get older, they can get cloudy looking, and don't look as good as when they were new. The black ones keep their color so they seem to look better longer. The white ones you will use with white heel leather, but some white shoes have black soles, and heels, so they would be more noticeable against the sole or heel edge.

Some shoemakers dye the heel shields to match the heel, but the dye on plastic usally comes off. Also, when you take an old one off, some of the original heel color may strip off because of the heat used during the heat shrink process. Usually a bit of shoe polish, or dye will restore the color.

The look for the high heels are back, and I have a link to a picture I took. (a black pair of boots)

Gene - 03 Jan 2005
Hartland Shoe Repair

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All About Wearing High Heels

This page was last edited on January 30, 2005.
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