What Is a Shoemaker Called?

shoemaker-called Credit: Geber86/E+/Getty Images

One term for a shoemaker is a cordwainer. The word is derived from the French word "cordonnier," which also means shoemaker, and was introduced into the English language following the Norman invasion.

The word "cordonnier" has roots in Cordova, a Spanish town that produced leather that members of the upper class preferred for their shoes. The leather came to be known as cordouan, or cordovan, leather.

The distinction between cordwainers and cobblers is that cordwainers create shoes using new leather, while cobblers work with existing shoes to either repair them or totally remake them. Historically, there has been friction between the two groups, and cobblers were sometimes prohibited by law from making shoes.