for the love of vogs

where the MotleyFlue gather

reviving Margie


Every now and again when I peruse the Fluevog Facebook page, it never fails that someone will put up a post declaring that while Fluevogs are absolutely gorgeous, they’re not quite budget-friendly. As a former struggling graduate student and a totally underpaid lecturer, I can definitely relate to the hole that burns in my wallet from buying a pair of Vogs. However, there are ways one can build a Fluevog collection on a limited budget. Today, I bring you the power of refurbishing.

Recently, I scored a great deal on the Choice | Margie on ebay. As you can see from the photos below, they were scuffed pretty badly. Margie has been on my vintage wish list for ages and given the low price, I knew that with some TLC, I could revive these babies! I could tell that the base of the shoe was in great condition (made with leather) and that the refurbishing was primarily cosmetic. Also, the seller was very honest with the condition of the shoes.

Tip: If the vintage Vog has a foam sole, beware. Foam, over time, can weaken and crack, making the Vog unwearable. I’ve seen cracked foam soles because my brother is an avid collector of athletic shoes. Also, fellow MotelyFlue member Gladys has a story to share soon:)


These photos were provided by the seller. I added the black arrows to illustrate the extreme scuffing. Margie really needed some TLC.

When the shoes arrived, I was glad to see that after adding an arch support, they fit perfectly! (Margie fits just like the Fellowship | Sandra. Because my feet are so flat, I need an arch support for a secure fit.) Yes, they were as scuffed as the photos indicated. I could swear that the previous owner ran them through a sandpaper funhouse!


These photos were taken after two coats of leather lotion. (Note: Your eyes aren’t fooling you. The color became much richer and I didn’t use any fancy photo tricks to enhance the image. I’m actually not a fan of altering photos.) What a difference!

I wanted to see if I could refurbish these on my own. The first thing I did was revive it with some leather lotion. As you can see from the photo above, the leather lotion gave Margie a much richer color and made it look less dried out. If you’re a Vog user and you don’t own a bottle of leather lotion, you need to get yourself a supply, stat! I’m obsessed with leather lotion. Once a Vog comes home with me, it doesn’t see the light of day without a coat or two of the stuff! It helps preserve the shoe, soften the leather, and keep the color nice and rich. You’d cry if you ever saw my Vog collection. They all look pristine because of my leather lotion obsession!

Once the leather lotion settled in, the scuffing was still noticeable. The backs of the heels still looked chewed up. Plus, the black marks on the toe just wouldn’t budge. With that, I knew I needed to take it to a cobbler. Our friends at Haight Street recommended Pioneer Renewer, a cobbler located in the Castro. When I went to Pioneer Renewer, the process was simple. I just asked them if they could refurbish Margie. I pointed out all the scuffing and the guys were really friendly. One week and $15 later (cash only!), I picked my newly revived Margie. Here’s the final product:


Taken after bringing them to Pioneer Renewer to have Margie refurbished. A good cobbler does wonders!

As you can see, the color is much richer and the scuffing is virtually gone. In person, you can see the wear and some of the texture issues. Otherwise, they’re perfect. They look like a comfortably worn pair of Vogs. I can’t believe how amazing they look now!

The final cost of these Vogs (shoes, shipping, and refurbishing) was $70. In Fluevog land, that is an excellent steal! For those of you who are looking for Vogs on a budget, check the FlueMarket and eBay. You never know what you’ll find! (If you’re curious about sizing, you can always talk to a dealer!)

Another advantage of refurbishing Fluevogs is that it’s a great way to re-cycle fashion. Though Margie was someone else’s trash, I definitely transformed her into my new treasure!

For the love of Fluegasms,



Author: jlrondilla

Joanne L. Rondilla, is a scholar, writer, and educator (not necessarily in that order). She received her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in Ethnic Studies and her B.A. in Art Studio and Asian American Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on beauty, race, gender, the body, and colonialism. She is the co-author of "Is Lighter Better? Skin Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans" (with Paul Spickard) and the co-editor of "Pacific Diaspora: Island Peoples in the United States and Across the Pacific" (with Paul Spickard and Debbie Hippolite-Wright). Born and raised in Dededo, Guam, Joanne considers the San Francisco Bay area home. Outside of the academy, she has more than twelve years of work experience in the cosmetics industry as a skincare specialist and make-up artist. While she's not an Imelda Marcos fan, Joanne does love her Fluevogs!

4 thoughts on “reviving Margie

  1. had a chance to look at the photos more closely, and i think i’m most impressed by the heart heels. they hardly look like they were ever that scuffed in the first place.

  2. Hi Joanne!

    I’ve been a follower of this blog for a couple of months now and had an opportunity to meet Gladys at the Tiki party!

    I wanted to let you know that I purchased a set of Lexol based on this post. I have yet to use it as I’m a bit scared. Do you know if it’s ok to use on all colors? From red/pink to lilac?

    Thank you for this blog!

    • Hi Alice! So nice to meet you:) I use leather conditioner on everything except suede. I suggest you call your local dealer for precise info or ask a cobbler. Another option is to do a spot test. You should know that it may darken some shoes, like the Malibran. However, I kinda like it like that:)

    • i also have a set of leather cleaners at home, thanks to joanne’s recommendation. 🙂 i just wanted to add that for my light-colored fluevogs (i have quite a few!), i use the Lexol Non-Darkening formula. i bought mine via amazon a couple of years ago and i love it. i wouldn’t use it for suede or nubuck, as joanne says. but it works wonderfully for my sky blue, cobalt, cream, and anything that isn’t black, brown, or dark red in my collection.

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