5 Ways a Cobbler Can Fix Your Shoes

In a world that often prioritizes the “buy new, buy now” mentality, cobblers offer a much-needed sustainable alternative. They know how to fix shoes and can also help you preserve the new ones.

So, before you toss out that worn-out pair of shoes, consider taking a trip to a cobbler. It is a better alternative for your wallet, your shoes, and the planet.

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5 Ways a Cobbler Can Fix Your Shoes

Routine Cleaning

Cobblers are your go-to for routine shoe cleaning and maintenance. They can help your shoes last for years instead of seasons. If your once-bright sneakers are dull or your suede loafers have ketchup stains, a cobbler can tackle these. They can also fix more severe damages such as deep scratches, scuffs, or holes in the leather.

Resoling and reheeling

Cobblers can give your shoes a new lease by replacing the worn-out soles. They can even swap out the soles of new shoes with rubber versions to make them more resistant to wear and tear. If it's the heels that need attention, cobblers can sort that out too. One of their most common tasks is replacing worn-down flat heels.

Tightening and stretching

Cobblers have stretching machines that can increase the length and width of your shoes. If the front of your shoe is squishing your toes, cobblers can stretch those, too. If the shoes are too big for you, they can improve the fit by inserting thicker soles, tongue pads, or heel grips.

Weatherproofing your shoes

Weatherproofing your shoes is a smart move, especially when you're splurging on a new pair. Sure, you could try a DIY job with at-home treatments, but why risk it? A cobbler, with their know-how, can weatherproof your shoes without the color or material taking a hit. This is particularly handy if you've got suede in the mix.

Put inserts and toe pads

Cobblers have got some neat tricks up their sleeves for comfort and protection too. If you're dealing with the pain of a tight strap or heel, cobblers can put on inserts that provide relief. They can also add heel grips to the bottom of treadless shoes or lifts to low-to-the-ground shoes that are prone to fast damage. And if you're tired of scuffing the front of your shoes, cobblers can install toe pads for protection.

While cobblers can keep our feet happy and our landfills a little less crowded, they have certain limitations.

5 things a cobbler can’t do

  • While cobblers can freshen up your shoes, they can't always remove tough marks.
  • Cobblers can’t replace the sole of your sneakers as they are typically integrated into their overall design, but you can check. They also cannot make the heels taller or longer.
  • Even if a cobbler can use various insoles and pads to improve the fit of loose shoes, they can't permanently reduce the size of your shoes.
  • Many cobblers can over-dye leather shoes for you (tan to black), but they can’t dye dark shoes a lighter color.
  • Some cobblers may agree to shorten a tall boot shaft if it has a suitable zipper and design, but they cannot make a tall boot shaft significantly wider.

So the next time you have a worn-out shoe that hasn’t reached its end of life, check out this list of cobblers in the U.S. Some even have a mail-in service.

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