Huge thanks to Ron Wallwork for this discovery.
Ron’s personal Note: I think this piece is priceless. Its easy to forget that times were still hard for most people and value for money by way of durability, influenced most purchases.
I can relate to the rubber stick-on soles and recall that my father used to heel my shoes
with rubber from a car-tyre. Lamb’s wool available at any chemists was also used to fill
in the gaps mentioned, but blisters weren’t uncommon for several weeks when breaking in leather shoes. Another ‘wrinkle’, but one I never tried was to put the shoes on and soak your feet in a bowl of water. Yet another method of preventing blisters was to apply surgical spirit to the feet.
Race Shoes – an extract from a lengthy two-part article by Charlie Hatch in the RWR issues of 351/352 (Dec 71/Jan 72).
The best shoes I ever wore, (I use them every day, I have several pairs) are Whitlock’s Roadmasters. Shoes are at their most comfortable when they have been well worn. After a few miles I, personally, add a Woolworth’s lightweight stick-on sole. Its renewal is the only way the sole is ever mended. The rubber grips the road, the leather of the shoe contributes firmness. When renewing the heel, I use the concave type, its convex side in contact with road, of course. The descending foot rolls on it, as it were. I think ‘Phillips’ are the only makers now. I stick them on with ‘Holdtite’ and use smaller nails than those provided.
It sometimes happens that around the heel of any shoe a slight gap occurs where the floor of the shoe, not having been pushed tightly back enough. This can cause blisters. There are two remedies. Or you can use both in conjunction.
Cut out the heel-half of a leather inner sole (which you can get a cobbler to make). Push it well back, even a bit up the back of the heel and secure it by two or three firm nails at its instep end.
The other remedy (I gave this ‘wrinkle’ to the Lancs WC’s ‘CONTACT’ when it came into being a few years ago and I think they appreciated it) is, I think entirely my own idea. Fill in this tiny gap with clear Bostick and when it hardens, give it another coat and then another. When it hardens you will have a smooth and well fitting bed for the heel.
This is a most successful idea. The hardened Bostik wears as long the shoe, which with stick-on rubber soles, lasts for very many years, its floor thus shaping itself better to the contours of the foot.
You can’t help wondering if Charlie would have been sponsored today by Woolworth’s and indeed the French firm, BOSTIK! More information about Charlie much appreciated.
DOING IT WITH HALF THE FAG!
Further to the Charlie’s thoughts on repairing shoes, Roy Gunnett has tracked down in a file of material bequeathed to the club by Harold Ogden, a nephew of Frank and Jim O’Neill an unsolicited testimonial from the great Tom Payne regarding the wearing qualities and benefits derived from the use of ‘Hixopad’ rubber heels. It is dated April 4th 1907. Tom states, I’ve been training hard to win a 24-mile walk promoted by the South Shield Recreation Committee. I succeeded in winning. During the whole of my training I have used your ‘Hixopad’ rubber heels, one pair usually lasting me three months and I walk on average 110 miles per week.
In exploring further Roy looked to see if you could still buy ‘Hixopad’ rubber heels and indeed you can! See above a great coloured advert for them dating back to the Edwardian times. In addition, Roy notes that for a part of Tom Payne’s career, as referenced in Harold’s file, he raced for the Lancashire Walking Club.
See here for an utterly wonderful article by Tim Erickson about Tom Payne, ‘the mighty atom’