I have been – and remain – an advocate of putting plastic taps under the toes and the heels of shoes in order to preserve the soles and extend the overall life of the shoes. I’ve been doing it for years, and it has worked very well.

Every time I bring a new pair of shoes to the cobbler to get “tapped,” he points at the leather sole and asks if I want rubber, which is a thin protective layer of rubber adhered to the leather sole. When I tell him I want taps, he asks again: “You sure you don’t want rubber?”

His obsession with rubber instead of taps under the toes made me wonder: Was rubber really the right way to go? After a little research, I learned that there is no definitively right or wrong way with this. Several variables like weather, climate and type of wear come into play, all detailed very nicely in an article I found on The Shoe Snob.

When I got new loafers for the summer, I decided to try the rubber option with my usual plastic taps under the heels. Between the purchase of the shoes and the writing of this post, it’s only been about a month and it seems to be working out just fine. In fact, in the interest of preserving the soles and practically eliminating the need for expensive re-soling altogether, the thin layer of rubber makes a lot of sense. Taking it even further would be a combination of the rubber and taps under the heel and the toe. We’ll see.

For now, I’m pleased with the rubber option so far.