I have bad feet. I don’t mean they need spanking but that they make it difficult to find shoes that fit and are comfortable. My primary problem is that I have hammertoes on both feet – big toes that go under or over the other toes. My last two podiatrists have told me that there’s nothing they can do to cure them; there is no cure for hammertoes. They can only make me comfortable.
I found a pair of Sketchers that were soft and reasonably priced; they also seemed to fit, or could if there was some way to make taller spaces for my fold-over toes. We have gone to Proctor Shoe Repair for years for shoe polish or a difficult to find pair of boot laces. It’s been in business since 1929 and Bentley Henry has owned it since 2014.
This time we went to see if Henry (everyone calls him Henry) could make my shoes wearable. As he recommended, at home I put pieces of masking tape on the spots that need to be expanded. Then we went to Proctor Shoe Repair. Henry (he says everyone calls him Henry) told me to pay in advance, and if they needed more stretching, bring them back and he’ll stretch them some more – at no additional cost. Henry wets and stretches the part that needs it and it takes two full days to dry.
We went to pick them up, went home and when I finally put them on, one shoe needed more stretching. We took it back and he did more shoe magic. I picked the shoe up this week and I’m now wearing my shoes.
Henry does more than stretch shoes. He says “If my machine will sew it, I’ll work on it.” As we were waiting to pick up my shoe, a man came in with a fabric suitcase with a rip in it – Henry can fix it. If you have a leather or cloth bag, handbag, backpack or anything else of that nature, Henry will repair it. He’s so versatile that he’s relined handbags and shortened jacket sleeves, too.
He’s noticed that more people are buying custom shoes now, sneakers to heels. Women have come in to have him make their pricey boots fit their legs. Even younger customers have realized that extending the lives of their expensive sneakers is a good deal. He also has many senior customers and is always fascinated to hear the stories they tell. He’s friendly, personable and loves to talk to his customers. He enjoys people and enjoys fixing shoes.
There’s never a shortage of work. He’s owned the shop since 2014 and knows the repeat customers by their shoes. He has customers from all over the US and Canada who send their shoes to him. When he began at the shop, there were nine people working there. Now Henry’s on his own and would like to find someone to help.
Henry grew up in Alabama and was working in his grandpa’s shoe repair shop from the time he was 9; he was running the shop after school at 11 until he left home. He’s lived in Texas, Chicago and Japan. Coming out to visit a friend in the Northwest, he fell in love with the area and decided to stay. He and his wife have three biological daughters and they’ve helped raise another nine girls and boys. He’s a good man and will do right by you.
Have shoe problems? Call Henry at 253- 883-8136 for answers. Go see Henry at Proctor Shoe Repair at 3817 North 26th Street, Tacoma.