The Profession of a Cobbler
This is truly one of the dying trades. A cobbler is, in a time quickly slipping past, a person whose work is to repair and mend damaged shoes. In this day and age, industries are now making thousands of shoes each day, pushing the strenuous craft of making one shoe at a time by hand, out of the door.
Last of a Dying Breed
For a long time, this was a thriving venture which would see the streets of every major city or town, lined up with cobbler shops alongside family ran bakeries and kiosks. Now, shoes are getting disposable with every waking day, as many people do not bother patching up even the tiniest dents that may show up on their shoes. This might be because shoes are getting cheaper, or the fact that cobblers closed shop when shoes got cheaper.
Shoe menders, typically called cobblers, who are still in operation will be spotted running extra services such as key cutting, dry cleaning and watch repairs, to supplement the dwindling income from repairing shoes. The younger generation is not keen on starting this trade, which means that should you happen to come across a cobbler, they are likely to be persons over the age of sixty.
What the Trade is About
The trade involves among others the replacement of soles and heels, dyeing of leather and suede, fixing broken or missing zippers, straps, etc. You might not see the need for having an economical shoe repaired, but the same cannot be said of high end designer footwear. A shoe costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars is not to be just thrown away because of an amendable flaw. That is a reason enough to seek the cobbler for their services.
The Changing Times
Some years ago, it would not cross anyone’s mind to fix a shoe because it had a flaw. In fact, people would rush the shoe to the cobbler the moment it got a dent, as if it were a sick kid to an emergency room. Then, a good shoe was hard to come by, and care was needed to maintain it by any means.
That is not everything there is to this profession. You can now have your shoes mended online. Yes, you read that right. It is not a typo. There are some very innovative people who take your order for shoe repairs online, and receive them by mail to start working on them. This is a new line of operation, which is yet to undergo the test of time.
How to Become a Cobbler
The trade is not taught in schools, so you do not need any academic qualifications to learn it. You will still need to work under an expert’s supervision and instructions, if you want to learn it well. You can also aim to attain an NVQ/QFC certification, which is recognized as a symbol of high standards.
The next time you come across a cobbler, take a moment to observe the skill and concentration in play use as the remaining cobblers preserve this noble art, which is becoming underappreciated as time moves on.