Prada "Shoe Lab": Hopefully not a Designer Break-Up in the Making

  1. Megs and I welcomed our baby boy earlier this month and wanted to share the news with the TPF community. Come say hello to Baby Vaughn!
    Dismiss Notice
  1. Hi All,

    This is my first post here, and I cannot bee-leeve I haven't found this forum before since you all share my fetishes for good accessories.

    Anyway, I'm just wondering if anyone's had any experience getting their Prada's or Miu Miu's shoes repaired. If not, let me share my story in the hopes that it can help someone else....

    I have like 20 pairs of Prada shoes, and j'adore them, and have never had to have one of them repaired. My one and only pair of Miu Miu's had a crisis at breakfast yesterday though. When I was walking home, I realize that my sole had completely crumbled and left bits and pieces all over the street. They were, like, totally disintegrating! :wtf:

    The shoes are very hard to describe. These are a really cool sneaker looking shoe, with a rather chunky brownish rubber sole which is obviously custom. They have a tweed like material that's green and pink irridescent, with green laces, and a green and pink ribbon that runs from the very top, down to the laces. Very stylish, super comfy, and pretty unique.

    Anyway, like I said, the entire sole on both shoes just crumbled into a million pieces leaving its wreckage all over the street in a breadcrumb trail. I was totally distraught. I took them over to the best shoe repair place I know of, and the guy told me that they were unsalvagable, and that save the manufacturer putting an entirely new sole on them, that I should toss my beloved shoes.

    ...Noooo! Quel horror!! :crybaby:

    Not to be deterred, I dialed for dollars all over NYC (I live in DC and we don't have a Prada store here) to see if I could get ahold of someone who could help me. Finally I got some woman who told me that there is something called the "Shoe Lab" for Prada/Miu Miu. Since my shoes were a few years old, and I don't even remember where I bought them, they just said that I could bring them to any retailer who carries their brand and they would send them in for me.

    So I trekked up to Needless Mark-Up (oh, sorry, Neiman Marcus), where I proceeded to have a heated disagreement with the salesman. He insisted that since I didn't buy the shoes there, that they weren't NM's responsibility. So I politely informed him, twice, that I was just doing what Prada told me. Finally, the manager of the shoe department came out of the back room and told me that she called their main office and that they would happily send the shoes in for me, but was very firm with the notion that she had no idea how long it would take for them to repair them -- or even if they can. She even noted that while she's sent shoes in for repair, she'd never seen anything quite on the "order of magnitude" of my destroyed soles (direct quote). I think she was somewhat amused that I didn't just chuck them, but also said several times how cool they were.

    The thing that kinda sticks in my craw about this is that Prada and Miu Miu shoes are:

    a) very expensive, so you would think that they would have some sort of guarantee about them;
    b) they're Italian, and Italians are all about quality, aesthetics and the upkeep of fashion;
    and c) that soles for these shoes are quite custom which is part of their allure. So it's not like you can just take them to Joe Blow's shoe repair and resole them.

    All these things combined give me hope that they'll be shipped off to Italy and in 6 months to a year's time I'll get my beloveds back good as new.

    Though I'm not holding my breath.

    If anyone else has experience with the Shoe Lab, I'd love to hear it. I have no idea what will become of them and I'm, quite frankly, in suspense!! :shrugs:
  2. Sorry about your shoes, but I don't think its reasonable to expect any shoes, no matter how expensive, to last forever. All NM is going to do is to send them to the local shoe repair guy that they use (this is what they do for shoes purchased at the store). There is a great shoe repair place in Alexandria, VA on King Street. Its in the strip mall that has a Giant, Washington Sports Club and Rite Aid. Good luck.
  3. Why would both Prada and NM said they were going to something called the "shoe lab"? It seems kind of strange that a group of people who don't know each other would have the same line. The shoes actually weren't very old at all, which may be why they were keen to send them off.

    Thanks for the repair rec, but I don't have a passport to cross the Potomac, so I think I'll stick with my guy in GTown. ;)
  4. Let me know what happens :yes:
  5. I just want to say how "glad" I am to have found this post. I'm a guy (no purses, here), but found this thread via a google search.

    I have 15 or 16 pairs of Prada and Miu Miu shoes, most of which were bought 5, 6, or 7 years ago. The Prada shoes (with the Vibram soles) are built like tanks and are like new to this day. I have 3 pairs of Miu Miu shoes and 4 pairs of Miu Miu sandals -- each with the same chunky, rubber sole (ostensibly similar to yours). I don't wear sandals often, so I've probably worn each pair 5 or 6 times, if that.

    The other day, I thought I'd wear a pair of sandals, and when I pulled them off the shelf, the chunky, rubber soles had *crumbled* in spots. They were disintegrating!

    One pair looks so bad -- with chunks of rubber actually *missing* -- that I literally wondered if a rat or mouse had gotten to them. (Although I own a very nice home, when I first bought it, 13 years ago, rats had found their way in, during the renovation phase, during which no one was living in the house. And they chewed up a bunch of stuff. I had Orkin and contractors seal every crack and crevice, and I've been fine ever since -- but you never forget the experience of finding chewed-up items in your home.)

    Anyway, I looked at my other Miu Miu sandals and shoes, and sure enough, each one has some degree of this crumbling. I was devastated (and still am).

    Interestingly, the ones with the *brown* soles are generally in worse shape than the ones with the *black* soles. Although the shapes are identical on every shoe, the brown ones have disintegrated *more* than the black ones, presumably due to differences in the chemical composition of the rubber. I'm sure my local shoe-repair shop can glue the black ones back together. But the brown ones are seemingly beyond repair because *chunks* of rubber are missing from them.

    I'm still puzzled by that, because I don't know where the chunks could have gone. I suppose it's possible they fell off, the last time I wore them, and I didn't notice. I showed some pieces of rubber to my housekeeper and asked her if she'd seen any on the floor and perhaps vacuumed them up, but she said no.

    Until I found this thread, I still wondered if perhaps something had eaten them. But now, having read your experience (albeit almost 7 years later), and observing the brown-vs-black situation, I'm more inclined to believe this is just a failure of the shoes, themselves.

    Did Prada in fact repair them for you? (Or, if anyone else reading this, were you able to get yours repaired?) Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Fortunately, there's a Prada store, here in Los Angeles, so I can go directly "to the source," rather than having to deal with Neiman Marcus.

    Thanks for sharing your story. There's an odd sense of "comfort" when you learn that someone else has had the same, bizarre experience. At least you know you're not crazy. lol. I just hope my shoes can be repaired.
  6. How did it go with the shoes?? Anyone have any updates? I have recently had my second problem with Prada and after a long day of nowhere I sent them an FB message:

    Hi! Frustrated customer here and wanting to let you know what a terrible company you are!

    Do you have any idea how many forums are dedicated to complaining about your poor quality and even worse customer service? Do you know that it is ridiculous to charge several hundreds of dollars for your shoes and then not stand behind them with a repair service?

    I first bought my daughter ballet flats 2 years ago and had to wait over 6 mos for Saks to finally handle a problem with them because you refused to help in any way. Then I bought a pair of wedges from Nordstrom and recently the buckle is broken/missing on one shoe. I emailed your customer service repeatedly and keep getting one sentence responses saying there is nothing your company will do and I can go to the place I purchased to see if they will help. Of course being the middle man they do not want to help! My best hope is after repeated naggings I will get their assistance.

    I was not sure if my first experience was normal or not because Saks was so apologetic on your behalf, but now I am sure you really are a terrible company and will be absolutely sure to pass up any further purchase, even when they give it away for free!

    I bought a pair of YSL heels damaged from a designer clearance sale, emailed them for repair clearly explaining I purchased them as-is damaged and could they help me. They responded promptly with a yes, paid for me to ship to them, fixed my shoes, wrapped them up like a gift with all new dustcovers and box, and sent them back promptly! It was amazing and I will continue to spend money on them because I know it is an investment, not a risk.

    How can you compete with labels of this caliber and not offer anything near that level of service?

    Please forward my distress letter to anyone and everyone in your company until someone feels guilty for robbing people!

    Thanks for money down the drain,

    I think nothing will come of this but at least I feel better! I will probably go ask my friend at Neiman if he can help me but I am not hopeful, they really really don't like to help with anything.
  7. My trip to the Miu Miu store in Beverly Hills was fruitless. The manager was very, very apologetic. She was empathetic and great. But she had no solution to offer.

    Turns out I was one of many who have visited the store with the same problem, and she was familiar with the complaint. In the past she had tried varies things, including sending customers (and shoes) to the Prada store up the street; (b) extensive conversations with the corporate office; and (c) even sending customers to various 3rd-party repair shops -- all to no avail.

    She also informed me that Miu Miu no longer even makes men's shoes. (Not that that should matter, because similar soles were used on women's shoes.) But her point was that there simply are no "official" options.

    Due to my work schedule, I couldn't touch this for the last month. However, another Google search revealed this company, which is also in the Los Angeles area:

    113 W. California Blvd
    Pasadena, CA 91105

    Phone: 626-487-2907

    Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm • Sat, 8am-5pm (all times PST)

    I hope to visit them in person, this week, and I'll report back with the results.

    (I wish there were a way to identify many users with this problem, as we could probably mount a class-action lawsuit. But although we know for sure that others have had this problem, there still may not be enough of us -- and finding everyone would be next-to-impossible.)
  8. I had a similar problem with an med expensive brand of shoes I had bought at Nordstrom about 7 or 8 years ago. I pulled them out to wear, and they literally disintegrated on the street-it was awful! Nordstrom could not take them back understandably since I had no receipt or box-I really only asked if them could help me fix them. But, they told me the soles were made of some odd material which had since been found to be unstable (obviously). Your Prada shoes must have been made of similar material. A total waste and one that none of us could have known about.
  9. Well, I have good news: NewSole (contact info in my previous post) did a nice job repairing my Miu Miu sandals.

    Since they're in the Los Angeles area, I dropped off a pair, last week. (One of the 4 I have that need repair. I wanted to see their work before committing to all 4.) (By the way, if you're planning to visit in person, note that the actual name of the physical repair shop is Station Wagon Shoe Repair in Pasadena, CA. "NewSole" was ostensibly conceived as a way to promote, online, that particular specialty. But it created confusion, when I drove over there.

    The guy who does the work is competent, but cantankerous. Despite the dedicated Prada page on their web site, it seems they'd never been asked to replace this particular style of Miu Miu sole. He inspected mine and said he'd replace the crumbling, "inner" sole, while attempting to keep and reuse the molded-rubber "lower" sole (which is also embossed with "Miu Miu" on the back). He also quoted a fee of $134.

    I said that would be fine, and I asked what kind of material would be used for the inner sole. He named some sort of material, but it wasn't a type of material that a customer would know by name. So, I asked if he had any other shoes in the shop on which he'd use that material. He said no. So, I asked if I could simply see a piece of that raw material. At that point he became noticeably annoyed and said, "I can't do this job."


    So, I diffused that moment by explaining, "Sir, I'm not doubting your expertise. You're clearly a master shoemaker, and I'm not questioning your work in the least. But it doesn't sound like you're replacing these soles with the same type of material. It sounds like you're planning to rebuild them using a different material than the original. So -- merely to prevent any surprises -- I was simply asking what kind of material you'd be using. Is it a type of leather?"

    He laughed and said leather would be "too heavy." I said, "Well, you're the expert. I trust your judgement. But I'm simply asking if it'd be possible to see a piece of the material that you're recommending. I'm sure it'll be great, but this way, I won't be surprised when they're completed.

    This time, he retreated to the back and returned with a type of dense, rubbery foam that was, in fact familiar -- you've all seen it -- but I'd never heard the specific name that he used for it. (And I can't remember the name at the moment.)

    Anyway, I'm happy to report he did a good job. There was some glue residue that I noticed, and his assistant used a giant, rubber eraser for that. They got most of it. Clearly a LOT of rubber cement had to be used. If you hold the shoes in front of you, you can see that they've been worked on. The "finish" isn't as flawless as Prada's. But if you place them on the floor (or put them on) and look down at them -- they're fine.

    I give him an A-.

    Considering the alternative -- throwing the shoes away -- I'm OK with an A- job. (I also left a 2nd pair to be repaired.) :smile:

    Here are some before and after shots...
    miu 2 - 50%.jpg
  10. I can't believe that I found this thread! I thought that I was going crazy when my Miu Miu boots disintegrated walking in wet weather from the train station to my office. I had never seen anything like it. The foam inner sole disintegrated to the point that I had "flopping soles". I had to walk around in my office without shoes and then take a cab to the train station because the shoes were non-functional. I would have done better if I had bought the boots from Target!

    I sent pictures to Miu Miu who told me to bring the shoes to the Miu Miu boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Miu Miu supposedly sent the boots to Italy for inspection however, two weeks later, I received a call from the manager that the boots were back and could not be repaired. The Miu Miu manager was unwilling to do a thing for me other than ship back the boots. Surprisingly, it is her opinion that Miu Miu shoes are not meant to last, regardless of price. Good to know for the next time I consider spending the money to buy a pair of these shoes!
  11. Hello

    Same problem here with MIU MIU and PRADA. Have several of each from different seasons. Miu Miu's same thing: Crumbled to bits leaving crumbs all over...I just sold them off on ebay for whatever $$ I could get. Prada Americas Cup has the same issue. Have 2 that has crumbled on the inside of the soles (feels squishy with some sort of gel like substance oozing from the soles)... I do believe some of these rubber type materials have an "expiry date" of sorts and are not meant to last. I now stay away from these type of shoes even if I love them...Similar issue with my Bally and Louis Vuitton drivers and cracking/crumbled soles (despite the leather top being absolutely in perfect condition)....I cannot for the life of me understand why they do not use more resistant and durable materials considering they cost $400 to 800!!!!