Shoemakers or cordwainers (cobblers being, historically, those that repair shoes) may produce a range of footwear items, including shoes, boots, sandals, clogs and moccasins. Such items are generally made of leather, wood, rubber, plastic, jute or other plant material, and often consist of multiple parts for better durability of the sole, stitched to a leather upper.
Most shoemakers use a last—made traditionally of iron or wood, but now often of plastic—on which to form the shoe. Some lasts are straight, while curved lasts come in pairs: one for left shoes, the other for right shoes.
The shoemaking profession makes a number of appearances in popular culture, such as in stories about shoemaker's elves, and the proverb "The shoemaker's children are often shoeless". The patron saint of shoemakers is Saint Crispin.
Some types of ancient and traditionally-made shoes include:
The Society for Creative Anachronism offers some advice about making period shoes.
Current crafters may use used car tire tread as a cheap alternative to creating soles.
Chefs and cooks sometimes use the term "shoemaker" as an insult, implying that the chef in question has made his food as tough as shoe leather.
COBBLERS' TRADE SLOW BUT ACTIVE IN WILLIAMSBURG SHOEMAKING WAS BIG BUSINESS IN VIRGINIA; NOW ONLY A HANDFUL MAKE BOOTS BY HAND.(LOCAL)
Nov 26, 2000; Byline: BRIAN WHITSON ASSOCIATED PRESS WILLIAMSBURG -- Making and selling shoes in the 18th century meant more than a commercial...