Friday, September 26, 2014

The Shoe Nazi

hat, Dethrose Vintage, jumpsuit, Millay Vintage, loafers, Lost Girls Vintage, vintage Coach bag, Michigan antique mall

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. Our animal roommates were kind enough to let us sleep off our hangovers we earned from a rowdy Cubs game the night before (they actually won!), followed by egg sandwiches and french toast on the pretty patio of a local neighborhood breakfast joint. I also did something extremely brave yesterday. After months of creeping around outside his shop, trying to work up the courage to actually go in but always chickening out, I finally took my beloved patent leather, Loeffler Randall brogues to the "Shoe Nazi," as he's not-so-lovingly known, to be resoled. Our neighborhood cobbler has a reputation for being the meanest son-of-a-bitch who ever lived (just read some of the Yelp reviews, they're hilarious), and I've heard him bark people out of his shop countless times over the years while while getting coffee across the street. Apparently he only works with "real" materials, i.e., leather, and if you bring in any shoe or handbag not up to his standard, he'll toss them back at you and tell you they're not worth fixing and would be better off in the garbage can (he did this to my husband). Oh, and he shouts all these mean nasty things to you in a German accent that's thicker than melted German chocolate. Getting yelled at I can handle, but being told my shoes aren't good enough was something I didn't know if I could survive. I was tempted to take my shoes elsewhere, but I'm a sucker for crotchety bastards (I hope to be one one day), so I gathered my shoes and courage and went to face the Shoe Nazi. It went something like this:

Shoe Nazi: (speaking to another woman with a belt that needs repaired) I NO FIX THIS! Not worth my time, go, GO!

(she looks at me wide eyed and stunned, then slowly backs out the door)

Lora: Hi, I'd like to have these shoes resoled, please.

Shoe Nazi: (forcefully grabs shoes from my hand, inspects them, seems to approve) You want light sole, not black?

Lora: Yes please. The lighter color. 

Shoe Nazi: 15 dollars up front. You pay in advance, and I have them ready in hour and a half.

Lora: Do you take cards?

Shoe Nazi: CASH ONLY!

Lora: Oh okay, I'll have to go get some cash. I'll be back after we go to breakfast. 

Shoe Nazi: Fine you go get cash then pay me then I fix.

Lora: Sounds like a plan. 


(30 minutes later, with the cash) 

Lora: Here you go, for the shoes.

Shoe Nazi: Okay. Hour and a half. You come back before then, NO SHOES. I here until six o'clock. You come any time before I leave. Whenever. 

Lora: Got it. Thank you.


(two hours later)

Lora: Hello! I'm here to pick up my shoes.

Shoe Nazi: You come in today? Shoes (he points to a shelf behind me where my shoes are sitting).

Lora: They're beautiful! Thank you!

Shoes Nazi: Okay okay have a nice day.

Lora: You too, bye!



While he was definitely curt, I appreciated his no-bullshit take on customer service and left his messy little rat's nest of a shop with perfectly resoled shoes. If I thought he gave a shit I'd write him a nice Yelp review, but instead I think I'll ask him if he needs an apprentice. Not to master the art of European cobblery, but to learn how to terrify people in 10 syllables or less.  


  1. Love this post! Great character study of the cobbler. Who won't accept a load of old cobblers. (ho ho ho!) Love your autumnal outfit, your trousers are great! xx

  2. Love the loafers, they look awesome!

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