This shoe (T.143-1983) was made by Magli in cream patent leather with a polyurethane (ester) heel. The sole of the heel had become brittle and had broken into pieces.
A tracing of the shape of the sole was taken to help fit the pieces together.
Luckily most of the sole remained! A strong adhesive was then used to piece the fragments back together along the breaks. The white coating you can see in this picture is the ‘bloom’, a process that occurs when plastic begins to degrade and the plasticizers migrate to the surface. Loss of plasticizers makes the plastic brittle and susceptible to breaking.
Next a method had to be worked out for attaching the sole back to the heel of the shoe. It was originally attached with three ‘rods’ through holes in the silver heel. It was not possible to simply glue the sole back on to the heel as the silver coating would have been damaged.
The stabilised sole was adhered to some thin Reemay (spun-bonded polyester) painted to match the colour of the sole. This stabilised the sole and made it much stronger and easier to attach back onto the shoe heel itself.
A circular piece of plastazote foam was attached to a sheet of thicker Reemay. This layer is intended to be the strong layer holding the sole to the heel, but with minimum contact.
The plastazote tube sits in the void of the silver heel and was adhered using a small amount of adhesive.
The sole piece was then glued to the thicker plastazote and held in place.
See the conserved shoe in the ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ section of the exhibition ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014’.