When the first settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, a cobbler was among them. By 1610, the shoemakers arrived, and both trades were thriving by 1616. Throughout American history, cobblers and shoemakers have been an integral part of a community. But in our modern, everything-is-disposable era, cobblers are harder and harder to find.
If you have access to a good cobbler (and in the Upper Valley, you do!), then by all means take advantage of it. Here are three reasons to go old school and visit your local cobbler:
Even decent boots and shoes are expensive. Look at them as the investment they are. Don't throw out your favorite shoes and go through the expense of replacing them when they may only need a little minor work. Popped stitches, rips, tears, stains, worn soles, and plenty more can all be repaired. (Little-known secret: You can resole good shoes multiple times!) Often your favorite footwear can be made to look and feel as good as new.
Here's a common scenario: You buy a pair of shoes online, sight unseen, because the deal is hard to beat. The shoes show up at your doorstep, and of course, they don't fit just right. Don't send them back! Bring them to the cobbler. If you find a pair of boots or shoes you love, don't let a less-than-perfect fit get you down. Cobblers can stretch your footwear to increase both length and width. And if your boots and shoes are too big, skilled cobblers can use inserts and good craftsmanship to make them fit your feet perfectly.
Did you know cobblers offer preventive care? Cobblers can weatherize and waterproof your shoes for winter wear, and can add rubber protectors to the bottoms of new shoes to keep them in perfect condition. Cobblers can also put beefy grips on the bottom of shoes that need more tread, turning a pair of city-slicker flatlanders into New England all-weather off-roaders!
—The Country Cobbler