It is the essential accessory as soon as one speaks of soles in leather…
And with him is associated with a brand that everyone knows: TOPY
This brand to, in the minds of some people, a bad reputation.
Maybe it is associated – too quickly-with ‘minute shoemakers’ whose work is not always impeccable.
Always it is that it is difficult, not to say impossible, to love the shoes, without, one day or another, find themselves in contact with a product from Topy.
The brand reminds elsewhere on his site:
“We can say with a certain pride that every year tens of millions of people around the world wear a TOPY product under their shoes.”
Well don’t worry.
This article is not an ode to the glory of Topy, skates, or her soles.
No it’s something more down to Earth.
The goal is to see more clearly in the jungle of different skates but also share good practices during the installation of these on the soles of our shoes leather valuable.
Note: I wrote a free, guide that fits on a sheet that you can download here. That way, you will have an idea of the price of repairs and of what it is possible to make to your Shoemaker.
The skates have several interests:
- protect your soles in leather of abrasion to avoid a costly rebuild
- avoid slipping (leather soles are real skates at the beginning)
- Avoid that your leather soles are soaked with water at the first downpour
Skate topy top gum or elysée?
Here are the two best-known skates references.
If you do ask a Skate to any cobbler there is, I think, 90% chance that you ended up with one of these two products.
Of course there are other manufacturers. Vibram, for example, offers also different ranges of skates.
Note: at Topy there is also the Top SEM range that the appearance of the pancake but it is very little used.
Personally I’ve never had the opportunity to try, so I won’t talk about here.
Let’s start with wring the neck of a first misconception: a Skate is not rigid.
They have been designed and developed to mimic the sensation of walking on a sole leather up.
For example the Topy Elysée is proposed with a thickness ranging from 1 mm to 3.5 mm.
I’m curious to know how a Skate to 1 mm of thickness, planned to be almost insensitive during the market could stiffen and increase your shoes.
This range is the most classic. That is, a priori, that all shoemakers will spontaneously ask you if you do not special demand.
It is also the lovers of beautiful shoes, in general, avoid like the plague because:
- Admittedly these skates are not beautiful. It still hurts to the heart to ask an unsightly protection on shoes.
- Some shoemakers use the Elysée range in too important thicknesses (2.5 or 3, 5 mm). You then end up with ‘steak’ rubber under feet. This is very ugly and very unpleasant when walking.
So, Yes, if your cobbler is a 3.5 mm thick pad (and If in addition the installation was carried out no matter how) he is likely to make him feel when walking, it stiffens your shoes and that he participated in the emergence of particularly nasty tricks on the leather of the stem.
Note: I wrote an article that tells you all you need to know on the folds of ease of leather shoes.
But see that you have the card of best Cobblers / shoe repair of France available no reason for what happens to you such a mishap!
Yet in recent years, the Elysée Topy has more the coast.
Lovers of shoes have turned to another type of pad to protect the soles of their shoes leather .
The (misnamed) Skate crepe.
Some think, choosing this kind of protection, escape from Topy.
Yet the so-called skates crepe is another that, in 9 cases out of 10, the range Top Gum from Topy.
It is called, so shortened, skate in pancake because there a profile (ie a finish) reminiscent of a crepe sole.
But be aware the collage pancake on leather is very difficult (if not impossible) and to a very poor outfit at the time.
So this Skate is made of rubber. Quite simply.
At the time of the appearance there are several differences between these two ranges:
- thickness: the Elysée range starts at 1 mm as the Top Gum pads begin to 1.8 mm
- flexibility: pancake pads are a little more flexible than the Elysée Topy.
- resistance: the Elysée range offers better resistance to abrasion as the range top Gum.
- Aesthetics: the Elysée this range of colours and a big logo TOPY that aren’t the most beautiful effect. the range top Gum with its pancake type finish and shades of more delicate colors, is much more interesting.
- grip: personally I see no differences but there are many who feel a better grip with a pancake skate.
You understand why the debate between these two types of skates.
Personally I always recommend the crepe because I think it looks better and will be less ‘task’ on my soles.
So far I have, on two or three pairs, the Elysée Topy of 1 mm thick and I must admit that these skates leave a very close feeling the leather when walking.
The (Good) Laying of The Skate
In fact the heart of the problem at this level.
Rather than the type of shoes you’re going to ask on your soles in leather, what matters is HOW they will be placed!
For example: when it is well placed, a Skate prevents water to come into contact with the soleplate.
If it is ill-posed then water can seep. She may even stagnate between the skate and the sole.
In this case you may get the opposite effect to that desired:
the skate will be responsible for a faster wear of your shoes.
It’s a little annoying because normally you have taken the trouble to take your shoes to the Shoemaker to protect…
Well I admit it’s a bit extreme scenario.
However, a premature detachment, is a much more frequent case.
Then certainly a Skate is much less expensive than an actual, but this isn’t a reason to have to repeat the operation every two months!
This is still an operation that requires some expertise. This is why I can only advise you to visit your Shoemaker.
In any case absolutely avoid laying adhesive pad found in the trade.
They do not have a poor abrasion resistance.
If it was that simple we would know!
But even going through a shoemaker, you are not certain that the work will be done correctly.
Let’s review a few control points that will allow you to know if your skates have been well laid.
This also allows you to have different notions to ask questions to your cobbler before the start of work to see how it works.
-The deadline announced by the Shoemaker
This is the easiest point to check.
It takes in general 24 hours of drying time for a good crystallization of glue.
This time is even more imperative on the skids in pancake whose composition is slightly different.
Knowing that he must also prepare the sole, take the time to realize the different finishes you will understand that a Skate can not arise – correctly – in 10 minutes.
Taking into account all these factors, and we imagine that your cobbler is not yours to deal with, we can consider that a delay of 2 to 7 days is normal.
Sometimes, for an emergency, some shoemakers can do you this in the day. You then do not wear your shoes immediately for good let the glue dry and avoid a premature detachment of the skate.
If your Shoemaker speaks of verrage, moustache, tail base, grafting or framing it is obviously he knows what he’s talking about and he gives importance to get your skates.
That’s a good sign!
This may sound silly but some shoemakers merely prepare the sole (and again) and paste the skate.
A good craftsman will take the time to probably and carding the soles of your shoes to increase the contact area which will facilitate the penetration and the hanging of the glue.
Note: This operation is compulsory and easier on new soles. The Shoemaker doesn’t have to remove all the micro-gravillons embedded in the leather of your shoes. That is why I advise you to put the pads on new soles.
It also happens that the cobbler is content to stick the pad without the probably at the bottom of sole.
We are then left with a big demarcation between the end of the skate and the sole leather.
It’s not pretty, but especially this increases the risk of retinal detachment.
A good Shoemaker will slim the end of the pad (that’s called the grafting) in order to have a junction between the sole and the latter the flattest possible. Without thickness in Camber.
Also be careful to the position of the tail of sole (the low line of the Skate). If it is too high in Camber she may end up in the crease of the market and your skate will come off too quickly.
Conversely some artisans will be asking you skates until heel tail (ie the Skate covers the sole). This is of no interest.Work is more complicated and therefore more expensive. (more time to work, more material).
Finally the mustache is the aesthetic line of the end of the skate. Some artisans left right (such to delivery) but other ‘fun’ to give him all sorts of shapes (round, u, V, etc.).
This does not affect the holding of the skate, but it is generally a good indicator on the attention to detail by the artisan.
You read, here and the, that a round mustache will avoid early detachment of the skate.
In seeking well you will find also testimonials from a Skate is taking off more quickly with a round moustache (or another form).
In short, keep in mind that these considerations are purely aesthetic.
Now you know what a good skate and, above ALL, a good poses.
Do you know misadventures with some skates? Have you other advice than some shoemakers have given you?
Feel free to share them in the comments!