Best Shoe Repair

Old Town Shoe and Luggage Repair
824 King St., Alexandria

I spent the better part of the last decade wearing cheap shoes. They were usually stylish throwaways I picked up on sale at Urban Outfitters—glued-together garbage that deteriorated over the course of a summer.

So a couple of years ago, I upgraded. I picked up a pair of Spanish-made leather clog boots for about $250. They have zippers, two-inch wooden platforms, and tassels, so obviously, I wear them every day.

They looked flawless for about six months, until their rice paper–thin rubber soles began to peel off and expose the wooden platforms to damage.

I didn’t want to ditch my sassy boots—reminder: tassels—for something as dumb as junky soles. So I brought the clogs and my boyfriend’s wounded Beatle boots to a luggage place in Old Town. Run by a friendly shoe and luggage expert named Rodrigo Restrepo, the place had a humble, cluttered feel. The shop quoted me $110. I gasped, but, feeling overcome by a sense of resignation, slid my credit card across the counter.

When I returned a week later, an employee handed me our shoes, and I almost said, “No, these aren’t ours.” They looked better than new. Both pairs had been beautifully resoled, cleaned, and polished with admirable precision and care. Old Town Shoe and Luggage Repair had taken our European boots out for cocktails on the San Sebastián coastline and made love to them, sweetly and generously, beneath a cabana that rippled in the salt-flecked breeze. My shoes weren’t just fixed, they were awoken. God bless you, Rodrigo Restrepo.

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