Sole Protectors for Louboutins?

A question we’re often ask by our clients is what is best way to protect your Christian Louboutin red lacquered soles. There are many sole protection and preservation options but which is the right option? This post looks at the best ways of protecting your Louboutin soles.
 
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To Preserve, Protect or Go Naked Sole...

You’ve just purchased your Piggalle Follies or maybe you’ve already scuffed the soles. Either way at some point in your Louboutins life you’ll likely consider the need for sole protection.

Currently there are several options in the market that cater towards preserving and protecting Louboutin red soles – the most popular include Vibram, TOPY, and Clear Sole Protectors.

And of course theres also the option to wear your soles naked, let the natural red finish fade and worry about repainting / servicing your Louboutins at a later stage.

But which Louboutin sole protector is the best option for keeping your shoes the way you bought them?

 
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What Do Christian Louboutin Recommend?

The official Louboutin website simply states – “the red lacquer sole will wear off with use of the shoes” – they also emphasise the fact that wearing of the red soles is not a manufacturing fault or defect in the shoes.

The website also provides some general advice on taking care of your Louboutin shoes without providing any specific advice on red sole preservation or sole protection options.

Instead Christian Louboutin strongly recommend consulting a Louboutin shoe repairer or leather restoration professional for any repairs or refurbishing.

As with most luxury brands Louboutin are more interested in selling you another pair of shoes rather than providing you with options for preserving or protecting your items.

Sole Protector Options for Louboutin Red Soles?

Before we begin weighing up the available options for your red soles, it is important to make a distinction between three different red sole options.

Sole protection refers to having thin profile half rubber sole protectors – usually TOPY, Vibram or Casali – applied to your shoes by a shoe repairer or cobbler.

Sole preservation refers to applying temporary clear plastic films to your soles that can be done DIY and do not require any modification to the underlying leather.

Leave naked refers to not applying any protective layer / covering over your soles. This leaves your red soles to wear naturally over time.

Sole Protection: Half Rubber Soles

Sole protection is also described as getting your Louboutins “TOPYed” and needs to be done by a shoe repairer or cobbler. This is the most popular option for protecting your Louboutin soles.

The general process involves sanding back the leather soles a few millimetres before sticking a layer of rubber over the top, smoothing and finishing the soles.

The main benefits of rubber as opposed to naked leather soles are its superior durability and anti-slip qualities. Having rubber sole protectors applied early to your Louboutins is the most long term and cost-effective option.

 
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Despite these benefits, a problem with protective soles is that applying them correctly is a skill. Unfortunately there are not many shoe repairers with the expertise to handle designer shoes so you can risk damaging your shoes.

Another disadvantage is that applying half rubber soles arguably detracts from the aesthetics of your Louboutins. The red laquered stain needs to be shaved off and replaced with 1mm colour-matched rubber.

However, if the procedure is done correctly and the rubber is flush with the existing soles and edges properly finished, this should only really be an issue for the most devote Louboutin followers.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of rubber sole additions please see our post on adding rubber sole protectors to your shoes, which answers many of the most common queries about this sole modification.

Sole Preservation: Clear Film Sole Protectors

Clear sole protectors are transparent plastic films that are marketed as a military grade solution for preserving the red bottoms of Louboutins.

Protect My Pumps, 3M, Sole Sticker and Zagg are some of the more popular invisible clear sole protector products marketed specifically for Louboutins.

Clear sole protectors are easy to apply DIY and aesthetically pleasing as they preserve the look of the original red lacquered soles. The aesthetic features of the material are well-marketed and appeal to women who want to keep their Louboutins looking how they bought them.

 
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The main criticism of clear sole protectors is there long-term value. It needs to be emphasised that clear sole protectors are not a permanent sole protection method and need to be replaced with each wear. The adhesion of the protector to the sole is only temporary and will peel away with prolonged exposure to the elements.

In addition clear sole protectors provide no anti-slip protection and can actually increase the risk of an accident occurring. The non-grip surface is dangerous and poses a hazard particularly when worn in a social situation.

Clear sole protectors have also been known to peel away the red lacquered finish of the soles when taken off. This typically occurs when the protector is worn for too long or placed on the sole incorrectly, which can cause the red finish of the soles to strip. This defeats the purpose of applying them in the first place.

Although clear sole protectors may appear the most aesthetic option, this is all outweighed by the impracticality of re-applying the material, the reoccurring costs for new protector films, the slip hazards posed and the possibility of damage to your Louboutins.

Leave Naked: Repair or Repaint later

The final option is to wear your Louboutin soles as is and allow natural wear to take its course. Over time the soles should begin to scuff and parts of the red finish will wear away.

The time for this process to to occur will depend on how often you wear your Louboutins. When you decide to get the soles looked at your first preference might be to resole your Louboutins so they look exactly the same as the original.

Unfortunately Louboutin does not offer a resoling service and you will need to utilise a reputable shoe repairer for restoring your Louboutin soles.

 
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Resoling Louboutins to a factory-standard is a difficult task for even the most skilled shoe-makers. A more realistic and cost-effective option is to either restore the soles or add half sole protection to your shoes (as outlined above).

Refinishing the the soles is another way of restoring Louboutins. This requires the soles to be built up with leather, smoothed and the colour-matched red finish reapplied.

One thing to consider is that if you opt for repainting, this will need to be continuously reapplied as the red finish will eventually wear from the soles again.

The Best Louboutin Sole Protection Method?

So what is the best option for caring for and protecting your Louboutin soles?

After exploring each option in-depth, it’s clear that currently there is not a perfect solution on the market for your red soles. Each option has pros and cons which should be weighed up depending on your circumstances.

If longevity and value is what you’re after than you can’t go wrong with one of the half sole protection options – TOPY and Vibram Soles. These are by far our recommended choice and the best long-term investment you’ll make in your Louboutins.

The clear sole protectors while aesthetically superior are not a practical solution for your soles. These are expensive (reoccuring costs), hazardous and potentially damaging to your soles.

Another option is to wear your Louboutins in before deciding to have your soles repainted or resoled with half rubber sole protection.

You then get to enjoy the red-laquer finish of your new shoes before deciding on whether to service them or move on to a long-lasting half rubber solution.

Need Help With Your Louboutins?

With an established reputation for over 60 years and trusted by designers, fashionistas and luxury brands, we offer an unparalleled repair and restorative service for your leather goods. Send photos to our team for a quote.

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