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What To Do With Fading Shoes: Repair Or Buy New?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Winter is sloppy and hard on our clothes -- especially shoes.

Salt beats up on leather, as soles break or come apart.

So, do you replace your shoes or fix them?

WCCO went to three shoe repair shops in Minneapolis to find out if it's better to repair or replace that comfortable old shoe.

"Most of what we do are boots," said Jim Packard with Fast Eddie's Shoe Repair. "That's because they're usually a little more expensive. People want to keep them a little longer."

Jamie Yuccas brought in her my favorite pair -- black leather boots she's had for two years that are now starting to have three major issues.

The heel is worn down to the base, there's a hole in the side and the sole needs to be replaced.

They originally cost $150. Now, she can't find them online for less than $130.

Fast Eddie's Shoe Repair in Dinkytown gave the first quote.

"You're looking at $75 for the soles and the heels," Packard said.

Macy's Shoe Repair in downtown Minneapolis gave me the same price.

Skyway Shoe Repair, also downtown, was a little cheaper at $66.75.

All three were less expensive than buying new shoes, but there were considerations before dropping them off.

The Skyway shop would only put on a half-sole, while Fast Eddie's and Macy's would replace the entire bottom.

Macy's would use glue to patch up the hole, but Fast Eddie's would have to run a visible stitch over the top.

There were also differences in when I could get my shoes back -- Skyway quoted about a week, Macy's needed two weeks, and Fast Eddie's could do it in just three days.

Here are some tips to keep your shoes from falling apart.

First; get your shoes cleaned, polished and protected every season, and try to keep them clean of salt.

Second; buy a rubber sole guard. They run about $30 at all the shops, but will protect your soles.

"I'd rather fix them than get a new pair," says Doug Benner, a customer at Skyway Shoe Repair.

There are only about 7,000 shoe repair shops left across the country, when there used to be 70,000.

All the shops WCCO talked to say it has brought the industry together. Since they all consider it an art, there will be different approaches to fixing the shoes.

You just need to figure out which one is best for you.

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