This is where a cobbler comes in ― and no, we’re not talking about a dessert.
There are a lot of benefits to taking your shoes in to someone who practices the time-honored profession of shoe repair. It may seem antiquated, but trust us: Your feet and wallet will thank you for the extra care.
Here’s why a cobbler is the best:
1. Repairing your shoes can save you serious cash, especially if your shoe collection is pricey.
If you spend a ton of your hard-earned money on creating an awesome shoe collection, you’re going to want to preserve that investment. A little known fact is that better quality shoes can be resoled anywhere from three to ten times. So, ladies, those stilettos? Even if they’ve been shredded from weddings or long nights out, the soles can probably be swapped out.
The wildcard on most shoes is the upper part, under the ball of your foot. If the uppers get wrecked ― which usually happens on a more cheaply made shoe — those babies are likely a goner.
In general, most cobblers will tell you that if a repair costs less than half the price of new shoes, it’s more cost-effective to just repair the old ones.
2. You’re helping the environment.
Shoes are difficult to recycle because they’re often made of different plastics, fibers and other materials. By repairing them, you’re keeping them out of landfills.
If you have to trash your shoes, donating to charity shops like Goodwill or Salvation Army is a good bet, according to TreeHugger. Even if the shoes are in poor condition, those shops will send the items that can’t be sold (in the U.S. or other countries) to textile recyclers. Nike also features a reuse-a-shoe service, recycling footwear of any brand.
3. You’re likely supporting a small business.
Many cobblers are small business owners and have been running their shops for years. They help bolster the communities they’re a part of and they can offer customized, personal service where larger stores can’t.
4. Even your new shoes can get soled to prevent damage from ever occurring in the first place.
Cobblers offer (seriously underused) preventive care. They can put rubber soles on the bottoms of new, leather-soled shoes to keep them in good condition.
“Leather wears down very quickly,” Robert Santana, owner of Santana Leather Care and exclusive partner of Luxury Shoe Club says. “With the right preventive work done upfront on the soles and tips, it can protect and extend the life of your shoe investments without changing the look. This will not only prevent the leather from wearing down, it also keeps water from getting into the soles where it can go to the upper part of the shoe and cause more damage.”
Cobblers can also put on inserts that’ll ease the pain of a tight strap or heel, heel grips on the bottom of treadless shoes, and lifts on the bottom of low-to-the-ground shoes that are susceptible to fast damage.
Cobblers have stretching machines that can increase length and width. They can even stretch the front of a shoe where it squishes your toes. For shoes that are too big, they can insert thicker soles, tongue pads or heel grips.
For those having issues with boots fitting their calves, cobblers can also take those in or let them out a bit.
Despite all of this wiggle room, be cognizant of materials when thinking of getting them stretched or stuffed with inserts. If a shoe is leather or suede, odds are good you can stretch them a bit. Patent leather or other plastic-y materials? Move on to another pair, friend.
6. Cobblers will make your shoes capable of weathering the weather.
You can buy a water repellent for your shoes in most big box stores, but a cobbler can also apply the stuff if you’re not down to DIY. Spraying your suede or leather shoes will keep the elements from ruining the inside of your home where you spray it.
7. Your feet will be more comfortable.
When you break in a pair of shoes and they mold to your feet like a second skin, they sort of become your go-tos. Why not put in some dough to keep those babies in your rotation? Or, a better example, what about those high-priced shoes that make you feel like a million bucks and look great? Taking care of those shoes instead of hoping that lightning strikes twice is a much better bet.