11 Common Shoe and Boot Problems a Cobbler Can Fix

How a cobble can solve your shoe problems
A cobbler can solve your shoe and boot problems. Tom Grill / Getty Images

Using a cobbler to solve your shoe and boot problems can save you money. I know a very wealthy man -- we’re talking private jet owner here -- who hasn’t purchased a new pair of shoes in a decade. He gets them shined regularly, and once a year he takes them to the cobbler where they are re-soled, re-lined, cleaned and back in fighting form within two days.

A good cobbler can transform your shoes into something that very closely resembles “new.”

Better yet, when you buy a new pair that looks great but just doesn’t fit right, a cobbler can help.

Before you buy a new pair of shoes, or toss the ones you just bought, consider all of the shoe and boots problems that a cobbler can fix.

How to Find a Good Cobbler

Aside from the obvious, Googling "cobbler" or "shoe repair" and your location, there are a few good ways to find a professional cobbler. If your dry cleaner does tailoring, they probably know of a reputable cobbler. Similarly, department store shoe departments should be able to point you in the right directions.

Failing that, your own network on Facebook or other social media will have some recommendations. 

How a Cobbler Can Fix Your Shoes and Boots

1. A pinched toe.

2. A tight heel

Stretch them. If you’ve bought a pair of shoes  or boots bit too tight, a cobbler can stretch them out for you with a stretching machine. The best part? A cobbler doesn’t need to stretch the entire shoe; if only one part is hurting you, they can stretch just that spot.

DIY Alternatives:

  • Wear your shoes or boots around the house with your thickest socks.

  • Place a bag of water inside the footbed of a pair of shoes or boots and place them in the freezer.

3. A slippery sole.

A cobbler can fit your shoes and more importantly, boots, with a rubber, no-skid sole. I wish I had known about this when I was sliding down the stairs running to catch a subway during my days in NYC.

Imagine how much easier walking in a pair of heels on an icy New Year’s Eve would be if you had rubber-soled Manolos?

Bonus: Rubber soles are also more comfortable.

4. A broken heel.

5. An ugly heel.

6. A wobbly heel.

A cobbler can change the repair or even change the heel of your shoe, including:

  • Change a wide heel into a stiletto

  • Widen a stiletto into a traditional heel

7. A stiff in-sole.

A cobbler can add padding to the insole and arch. Apparently this is how Kate Middleton manages effortlessly walk down and up cobblestones roads and paths all over the UK in super skinny heels.

8. Smelly.

Yes, a cobbler can clean and recondition your shoes and boots.

9. Not water/weatherproof.

You can have the outsides of any boot (or shoe) waterproofed. How convenient for those living in the northeast and midwest dealing with slush all winter, or those in the northwest dealing with rain?

10. Too wide/too narrow.

Do you have wide or skinny calves? A cobble can stretch or tighten the shaft of a boot.

11. Straps too long/too short.

If your  straps on your strappy sandals or slingbacks are too long or too short, a cobble can tighten or lengthen them so they fit just right.

TIP: Once you get your shoes back, don’t expect them to fit exactly the way they previously did; think of them like new shoes you need to break in.

If you're not sure where to find an upscale cobbler ask around at the most high-end stores in your area. My friend Meghan, a confirmed fashionsita on a budget, once needed a pair of J Crew pants hemmed. She asked the store and they sent her to their own tailor who works independently at a storefront in her neighborhood. Score!

Guess what else can extend the life of your shoes? Storing your shoes and boots properly! Read on about how to store your shoes the right way.