The Low Down on Zippers

Ah the zipper. Judson’s “hookless fastener” is so darn svelte-looking and convenient… while it works. In a well-made leather boot it is also the “Achilles’ heel”: usually the most serious kind of failure and the most difficult to fix. As a result, it is the leading cause of death in these boots and I’m not sure cobblers would shed a tear if not one more pair of footwear were fitted with them. Thankfully, many “broken” zippers still have the teeth intact and may be fitted with a replacement slider fairly painlessly.

As far as we know, EVSR is the last shoe repairer around who will fix a real broken zipper the hard way: by opening up the lining and outer layers and lifting the midsole, removing all of the old zipper, placing, gluing and stitching in the replacement, tucking the bottom end under the midsole and gluing it down again, replacing the top few teeth with crimp-on stoppers, folding over and stitching the ends and stitching the boot closed again. Just like new. That’s a lot of gory detail, but its quite a process, and one that may consume the better half of a work day.

There is also an easier way: stitch the new zipper into the inside of the boot (through the lining and all) and then cut out the old one. This is the new norm. If you know of another cobbler in town who regularly replaces zippers the old/hard way, please let us know. We have some zippers to refer to them!

After several extremely late nights playing with zippers and taking a couple of mighty losses on the really stubborn ones, we’ve been forced to change our policy on zipper replacement or face zipper-inflicted extinction. Think “There’s Something About Mary“. Yes, its that bad.

Until our busy winter season subsides, we won’t be taking in zipper replacement jobs.

We thank you for understanding