9 E. 38th St., Seventh fl.
T.O. Dey is one of a handful of shops where talented cobblers still make footwear from scratch, both for civilians and for the casts of Broadway shows (including all those man-size pumps for La Cage aux Folles). The shelves of this tiny factory are chockablock with clients’ individual lasts, and the work stations are packed with specialized repair problems that your average guy-on-the-corner cannot tackle. Owner Gino Bifulco and his small staff can take on almost anything, and dyeing footwear is an everyday challenge for them. Fabric shoes, those wedding-wear staples, can be matched to just about any color Pantone proffers. Leather shoes are colored with a spray-on dye, and are therefore trickier, but not for Gino. The staff will even take on two-tone cowboy boots, patiently masking the appliqués for a flawless finish. (As you might expect, they recommend that you go from lighter colors to darker ones.) Only suede is off-limits. Dyeing a pair of shoes is about $20 to $30, and boots start at $40. A tip from one shrewd shopper: Late in the season, buy great shoes in an ugly color that’s marked way downthen have them dyed black.