Designers’ Sole Secret Revealed

Amanda Collins’ first brush with red soles was like that of so many shoe lovers. On a trip to New York several years ago, the Sydney native bought her first pair of Christian Louboutins, only to find by day’s end, the slick scarlet sole had started to wear off.

Directed to try one of the label’s approved sole repairmen, Collins was sure she wasn’t the first to crave a more lasting approach to luxury.

Beginning with a simple pot of paint and a brush, the entrepreneur started Save Your Soles online, before expanding the range with thin, pliable rubber that could be cut to fit any shoes and adhered directly to the sole. It wasn’t long before the fashion community came calling.

“Manolo [Blahnik] came to me and said, ‘We want to buy the soles in bulk,'” Collins explained after wrapping this latest rotation of New York Fashion Week. In September 2013, she visited the designer and was “shocked” to learn masking tape was commonly used to protect shoe samples on the runway.

For the spring ’15 collections, Save Your Sole partnered with Oscar de la Renta, Opening Ceremony and Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, among others.

“It’s been great for us to enter [that luxury market], and show the practicality to the trade, but also, there are so many uses for the everyday gal,” Collins said.

This season, the accessories brand has developed a line of products that include tuberose-scented shoe-care products like leather moisturizer and multicolored sole-paint sets that are all hand-poured in the U.K., where Collins is mentored by Tim Cooper, managing director at Oliver Sweeney. Simplifying DIY, the stick-on soles now come in a variety of sizes — for shoes or boots — and are available for men and women.

Reflecting on her’s brand’s trajectory, Collins remembered when the soles first became available online.

“We put [them] online one day without promoting, just to make sure [everything worked],” she recounted. “The next day my sales director called to say we’d had 10 sales overnight. ‘Great,’ I said.” Collins paused at the memory, before continuing: “and then she told me Christian Louboutin’s merchandising team placed the first order.”

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