Shoemaker: A Dying Trade?

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A shoemaker is a shoe repairer. He is best known for his expertise in working with leather. Currently, we can see that this trade is disappearing. Discover the possible causes of this phenomenon both socially and economically in this article.

No Family Succession

The trade of shoemakers is disappearing. This is due to the new generations’ change in lifestyle and mentality. Small family businesses dominated this sector: A know-how passed down from father to son. Today, this tradition has changed, even disappeared. Few children follow in the footsteps of their shoemaker parents.

With the progression of technology, young contemporaries think that this is an “old” profession and not a “trendy” one. Some young people whose parents are cobblers are even ashamed to tell their friends, acquaintances, teachers, etc., about this reality. Because of these misconceptions, they give up on becoming the successor of this family legacy.

Changes in Consumption Patterns

According to the FPS Economy, there is a 22% decrease in the number of shoemakers worldwide. Christine Mattheeuws, President of the Neutral Union for Independents (NUI), says: “We are increasingly living in a throw-away society. When you buy shoes online for about 50 euros, you don’t bother to repair them anymore. So, there are only losers: the shoemakers, the shoe stores -which sell slightly more expensive but stronger shoes- and the environment.”

If between 1950 and 1960, there were an estimated 45,000 “shoe repairers”, currently, there are only about 7,000 “shoe repair companies” in France. The change in consumption patterns can explain this fact. The multiplication of physical or online stores selling cheaper shoes encourages consumers to buy them and replace them when they are worn out. As a result, they no longer bother to repair them but prefer to buy a new pair of shoes. Hence the birth of the “throw-away” society.

To reduce the mountain of waste, especially caused by discarded shoes, it is better to repair them. This way, we participate in the protection of our environment.

Lack of Training and Attraction to the Profession

This profession is hardly taught, so a person has no follow-up with the necessary knowledge.

13,940 Shoemaker Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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