Shoe Clinic: 'Saving one sole at a time'

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- Have you ever thrown out tennis shoes because they were too dirty, scratched up or just plain worn out? Well, you can take your beat up sneakers to the Shoe Clinic, so that the technicians there can bring them back to life.

When former UAB Football Player Johnni Arrington discovered the shoe clinic, he says it ended a long search to find a place to restore his collection of old beat-up gym shoes.

"When I found this place that gave me something to do with my shoes because I have a whole bunch of shoes from sports over the years," Arrington said.

You could call the Shoe Clinic, a doctors' office of sorts, for sneakers.

"We feel like we are surgeons or sneaker techs that pretty much save the life of the shoe." Alvin Miller, one of the owners, said. "We analyze it to see what are the symptoms, to see if it needs to be repainted, see if it needs to be cleaned, deodorized and then from there we take it back to the emergency room."

Depending the diagnosis, the treatment for your tennis shoes may include anything from getting rid of scratches, scuff stains or painting the gym shoe to give it that brand new look again.

"I've had customers cry before because of it's their favorite shoe or it may have been a family member's shoe that they had that was passed down to them," Miller added.

Every Saturday, the Shoe Clinic hands out shoes to the homeless in Five Points South. It's a community service the owners call Operation Sole Care.

"We try to pretty much provide them with soles," Miller said. "We see a lot of them walking around with their soles blown out, maybe a shoe that's too small or maybe walking around in the heavy work boot, which isn't good for anyone who is continuously walking, so give back by giving back soles."

'Saving one sole at a time' is the Shoe Clinic motto. They admit that every shoe can't be saved, but as the only sneaker clinic of its kind in the southeast, they believe they have a good shot at restoring just about any sneaker you bring to them.

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