Have you ever bought a pair of shoes and realized too late that the heel height was too high for you? Buying high-heeled shoes that are difficult to wear because they are uncomfortable or cause foot pain or stability issues is frustrating. So can a cobbler reduce heel height of shoes or are you stuck with the problem footwear?
I’m going to talk you through your options and let you know if a good cobbler can help and shorten your shoes without damaging their structural integrity.
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My Heels Are Too High What Can I Do?
High heel shoes or boots can look great but not every high-heeled shoe is comfortable for walking in. Buy the wrong shoe shape or heel height and you can end up in with foot pain and discomfort. If you have a pair of shoes that you are finding it impossible to wear then you have a few options available to you.
Can a cobbler reduce heel height? Yes, my first recommendation is to get a professional cobbler to shorten the shoe or boot if possible. Usually, there is some scope for a height reduction in heeled shoes but there may be limitations on what they can do.
Wear an insert inside your shoes to make walking a little easier. Products such as ball of foot cushions and shoe inserts help to cushion your feet as you walk and can make a difference. You can also buy moleskin and use foot glide products to minimize blisters and shoe bites.
The last alternative is to only wear your shoes as the phrase goes from “car to bar”. In other words, you never really spend any time walking in them and instead only wear them when you know you are being ferried from one location to another without your feet hitting the ground very much at all.
Don’t do what I did and wear your shoes to a racing event where I had to stand all day on my feet in uncomfortable heels. By the end of the day, I remember sitting in a car park with bare feet crying in pain from the blisters.
Can You Shorten Heels?
Yes, you can shorten heels by consulting a professional cobbler. They can trim, shave, or replace the existing heel to reduce its height while maintaining the shoe’s structure. Custom modifications, such as heel pad installation or platform reduction, are also possible. Seek expert advice to ensure proper adjustments and preserve the shoe’s overall design and comfort.
Remember that you need a skilled cobbler to do the job but there may be limitations on what can be done especially if your shoes or boots have metal inside the heel. As there is a risk involved when shortening heels you may find that some shoe repair shops won’t offer the service in case they damage the structure of your shoes.
Each shoe is usually assessed by a cobbler first to assess what alterations can be made. This will be dictated by the shoe style and construction. This means that you may not always be able to get the exact modifications you want as you will need to listen to what an expert has to say.
Don’t expect the cobbler to be able to remove inches from your stilettos either. This is because if too much of the heel is removed the shoe becomes imbalanced and impossible to walk in. Generally, half an inch is the typical amount that a shoe can be modified by.
Can High Heels Be Cut Down? – Heel Trimming
Can a cobbler reduce heel height? Well yes to do this is by heel trimming. This involves removing the heel tips of the shoes and trimming them slightly to reduce the height.
Cobblers have special machines that make this process easier. The machines are able to “sand” down the heel to the required height and then new heel tips are placed on the shoes or boots.
This obviously takes skill and precision as the cobbler will need to make sure that both shoes have the same amount of heel removed. They also need to ensure that the amount taken off the heel is not too much otherwise the heel becomes significantly lower than the front of the shoe making it impossible to walk.
If you look at the machines used for the process and consider the skill of the cobbler you should realize that this isn’t something you should try and replicate at home especially if your shoes are expensive.
Other Methods to Shorten Heel Height? – Heel Shaving
Shaving a heel is very similar to trimming but instead, the cobbler will use a specialized tool to shave off sections of the heel.
Again the amount of heel that can be removed by this method is dictated by the balance of the shoe.
It is worth noting that it isn’t only high heels that can be lowered but all kinds of shoes and boots. Usually, half an inch is possible for most shoe types however if the balance is ok some shoe repair shops will be able to shorten it by up to an inch.
Remember you need to listen to what the cobbler tells you is possible. They will have assessed the shoe and given you their opinion. If the shoe cannot be lowered by the amount you want it to be then you will need to make a decision as to whether to go ahead or not bother at all.
Is It Possible to Change The Heel Of a Shoe?
Just as it is possible to change the heel height of a shoe it is also possible to remove the heel and replace it with a lower one in some cases.
This is much easier when you have lower heels or shoes that don’t have any special features.
Changing the full heel on a shoe is a much more specialized job and not all cobblers will offer it because it usually involves sourcing heel sections that replicate what you already have.
Plain black heels for example may be easier to source but if your shoe heel is of a different color, design or material sourcing replacements becomes more problematic. Usually, cobblers will need to see the shoe or an image of it before agreeing to replace the whole heel.
Changing your full heels on your shoes is also considerably more expensive than shaving or trimming. In fact, skilled work can cost as much as a new pair of shoes. This means that this usually only works as an option if your shoes are designer footwear or of such a generic design that the sourcing and replacement of the heel are cheaper.
Lower Heel Height – Platforms and Wedges
Can a cobbler reduce heel height of platform shoes and wedges? Well, these types of shoes are also possible to shorten but only if the wedge or the platform has a particularly thick sole and structure that allows modification.
This is because it is usually possible to remove the thick sole and heel and replace them with a thinner one without impacting the balance of a shoe.
With normal high heels, it tends to be really obvious if you significantly cut down the heel because the shoes or boots become impossible to walk in. As platforms and wedges have thicker soles this is much easier to disguise and the shoe will not look odd following the shortening.
Over-shortening high heels is instantly more noticeable because it throws the whole balance of the shoe off and the lower heels mean the front of the foot is forced off the ground slightly. If this is done to extremes the shoe then becomes impossible to walk in.
How To Shorten Heels At Home
Ok, my next tip isn’t suggesting that you go and cut your new heels yourself and shorten them. Frankly, I would only ever recommend that a shoe repair shop and cobbler touch your shoes and boots especially if they are expensive.
Instead, you can alter the comfort level with a little bit of trickery inside your shoe to make them a little more comfortable. This only works if the internal part of your shoe has enough room to do this.
The first suggestion is to use insole modification inside your shoe to reduce the amount of space between the foot and heel. In this case, you can either replace the insole entirely or add a different type of insole into your shoe to create the changes you need.
Changing the insole can make a big difference to comfort levels and help make it easier to walk in your shoes and boots in the future. If you are worried about how to change the insole don’t forget a cobbler is likely to offer this service.
The second thing you can do to make it easier to walk is adjust the arch of your shoe to change the positioning of your foot. When you do this you are reducing the impact of the heel height on your comfort and balance. I use orthotics for example in every shoe I own to make my feet more comfortable. Off-the-shelf orthotics are not hard to buy and are a cheaper solution in most cases in comparison to expensive modifications to your shoes.
DIY heel shortening is not really something that you should attempt unless you don’t care if the shoes are unwearable if you make a mistake. Shoe repairs are made by cobblers because they are skilled at what they do and most will have years of experience of heel repairs.
Can You Make Heels Shorter? Customization Options
If money is no object then it is possible to shorten heels on shoes by seeing a shoe specialist that is an expert in shoe design and modification. Whilst these specialists are few and far between there are people out there who can completely alter your footwear for a price.
Custom modification services however do not come cheap because of the labor, skills, and materials in the process. This is why this type of service is usually reserved for people with big bank balances and extremely expensive shoes which require specialist handling.
Remember, the extent of modification will depend on the shoe’s original construction, materials, and the skill level of the cobbler. It’s essential to consult with a professional cobbler to determine the best approach for reducing heel height while ensuring the shoe’s overall integrity and comfort.
Should You Shorten Your Shoe Heels?
Can a cobbler reduce heel height? Well as I have explained the answer will depend on your shoes and the amount of heel that needs to be removed.
Before thinking about making alterations to your footwear you really need to think about whether it is a good idea or not.
The biggest decider for me is usually the cost of the service. If it is going to cost me $100 to fix a $100 dollar shoe then I forget about it straight away. The cost of the shoe repair needs to be reasonable in relation to the price of the shoe otherwise it is cheaper and easier to buy a new pair.
You then need to find a good shoe repair service that can do the alterations you want. Simple alterations should be relatively easy to find in most towns but you are likely to experience difficulties if your shoes are unusual or of non–standard style.
Bespoke shoe services do exist especially online so if you have an expensive pair of shoes that needs some help look on the internet.
Finally, remember that there are limits to how low your heels can go. If they can’t take enough of the heel height you may be paying for alteration that isn’t going to help.
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