Orinda Shoe Service

When you walk into Tori Major’s workshop shop in Orinda, the first thing you notice are the shoe boxes. Towering stacks of slightly faded blue and gold behind the counter. Well used but clearly still in great shape. 

Tori still remembers the smell of the varnish from when he and his dad painted them over 50 years ago in the backyard. Since the day the shop opened, these boxes have helped three generations keep track of their shop’s repair tickets. A fitting system for a business that prides itself on maximizing the life of a well-made good.

Passing it on

Tori is a wizard with leather and thread. He can breathe new life into a tattered old shoe: hand stitching on a new sole or replacing a broken heel with expert grace. It doesn’t stop with the soles on our feet though. Tori says he regularly repairs bags, purses, and even the occasional worn out chair cushion.

Orinda Shoe Service was started by Tori’s father in 1952 in Oakland. Tori eventually took over, and moved the shop over the hill to Orinda. Today, this family-run, black-owned business is one of the few remaining expert shoe repair shops in the Bay Area

A Day At The Shop

Shoes on our feet

Tori is a firm believer in buying once and buying well. While a handmade leather shoe or boot might cost more up front, he points out that these often handmade items are much more repairable. Sewing on a new sole every few years is much cheaper than buying
a new shoe every year in the long run.

When one things of sustainability, a tiny workspace filled with jars
of polish, patches of leather, and industrial sewing machines doesn’t often come to mind. Despite this, Tori and Orinda Shoe Service
are proud flagbearers for the oldest form of “green” consumption: repairing what we already have.