The best complement to a pair of high-quality footwear is an equally good cobbler. Much as a mechanic can keep a classic car running in top condition, a shoe repair professional who knows their craft can extend the life of your shoes for many years to come.
So how do you find a good cobbler?
For most people, Google Maps is a great place to start looking for cobblers in your area. This will give you a good idea of the proximity to your home, as well as reviews from actual customers. While these comments should be taken with a grain of salt - you’ll almost always see extreme views overrepresented - it at least gives a sense of each shop’s capabilities.
If you aren’t finding great options nearby, we recommend consulting some of the curated lists out there on the internet. Some brands will keep a list of preferred cobblers who are either specifically trained to repair their shoes, or who have extensive experience with their products. America’s professional cobbler organization, the Shoe Service Institute of America, also maintains a nationwide list of its members, who tend to be long-established with a steady client base (full disclosure: the SSIA awarded Thursday Boot Company “Best Men’s Construction Under $200” in 2019 for the best boot in its category, but we still recommend them as a great, objective resource). Though it can be more expensive and time-intensive, some of these shops take mail-in requests as well.
Another way to help develop trust with a new cobbler is to talk to them directly about their capabilities and recommendations before getting started. The best shoe repair shops will provide care regimes that are specific to your local area, whether that means how to treat salt stains or keeping leather conditioned in rainy climates. Oftentimes, the best cobblers can also tell you what other brands they are most familiar with, as well the kinds of repairs they specialize in. Asking a few questions goes a long way to building a relationship.
Finally, it never hurts to ask a friend if they have recommendations. Many of our preferred cobblers have come to us through customer recommendations. We find that good work is worth sharing. These men and women are also experts in seasonal care regimes, rejuvenating leather, and replacing worn outsoles.
Finding a talented shoe repair professional is worth a little extra effort. Be good to your cobbler and they’ll pay it back double.