Two pair of shoes with sole holes.
I called Giuseppe to ask where he sends his, knowing that he had long ago smoked out the best possible value for the desired skill level. "Savas" he said. Perfect... so I put the shoes into a Ratsey Bag and hopped on the subway bound for Davis Square (Savas had Saturday hours). Outside of the subway, I pushed through the throngs of alterno-marching bands which were gathering quickly. When I reached Savas, the door was blocked by about 500 people and a large boisterous brass ensemble, and the business had closed for the day. Should have called first, I guess. Just my luck.
During high school, a friend was taking the SAT's one Saturday at a local school. About 30 minutes in, a marching band began doing a dress-rehearsal outside of the classroom window. Apparently, they marched back and forth for over an hour, which nearly drove him to a boil (he's regularly anxious about nearly everything). I guess it didn't harm him too badly, because he went on to a fine school.
One of Boston's best dressed fellows recommended the spot he takes all of his (London-made) shoes. I dropped them off at Rinaldi's, and was told to pick them up in a week.
A week later...
The brown pair:
Not bad, but I had to pay an extra $25 per pair for staying in Boston and not going out to Somerville for Savas. The total was $150 for two pairs. It was a good price for the city, but had it not been for the Davis Square marching band festival, I would have saved $50.
A different pair was sent back to Allen Edmonds a few months ago. They offer full reconditioning and resoling for about $100. To be honest, I thought that the replacement sole (the original was also rubber) was too thick and bulky.
Above, you can see that they did patch the inside of the inner back heel. Their work is good, and they do a fine job of repairing any damage to the outer shoe, but the replacement was just too clunky compared to the relatively thin and pleasant original rubber sole, and the shoes look and feel heavier.
I spoke with the cobbler a bit, and he said that the resoling business is expanding noticeably. He said it was "the economy". Perhaps... but let's hope that when (and if) things turn around, the values and lessons learned will be kept and possibly passed to others.
***Please forgive the odd formatting. Blogger is being testy.