11 Common Shoe and Boot Problems a Cobbler Can Fix

person buffing a shoe

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Using a cobbler to solve your shoe and boot problems can save you money. A good cobbler can transform your shoes into something that closely resembles new. Better yet, when you buy a new pair that looks great but doesn’t fit just 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 boot problems that a cobbler can fix.


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 direction.

  • 01 of 08

    Pinched Toe or Tight Heel

    If you’ve bought a pair of shoes or boots that are a bit too tight, a cobbler can stretch them out with a stretching machine. The best part is that 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. Or, place a bag of water inside the footbed of a pair of shoes or boots and place them in the freezer. When the water freezes, it will stretch out the shoe.

  • 02 of 08

    Slippery or Worn-Out Sole

    A cobbler can fit your shoes and boots with rubber, non-skid soles.​​​ Rubber soles are also more comfortable. High-quality shoes can be resoled multiple times. However, cheaply made shoes that usually wear out on the balls of the feet first are much harder (or impossible) to re-sole. Just another reason why it's best to invest in quality shoes that will last you for years to come.

  • 03 of 08

    Broken, Ugly, or Wobbly Heel

    A cobbler can repair or change the heel of your shoe. For example, a cobbler can change a wide heel into a stiletto, or widen a stiletto into a traditional heel.

    Also as a preventative, cobblers can place a heel tip over your existing one so it doesn't wear out as quickly.

  • 04 of 08

    Stiff Insole

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

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Smelly Shoes

    Yes, a cobbler can clean and recondition your shoes and boots. While there are commercial products (and DIY solutions) you can try at home, sometimes the problem is too severe for at-home remedies.

  • 06 of 08

    Not Water/Weatherproof

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

  • 07 of 08

    Too Wide or Too Narrow

    If you have wide or skinny calves, a cobbler can stretch or tighten the shaft of a boot. They can also shorten the boot's shaft if you found the perfect pair of boots but they seem to be designed for someone a few inches taller than you. This involves moving the zipper, cutting down the shaft, and adding or replacing elastic.

  • 08 of 08

    Straps Too Long or Too Short

    If the 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. They can also add inserts so the straps won't rub your skin.


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