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Sole Mate – The Salvation of Women’s Footwear

Brian Gavigan

After years of repairing boots and shoes, and operating a men’s footwear store – selling handsomely refurbished oxfords, loafers, brogues, derbies, and the like – Brian Gavigan (Buffalo’s youngest cobbler) has opened Sole Man’s feminine counterpart called Sole Mate.

Sole Mate opened its doors on Memorial Day, giving customers an initial glimpse into the new, quaint and sophisticated retail element that adjoins the original shopfront. Together, the two retail spaces create a wonderful his/hers shopping component that is the perfect fit for Elmwood.

I must say that my favorite pair of classic Italian dress shoes was purchased at Sole Man. They just don’t make them like they used to, which is why Gavigan prides himself on the repair aspect of his business. He’s even won awards for his craftsmanship. But until now, the guys have made up the crux of the retail business. As of Monday, the playing field is now level, with the completion of a one-off women’s shoe grotto that is packed to the gills with all sorts of stylish finds, including refurbished Bean boots, pumps, Mary Janes, Wellington boots, wedges, chelseas, mules, slingbacks, and on and on.

Not only are there some lovingly restored lace-ups and slip-ons lining the shelves, there are also plenty of accompanying creature comforts such as large powder room, coffee station, mirrors galore, and even a patio (with grill). The entire shop is open for browsing, or it can be rented out for pop-ups and private parties, including bridal showers.

Gavigan told me that he can do many of the quicker shoe repairs on the fly, while customers make themselves comfortable. Or they can simply drop their kicks off and get back on their merry way. He’s made Sole Mate into a place where customers can hang out for a spell, sip and chat, inspect the shoe selections, or interact with the cobbler station that is in plain view. 

Sole Man just wasn’t the same without Sole Mate. It’s a marriage made in heaven, with Buffalo shoe-lovers as the beneficiaries.

Sole Man and Sole Mate – 565 Elmwood – Corner of Elmwood and Anderson | Buffalo NY | (716) 836-6464 | Facebook

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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