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As craftsmen who repair shoes and other leather products, cobblers have a sound knowledge of the natural characteristics of leather. They combine their specialized training in shoe-making and mastery of repair techniques to fix shoes with various defects. Cobblers, who the Bureau of Labor Statistics says earned an average annual salary of $26,730 in 2013, can work with shoe manufacturers, find jobs at shoe stores or establish their own shoe repair workshops.
To become a cobbler, take classes in shoe repair or leather working at a community college or technical institute. The Shoe College in Arizona, for instance, offers a five-day Fundamentals of the Boot course that provides training topics such as basic foot anatomy, foot measuring, cobbling techniques, lasting methods such as gluing and tacking, and heels and soles. Alternatively, you can join a shoe repair apprenticeship program at a large repair shop or company that manufactures leather products. Apprentices learn the art of shoe repair from skilled cobblers for two to five years.
Hone Your Skills
You need an aptitude for practical work and good eye-hand coordination to effectively use a range of cobbling hand and power tools. Creative and design skills come in handy when creating patterns for making a custom shoe, sandal or another leather product. This role also requires basic math skills, as you may need to take measurements of a client’s feet. Self-employed cobblers need strong customer-service skills to be assertive when dealing with clients, and some business acumen to accurately price their services and prudently manage business funds.