Shoe repair in India – A layman’s perspective

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Oh! My favorite shoes are worn out! What should I do with them now?” This is the one question we often ask when our beloved shoes get old and worn out. It is at times, such as these that we tend to look for cobblers, who usually sit around the corner of a street. But alas, their numbers these days seems to be thinning. Does this mean that we have to throw away our shoes when they are slightly old and worn out.

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Cobblers at street corners help us all in recycling our shoes before they becomes a real waste. We all get a stitch in time to save nine, especially during the monsoons when we prefer to use mended shoes and other footwear rather than use new shoes.But, as mentioned, cobblers these days are hard to find buy.

I once had an opportunity to actually talk to a cobbler. When asked about their numbers going weak, he told me that people these days do not trust them with expensive shoes. The cobbler told me that there is hardly any business for shoe repair these days. Moreover, there are shoe repair shops in the country that use high-end machinery to repair shoes.

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I sat wondering about how much the world has changed. I still remember the days when we would find cobblers and shoe shiners everywhere. I still vividly remember going to a cobbler so that I could see the way he would stitch my shoe using two different strings. As a child it always filled me amazement.

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I was brought back to the present, when the cobbler handed me my shoes after repairs. I felt sad at the thought that this trade that fascinated and amazed me as a child is disappearing fast. The only way to ensure that this trade survives is to encourage the cobblers to form some sort of co-operative association. I strong support this cause as I have realized that the shoe repair industry in is highly disorganized. If all the cobblers can come together and form an association, they can very start a small shoe repair shop. If they are organized, they can easily approach a financial institution for some funding to start-up a small shoe repair industry. This would be a win-win situation for the cobblers and for people like me, who would rather mend a shoe than buy a new one.

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