Before I wear a pair of shoes for the first time, I visit the cobbler.
For $6-$8, depending where I go, he takes my shiny new pair into the back room, and, around 10 minutes later, hands them back to me with one significant addition: taps.
Taps are tiny pieces of plastic nailed into the sole of your shoe to keep you from wearing down specific areas ahead of the rest. Generally, that’s the heel, which absorbs the brunt of your step.
The taps wear down instead of the shoe itself, so you can replace them every few months for less than $10 and avoid shelling out $50 or more (in New York City, anyway) to have the heel completely replaced.
This is not revolutionary.
At least, I didn’t think it was until I started mentioning taps to friends in passing. Without an exception, every single person has reacted with, “What are those?” “I’ve never heard of them!” or “Oh, that’s so smart.”
Bear in mind that taps are for shoes with solid soles, not rubber shoes like sneakers. There has to be something solid for the nail to hold. If you rarely walk anywhere other than the car to the front door, your shoes wearing down is likely not an issue. But if you live in a city like New York, where a typical day includes at least a mile of walking on pavement, it does a number on your footwear. And if you’ve invested a significant amount of money in your work shoes to look presentable, you probably don’t want to destroy them.
I know the picture above is of women’s shoes, but this hack isn’t only for women. Guys: If you have work shoes, you can use taps as well.
I’d link to taps online to buy if I could, but most of us don’t have the setup for shoe repair in the back room. So stop by your shoe guy and ask him about taps. He’ll know what you’re talking about.
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