Choosing a shoe cobbler can be challenging, particularly if you live in an area where custom shoemakers and repair professionals are scarce. As is often true when finding skilled craftspeople, you will likely benefit from asking people who you know and trust for their recommendations. Consumer reporting and advocacy websites might also have reviews and information about shoe cobblers in your area. If you cannot find a local shoe cobbler, try to find one that offers Internet or mail-order services. In some cases, you may be able to book an appointment with a shoe cobbler who travels to various cities, taking measurements and then shipping shoes to his customers.
When you first begin looking for shoe cobbler, ask for referrals. Friends and family might be good sources of information and you may even be able to get a good recommendation from a local, independent shoe store owner. In some cases, shoe cobblers operate within a larger business, such as a dry cleaning shop. Ask at your local dry cleaner if he offers shoe repair services. If he doesn't, he may still be able to recommend one to you. Leather goods stores and cleaners may also offer shoe repair.
It is often wise to investigate the reputation and credentials of a shoe cobbler before engaging their leave. This is particularly true if you are having expensive shoes repaired or must pay upfront for services. Don't be afraid to ask a shoe cobbler where he or she was trained. Some areas do have shoemaking schools, although many cobblers learned their craft through formal or informal apprenticeship programs.
It may be far easier to find someone who specializes in shoe repair then someone who can actually make you a pair of custom-made shoes. If you are looking for the latter, unless you live in a major city, you may need to make do with mail-order services. A shoe cobbler who offers services by mail will typically send you a shoe measurement kit that you can use at home. He or she will then create your shoes based on the information that you provide.
Some very well-known shoe cobblers travel the world and will set up measuring clinics in hotels or other venues so that you can have your foot measurements taken by a professional. These shoemakers will typically list their travel schedules on their websites so that you can book an appointment when they visit a town that is convenient to you.