Fencing can be rough on your shoes, especially if you practice on metal strips or drag your foot when you lunge. Unless your parents are still paying for your equipment (enjoy it while you can), you probably hate having to buy new kicks all the time. I once delayed replacing my shoes until the hole where my foot drags went all the way through my shoe and destroyed a couple pairs of socks. I only gave in when I realized my foot was bleeding because my skin was rubbing directly on the floor and I had to leave practice early. But I don’t have to do that anymore, because now I can extend the life of my shoes despite my draggy lunge.
The answer is Stick and Flick‘s shoe patches. They’re a very sturdy suede sticker designed to protect skateboarder’s shoes from concrete. They’re only six dollars for a three-pack that will last you at least a year, unless you’re fencing on sandpaper. They have canvas ones too that vegetarians or vegans might prefer.
If you just stick it onto your shoe, there are two common failure modes: if the leading edge makes contact with the floor, it can roll up and try to peel the sticker off your shoe. Even if it doesn’t, over time the adhesive can stretch and the sticker can slide into a more vulnerable position. After a few experiments, I’ve got the application procedure down pat.
If the shoes are new, fence in them at least once so there’s just enough of a mark to see where the inside edge drags – that’s the spot we want completely covered by the patch. After rounding off the corners of the patch with scissors, I unlace the shoe of my back foot, peel off the backing, and apply the patch so one edge lies flush with the edge of my shoe (see the picture). Then I use scissors to gouge out holes to align with the shoelace holes that I just covered up. This way, the leading edge is off the floor and the laces stop it from sliding down my foot. It’s worth mentioning that the patch doesn’t adhere as well to mesh.
Nobody sponsored this post and I bought the patches with my own money. I’ve been using them for years because I like them and I think they save me money.