A lead keel shoe may be a desirable feature for you, or perhaps not. Is the keel built as a fiberglass
shell that has been filled with ballast? In this case, a lead shoe might provide a soft "bumper" that could protect the keel from getting damaged if you were to hit something. A hole or crack in such a built-down keel can lead to losing the ballast out of it. The ballast in such keels is sometimes iron or steel
, which could rust if a leak lets water
in. Rusting metal expands, which could burst the keel wide open:not fun. If the keel is a bolted-on fin, adding a lead "bumper" might not be quite as useful, but it would still serve, as you suggest, to stiffen the boat by adding ballast down low. This would help in windward performance and might delay the need to reef, making the boat less work
to handle. The shoe would have to be quite substantial in order to add much strain to the keel/hull join. How much does it weigh? If it's been there a while without making the keel fall off, chances are it's not going to now. As others have suggested, ask who did the work and why. It could be that this shoe makes the boat better than her sisterships that heel too much and have to be reefed in anything over 10 knots.