Cobblers work with shoes. 

They either make new shoes or boots or mend them by replacing old soles, heels and buckles.  They either sew or glue the items in the correct place. 

Some Cobblers are required to fix decorative elements on footwear such as sequins, beads and special ‘artistic’ stitching.

There are two kinds of people who work with shoes:

  • A private Cobbler, works in a small, usually cramped workshop or in an outbuilding with limited machinery and tools.  Most of the work is done by hand.  Most of the work is from private customers.  The work is varied as each customer will want something slightly different.
  • Factory worker. The factory manufactures footwear which is usually done by people-operated-machines.  The work here is repetitive.  The factory is much larger and more spacious than a workshop.

There are a number of people with disabilities active in the footwear trade.
TYPICAL TASKS: (workshop):

  • speaking to clients about their requirements
  • looking at footwear and discussing solution to the problem
  • sourcing items such as buckles, laces and leather etc where required
  • fixing the problem (heels, soles, tears and scrapes, broken buckles etc etc)
  • making new shoes
  • remodeling and improve old shoes


  • good with your hands?
  • a person who enjoys detailed work?
  • good with people?
  • hard worker?
  • accurate and quality driven?
  • self motivated?
  • a person with good eye-sight?
  • organised?
  • friendly and helpful?

Some experienced Cobblers might give you on-the-job training.  Some shoe manufacturers may give you in-service training.
Minimum requirements:  Usually a Grade 8, no compulsory subjects.

  • FOOTPATH DEVELOPMENT TRUST:  (Gauteng):  Offers training:


Minimum requirements:

  • Black unemployed women of all ages
  • Must be able to communicate in English
  • Must be willing to work for herself, as a ‘start-up entrepreneur’