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Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm

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180 Bartor Road Toronto M9M2W6

180 Bartor Road Toronto M9M2W6

Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm

#AtHomeWithWalters w/ Lorena Agolli of Sole Survivor
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#AtHomeWithWalters w/ Lorena Agolli of Sole Survivor

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Welcome to the second instalment of our ongoing series #AtHomeWithWalters, where we go into members of our communities' closets and chat all things shoes + shoe care with them. This time, we got to visit Lorena Agolli's amazing live/work space in Toronto.

ABOUT LO: Lorena a.k.a 'Lo' is the owner and head cobbler of Sole Survivor - an all-female shoe and leather repair shop located in Parkdale. Since 2013, she has been cementing the business into a go-to establishment for anyone facing footwear dilemmas. Sole Survivor offers traditional techniques and unmatched attention to detail, transforming all types of shoes, boots, handbags and leather goods while upholding a commitment to exceptional workmanship. Lo educates on the step-by-step repair process and offers helpful tips to assist with the upkeep and protection of any item you bring through her doors. Her and her skilled staff treat each repair with the utmost care and ultimately their respect and passion for well-made footwear and leather goods is reflected in the work. We took a look inside her studio and asked her some footwear questions (and also peeped some Walter's products hanging around...)

How did your passion for shoes start? 

It wasn't necessarily shoes I fell in love with at first, I just wanted to be creative and work with my hands and hopefully create something that I would enjoy. Shoes specifically were just a happy accident. I made myself a leather pair of house moccasins and fell in love with the fact that I made something I could wear and walk on, and it started from there...

Tell us a little about how you got into the world of shoe repair.

After apprenticing with a shoemaker for a year (which was unpaid) I needed to look for work. It wasn't easy at first finding work within the shoe industry, as it was a very male dominated trade and not many of them were under the impression that a woman could do the same work they did. Luckily I found work at Sole Survivor and after sometime when the previous owner wanted to sell the business, I took a chance and decided to take over the shop. 8 years later, we are still saving soles and for that I am extremely grateful. 

What's your favourite part of what you do?

I love that I get to work with my hands and that every day and every repair is unique in it's own way and that keeps me present and on my toes on the daily. 

What's your favourite pair of shoes and why?

Margiela Maison - Tabi boots. I love working on them, the craftsmanship is top-notch and the soft buttery leather is so beautiful to work with. They last a very long time if taken care of properly.

What's your favourite Walter's product?

I like the leather protector cream, because you don't need a lot to get an even conditioned and protected leather look and it gives a bit of a shine when buffed out which is great when you don't have the time to add polish on your shoes.

What's the most you've ever spent on a pair of shoes?

$400 for a pair of Trippen shoes about 7 years ago - which I love til' this day!

High top or low?

I always say "with every HIGH there is a LO" ;) but in this case HIGH TOP all the way!