Hint: they don’t make upside-down fruit pie.
We’re talking expert craftsmen and shoe repair aficionados here!
Have you ever sought someone to repair your shoes or searched “Shoe Repair Shop + Austin” on Google? In truth, you’re looking for a master shoe cobbler—one of the world’s oldest and most essential professions.
The word cobbler is believed to be derived in the 14th century from the surname and place name “cobelere”, meaning “one who mends shoes”. A shoe mender, shoe repairer, a shoe-maker, one who hand-crafts shoes.
In modern day, a cobbler is a master craftsman, an artisan. A cobbler is a patcher and a stitcher and a shiner and a cordwainer and a girdler and glover and a thonger and ultimately—a smile maker.
An Austin Shoe Hospital cobbler’s skillful hands are gifted with the superpower to re-craft shoes, boots, handbags, belts and more, taking items you have loved for ages and giving them a new life, ready to be enjoyed for years to come.
Cobblers also change lives for the better, such as crafting orthopedic build-ups that provide comfort to those with foot problems or special needs. They can also re-craft and re-store sentimental family heirlooms so that generation after generation of family members can enjoy them.
These days, many people don’t realize that cobblers—and the old-world craft of cobbling—still exist. Nor do they believe that their worn shoes, boots, bags, and belts can even be fixed in the first place. With the current mass production of cheap footwear and bags, people often throw away a damaged or worn pair of shoes and purchase a brand-new one. This practice leads to massive landfill waste and the unnecessary misuse of precious resources—like skins from animals.
Shoe repair can sometimes be a dirty job, but our cobblers at Austin Shoe Hospital get so much pleasure bringing old or damaged shoes back to life that to a cobbler—it’s an art.
According to Carroll Kelly, professional cobbler and owner of the Austin Shoe Hospitals, excellent shoe repair requires three things:
1. Quality materials - which requires a personal involvement with leather growers and tanneries, as well as the procurement of high quality rubber, hardware, and other materials.
2. Teamwork - as each cobbler working on each facet of a repair project must be in unison to ensure a beautiful restoration.
3. Lifelong craftsman - cobblers must love and take pride in their work, deeply care about what they do, and take each project personally.
Austin Shoe Hospital is on a mission to educate the world that cobblers are not only a vital part of sustainability and ensuring a healthy planet, but to help generations that are unfamiliar with shoe repair become aware that damaged shoes, boots, and handbags actually can (and should!) be repaired, so that each of us can continue to enjoy our favorites for a lifetime.