In terms of sustainability the idea that resonates with us the most is the concept of 'buy less, choose well, make it last'. Making considered purchases that are made with quality materials and in such a way that they can stand the test of time. We think of CHAPTER 2 boots as being made to last so we wanted to show you what that looks like in reality and talk openly about repairs.
In a world where big brands want you to keep buying new products the idea of repairing something you already own isn’t a topic most are willing to talk about. Of course we're not going to stop you buying a new pair if you want to but with the most sustainable item of clothing in your wardrobe being the one you already own we thought we’d show you that it’s possible to repair and restore your CHAPTER 2 boots in order to get more wear out of them and keep on loving your favourite pair for longer. This seems to us to be the most sustainable approach to design.
To show you how transformational a repair can be we’re going to fix up my 3 year old black Jackdaw Boots; give them a new sole and a proper clean and polish. These are my absolute favourite boots and they’ve had some really heavy wear including taking them in the sea and accidentally through a clay/sand bog on the beach on our summer photoshoot last year (neither of which I would recommend). Just look at the state of them!!
I had come to a point with my boots where I either got a new pair or repair the ones I already have and as there's nothing wrong with the upper (we use beautiful quality leathers) simply replacing the sole and administering a little tlc would give them a whole new lease of life.
Let me introduce you to my boots and how to know when it’s time to replace the sole. Leather soles always pit and scuff when you wear them, it's totally normal, but after 3 years mine had gone to an extreme level and were nearly worn through.
So, we took my boots along to our local shoe repairer, Kevin who runs Courtyard Shoe Repairs in Lewes, East Sussex to get them properly resoled. We sometimes get asked if we can recommend a shoe repairer and Kevin is the person we trust to always do a good job with our boots.
We join Kevin mid flow as he creates the repair on my Jackdaw Boots with new leather soles and heels, allowing you to see some of the processes involved:
The forepart of the old leather sole is removed and a new one spliced on together with a new heel block. The rough edges of the replacement soles and heels are then sanded til smooth.
We chose to have the sole Blake Stitched to be as close to our original leather sole design as possible. This meant cutting a channel into the leather sole for the stitch to sit in.
The forepart of the sole and insole is then stitched through using the Blake Stitching machine.
The edges of the soles get stained a rich shade of brown.
We asked Kevin to stain the leather of the heel tip black to echo our original sole design.
The final process of the resoling is to add polish to the wheel and give the sole and heel edge a buff.
Done. All that's left is to take my boots home for a thorough clean, polish and a new pair of laces ready for another few years of wear. If you want to read more about how we clean and polish there's a whole page to guide you through the simple process.
A pretty good transformation don't you think?! and definitely worth taking the time to repair.
In case we haven't convinced you already here's a little comparison between my repaired 3 year old boots and a fresh new pair. Can you spot the difference?
Alongside the repair we also spoke to Kevin about the world of repairs, sustainability and how to look after your shoes:
How did you get into shoe repair?
It was by complete accident really. I’d worked briefly for a small orthopaedic company who worked within the NHS before going to college & university. When I was doing a masters degree in London I needed a part time job so took a position in a repair shop in Marylebone. The idea was to just stay a while & earn a little cash, but I stayed for about fourteen years!
You also make children’s shoes under the the name The Little Shoemaker, how did that come about?
When our first daughter Momoko was born we went looking for her first pair of shoes and all we could find were shoes that were full of sparkles & glitter and were also predominantly plastic. We just felt there was a gap in the market for something made more consciously with materials that didn’t weigh on the environment quite so much.
Sustainability is a big movement in fashion at the moment, has that impacted on your work as a shoe repairer? And what secrets from what’s inside the shoes could you share with us?
The inside of shoes can be quite revealing, even surprising. Over the last few years the change is quite noticeable. More companies are streamlining how they construct their footwear. The emphasis seems to be for lowering the cost of production resulting in the majority of products lasting little over a season. When we come across a brand that’s holding on to a more traditional approach the shoes last the customers much longer & cost the environment (and the customer) less in the long run.
In your opinion what is it about our CHAPTER 2 boots that make them worth repairing?
CHAPTER 2 boots are just built with longevity in mind. As long as they’re not abused by the wearer, they should offer years of wear.
What are your top tips for keeping your boots in good condition?
Always nourish the leather. Just like our own skin, if you keep it soft & supple it will last.
If you'd be interested to have your boots resoled or repaired by Kevin please get in touch with him at:
Courtyard Shoe Repairs, North Court
Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2AR
tel: 01273 480576 or 07985531899