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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello -- I've noticed coworkers (usually women) having the neighborhood shoe guy nail/glue on little arc-shaped tap thingies on the toes (and perhaps also the heels) of leather shoes to help extend the life of the soles. (My male coworkers haven't worn shoes with leather soles since 1905.)

Should I do that with my recently purchased pairs of pennies?

I've also seen shoe guys affix pieces of textured rubber onto leather soles for the same reason.

Do you guys do this stuff?

Thank you,
JB
 

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In England when I was a kid they were called blakies and everyone who was anyone from 16 year old "faces" on the terraces to 70 year old geezers down the British Legion had them on their shoes, including yours truly. They didn't half make a racket and were bugger all use when it got icy and slippery. They made nice sparks though.
 

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I do use heel and toe plates on my shoes. It does cut down on the wear.

On some shoes I have had the black rubber covering inserted over the sole. I have heard the term "Cat's Paw" used in reference to the covering. I can't really say if these have made a noticable difference or not in extending the life.
 

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I always get Topies (a brand name I think) put on my leather soled shoes both to extend life and secure traction (where I live makes San Fran look flattish and New Orleans look dryish).
 

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I dont like the topys as they change the feel of the shoe and I like walking on leather soles. I do get the toe caps when I break in a new pair of shoes to keep the toe from wearing out before the rest of the sole. Once the shoe is broken in (on the second sole) I dont find this to be necessary.
 

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Run a search Beamish - this topic comes up all the time. It seems that guys that are really into shoes don't like either taps or topies b/c they think that they mitigate the "specialness" of leather soles, particullarly on shoes that also have leather heels.

Those of us that are less enlightened about Edward Green, John Lobb, Graziano and Girling, and Vass-type shoes seem to find utility in these devices. I wear AEs and get toppies and heel taps put on before I ever wear a new shoe. The toppies last about 4x longer than the original sole, provide traction, and mean that the original sole never needs replaced. Heel taps save your heels in a similar manner and I've found that keeping them changed every few months essentially guarantees that I never have to get the original heel replaced.

From what I can tell, the only people that this is a non-issue for are people that have tons of shoes in their regular rotation.
 

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Toes--small metal taps
Heels--metal v-plates (wedges) sunk in at point of heaviest wear.

I've been doing this with leather sole/heel shoes since before college (several lifetimes ago, sometime in the early 60s)

hbs
I do the same -- I do the toe taps on most of my dress shoes, the v-plates ususally only on my heavy double soled bluchers. Also, the v-plates don't work well with rubber heels. You really need an all leather heel.

The v-plates can make the heel slip under some conditions, though I have never fallen. I have started to slip and caught myself a couple of times. But I have been wearing shoes with leather heels/v plates for over 20 years, and never fallen yet. So they really cant be that dangerous. I guess I have been wearing them so long I just "know" unconsciously how to walk in them.

The sound is nothing like metal surface taps nailed on top of the heel. Those sound kind of clanky. The small v plates embedded in a leather heel make a sort of a solid click/clack sound, especially on B&H shoes.

In days past, they used to make heavy dress oxfors/wingtips with v-plates built in from the factory. Florsheim was the last to do this, but stopped in 1998.
 

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Do "toppies" come from more than one maker? Does it matter? Can any decent cobbler put them on?

TIA
Topy is a brand from France. The general term is sole guards or sole protectors. Vibram, made in Italy, is the other well known brand. Some folks here have a preference for Topys, finding them thinner than Vibrams. Personally, I've used them both and never noticed a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As always, thanks lads

Louche -- You're right, I should have run a search under "topys" but didn't know the name of those thingamabobbers. "Taps" didn't turn up much.

This morning I dropped off my 2 pair of pennies to have the shoe guy put on those rubber stick-on sole thingies (whether the brand is "Topys" I have no idea).

And you're right -- there's much discussion of the matter in this forum. The Cons say Topys stop up the breathability of leather soles, dismantling the universe. Might as well wear flops then.

But living and walking in this concrete jungle, I really can't see keeping these shoes alive very long any other way.
 

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Louche -- You're right, I should have run a search under "topys" but didn't know the name of those thingamabobbers. "Taps" didn't turn up much.

This morning I dropped off my 2 pair of pennies to have the shoe guy put on those rubber stick-on sole thingies (whether the brand is "Topys" I have no idea).

And you're right -- there's much discussion of the matter in this forum. The Cons say Topys stop up the breathability of leather soles, dismantling the universe. Might as well wear flops then.

But living and walking in this concrete jungle, I really can't see keeping these shoes alive very long any other way.
Congrats on going with some Topy's for your shoes. You'll be glad you did. I always get Vibram's and taps on all my leather soled shoes. Vibrams because I live in an area where it rains or is wet ~300 days a year and taps because I wear my outside heel down in no time.

Cheers.
 

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Yea Beamish you wont regret it for a second. Youll find them durable, grippy, and barely noticeable.
 
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