Florida Shoe Hospital

click to enlarge Luis Padilla of Florida Shoe Hospital. - ERIC SNIDER
Luis Padilla of Florida Shoe Hospital.

We need a resole, stat! The operating room is the size of a large closet, and it’s filled with rags and bottles and cans and tools, none sterile. The waiting room is three shoeshine chairs near the front of the cramped store in downtown Tampa. But man, can Luis Padilla cure footwear problems (and throw in a lot of smiles and laughter). He repairs, cleans, dyes and shines shoes, all with quick turnarounds and reasonable — make that absurd ¬— prices. How ’bout this? A four-step dye job on a pair of Italian lace-ups for … $18. Luis has been manning his shop for 20 years and reckons that his space, around the corner from the old Hub, has been a shoe repair shop for 95 years. Next time you consider chucking that favorite pair of worn-out kicks, check with Luis first. 406 E. Zack St., Tampa, 813-223-1020