While everyone raves about the latest gripping Netflix show or His Airness’ best fits in The Last Dance, I’ve been completely satisfied with the glut of weird and specific content on YouTube. When I’m not gorging myself while watching Bon Appétit, imagining that what I’m eating is what Chris Morocco is cooking, I’m watching any number of shoe cobblers.
Yes, there are shoe cobblers on YouTube. Like y’all, I wind down with some good ol’ content, but my YouTube homepage is a mix of chefs cheffing and cobblers cobbling. If you like How It’s Made, you might like this, even if every episode is about the same subject. I find it at once educational (did you know sneakers can be resoled?) and calming (in a CBD kind of way). If you’re looking for something new to watch, here is just a bit of cordwaining content I recommend.
Rose Anvil is curious and skeptical about shoes and leather. So how else would you go about these very specific proclivities? Cut a bunch of shoes in half and see what’s inside, of course. From Dr. Marten to Common Projects to RM Williams and more, Rose Anvil takes a very sharp knife and slice shoes right down the middle to expose every flaw and every strength. If you’ve ever wondered if a shoe is worth the hype, peruse through any one of Rose Anvil’s dissections to find out. And he’s not only tearing apart shoes, but he also makes his own leather goods, which you can bet are pretty good, too.
Bedo’s Leather Works LLC
Bedo’s Leather Works is shoe repair shop based in Falls Church, Virginia and is run by award-winning cobbler Steve Doudaklian. He’ll crack open a swathe of shoes ranging from Gucci loafers and vintage Florsheim brogues (a favorite of his), but won’t hesitate to restore a Louis Vuitton bag (or two). His style of videos are charmingly lo-fi and no-frills: a cell phone and a tripod. With Doudaklian, you’re less of a fly on the wall and more of an onlooking apprentice. He’ll point out the pitfalls to watch out for, with a given repair as though he’ll hand the reins over to you to practice. It wouldn’t feel out of place for him to break the third wall and ask you to pass him a tool sitting on the workbench behind the camera.
Trenton and Heath
Based in Nashville, Tennesee, cobblers Trenton and Heath are the proprietors and brothers that run Potter & Sons. Their YouTube channel has grown quickly in just the last year and it’s clear to see why. Their videos are informative and engaging. Most of the shoes they work on are dress shoes and boots from the likes of John Lobb, Thursday and Ferragamo, taking you through each step of the process. Some jobs are a simple shine or stain removal while others require a full overhaul. One of the more interesting videos, included above, sees the expert cobblers restore a pair of reproduction Civil War boots to historical accuracy. When the duo isn’t chopping up a pair of Chelseas, they’re answering FAQ’s and giving their expert advice on shoe care.
If there was an ASMR channel that I actually enjoy, Vetiver is the only one. There’s no insane whispering into the mic, no absurdist object scratching, only the aural pleasures of a shoe restorer at work. Unlike Bedo and Trenton and Heath, Vetiver works on sneakers and women’s shoes as well as high-end boots, taking a shoe from battered to brand new. He’ll operate on a pair of obscure high-end boots from Guidi with as much care and precision as a pair of beat-up Vans. His videos are calming and great background noise. If it doesn’t lull me to a sweet slumber, it will lull me into a false sense of productivity.