A few years ago, I bought Aubercy shoes dating from the 70s at a small flea market. Despite the shoe’s small wrinkles, I immediately fell in love with them. I got the impression that I had found an exceptional vintage pair that I absolutely had to have. Unfortunately, due to lack of time, these shoes have stayed in my closet for a while.

However, thanks to a recent meeting between the passionate Xavier Aubercy and Francois Gillard, a fourth generation cobbler, the high-quality Aubercy workshop opened last year at 9 rue de Luynes, in the 7th district.  In line with the spirit of Aubercy, the Parisian house had to have exceptional service repair for their shoes (as well as the shoes of others houses).

Last week, I had the chance to experience their traditional, high-quality approach to shoe-repair.

After analysis and disassembly respecting the style, Francois gave me a bitter diagnosis. The shoes had been in the hands of a lazy and careless cobbler.

My Goodyear welted shoes underwent a risky repair with a juxtaposition of a blake stitching construction above the original cut. Over time, this had destroyed the stitch. Furthermore, the shoes had been given poor soling sheets and their irons were misplaced.

Here are the detailed steps for the revival of my Aubercy shoes :

Click to enlarge the pictures… (copyright www.high-toned.fr)

My vintage Aubercy shoes

Disassembling the heels, toe taps and soling sheets

Cutting the old sole at the inlet rise

Remove the dust

Cleaning with continuous sanding belt made of light grain 

Cutting the sewing with a ‘tranchet’, sharp knive

Remove the lock stitched seam with an awl

Separate of the insole from welt 

Sewing of the welt on 4 points

New leather sole moistened with water few days

Processing the soles

Cutting the leather lining by hand

Neoprene glue

Cork filling

Gluing the leather lining for the comfort

Laying the soles

Sewing the leather lining with an old Singer sewing machine

Detail of the new sewing

Protection of the sewing

Craft manufacturing of  tap toes in golden brass

Tap toes are imitating the tailcoat shape

Creation of the new heels

Set up the tap toes in golden brass

Hot Stamping “Haute Cordonnerie Aubercy”

Painting in tailcoat shape

Quick shoe shine

Monsieur François Gillard 

After two weeks, the amazing skills of Mr Gillard enhance my ‘wabi-sabi’ Aubercy shoes !