If you're reading this post, chances are you've got a pair of Goodyear Welted boots (GYW for short), and chances are you value things that last. You probably still own the same Nalgene water bottle from freshman year in college. No? Well, you get the idea.
As you know, one thing that makes GYW boots so special is they can be resoled. But more than that, they can be cleaned, conditioned, tuned-up, and even entirely rebuilt. They're the best type of footwear in which to invest your hard-earned cash.
Should I find a local cobbler or mail my boots to an online cobbler?
Finding a local cobbler is extremely worth your time. We highly recommend finding a trusted shop near you as a great long-term investment in your boots. To ensure many years of use, your cobbler can will provide professional care for seasonal tune-ups, cleaning, conditioning, and eventually a resole.
What should I expect at a cobbler?
Expect the shop to be a little dusty. Partially because creating dust is the name of the game - a cobbler spends their time deconstructing, cutting, sanding, and buffing leather, rubber, nails, etc. But a lot of cobblers are also just more focused on doing quality work on your boot than keeping their store front clean. And that's fine with us.
Don't be afraid to tell the cobbler if you're new to the process. That will help them adjust their approach and their questions. But you can also prepare yourself a little before you head in - do I need a resole, a rebuild, a repair, or just a seasonal tune-up (i.e. clean & condition my boots after winter).
If it's time for a resole, you can expect them to ask you a few questions. If they don't, make sure you specify these things;
- What kind of sole do you want on the boots? We recommend going with a similar tread/sole that the boot came with but you can certainly switch it up a little (different color, tread pattern, etc)
- Do you want to clean & condition the leather? Sometimes this is complimentary, but if not, it's definitely worth it.
- When do you need them finished? Some small jobs - like replacing a worn heel only - can be done while you wait. But cobblers can be pretty busy and it's not uncommon for them to tell you to come back in a week to pick up your boots.
We recommend taking a pic of your boots on the counter before the cobbler takes them back so that you both have a clear visual of how they were when you dropped them off.
Do I need a Resole or a Rebuild?
If you aren't sure if you need a resole or a rebuild, read below
Resole = Replacing the outsole, or tread, of your boot
The outsole (or tread) of a boot is the synthetic material adhered to the bottom of a leather midsole.
Rebuild = Replacing the outsole & midsole of a boot, and sometimes even the welt.
A rebuild is not necessary with every resole. A rebuild is more expensive because it is a longer process and uses more new materials (i.e. new outsole, midsole, and welt).