The Cobbler, Dubai

Traditional craftsmanship, the hallmark of a good shoe maker is apparent at The Cobbler, a new shop located at the Dubai International Finance Center.  I visited the store recently during my visit to the UAE and what a good find it was!  A true bespoke shop with a few stock items this men’s shop is the brain child of proprietor Sibylle Arnold and her banker husband.

Sibylle was extremely courteous, incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect in the art of shoe making and answered every question that I had.  The store offers bespoke services, traditional shoe repair services, shoe shine and accessories.

The space has a luxurious feel to it with dark wood shelving and well appointed leather seating.  Sibylle offers her customers espresso should the desire so arise.

Stock shoes displayed on a pool table are all manufactured in Northampton, England.  Sibylle did not reveal the actual source.  Could it be Crockett and Jones?  Perhaps Church’s or even Alfred Sargent? Either way, the shoes are well constructed with goodyear welting and beautiful patina on some.

The bespoke shoes are made in house with a traditional last  (the wooden mould they make your shoe around).  Shoes are delivered in about 6 weeks. If you decide on a bespoke pair, your shoes will be made by Morgan Papin, resident craftsman and compagnon.  What is a compagnon you ask?  The Compagnons du Tour de France are a French organization of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages but still active today. Their traditional, technical education techniques includes taking a tour, the Tour de France around France and being the apprentice of competent masters. For a young man or young woman today, the compagnonnage is an original way to learn a trade while developing character by experiencing community life and traveling.   Compagnon professions include cobblers.

Morgan is a friendly chap also willing to talk passionately about the art of shoe making.

Did I mention that The Cobbler stocks the complete Saphir line from Paris which represents the best in shoe care products.  Since 1925, Saphir Medaille d’Or has been the choice of the most famous shoemakers and manufacturers of leather goods.

Tools of the trade displayed beautifully as props in the shop window and elsewhere around the shop.

The seating area features a coffee table with plenty of browsing material as you wait for services being offered.

My time in Dubai did not permit the opportunity to try The Cobbler’s bespoke service but I was definitely bent on shopping for a stock pair.  Unfortunately all my first, second and third choices were unavailable in the size I requested.  I eventually settled on a pair of black calf shoes from the Cambridge line.  The shoes are elegant, well crafted and perfect for the office.

If you happen to live in the UAE or happen to pass through Dubai, stop by The Cobbler.  You will not be disappointed.

6 thoughts on “The Cobbler, Dubai

  1. The shoes are Cheaney and can be ordered directly from them or Herring shoes in the UK to the UAE for over AED 500 less per pair of shoes

  2. Plus postage back and forward when you get the size wrong because you haven’t tried them on or perhaps they develop a problem and you’ve got no local retailer…

    If someone’s invested in creating a great little shop why not support small business in Dubai? If it’s not for you then fine but why not just keep quiet? Everyone knows you can buy almost everything cheaper online but that’s not the point is it? Especially when you’re talking about something like a hand-stitched English shoe. The manufacturer is making their profit, why not allow the independent retailer to make theirs since they’re the ones who’ve spotted the gap in the market and taken a risk to fill it. I’ve walked past a couple of times and peered in, it’s a great little shop, and frankly, not having to blunder round the malls browsing only the products that the powers that be decide they can make the biggest profit on, is worth the mark-up.

    I’ll be in for some decent polish and a bit of advice in the next few days.

    nb. All questions are rhetorical, no forum-bickering response needed.

  3. Hello… Can you resize a shoe (make it smaller)? It is a Tory Burch, I ordered it on an Internet site for my wife’s birthday – unfortunately, it dosen’t fit her. I don’t think a size 35 is available with those guys, it is currently a size 36 feels more like a 37!

    Is this doable?

  4. The cobbler is a disgrace to its industry.
    I thought going there I would find real “professionals”; the least I can say is that I was quite naive.
    I brought them my leather shoes (to add a protective sole and a shoe shine) in their shoes trees and protected in their bags. When I went to pick them up, they were without the shoes trees and all CRUSHED and FLATTENED because they did not store them properly on a flat surface. I attached a picture I took in the store with the order number so that you can see how incompetent they are. The leather lost its shape from the tip to the heel (the heel lost its circular shape) and new WRINKLES/ CREASES appeared. They caused permanent damage to the shoes. Keep in mind those shoes are only 3 months old….
    The shop denied causing additional damage, although they agreed to try to remove the wrinkles for me free of charge…. In other words, they think you are an idiot, they wont admit causing damage but tell you they will be kind enough to TRY to fix the damage that was already there for free. How nice of them…. Ofc, I refused. They still charged me FULL PRICE for the order and the shoe shine.
    The management is a joke (I dealt with Sabrina). The cobblers are not “pros”; “Amer” is the king of incompetency; he claimed no damage was done to my shoes although he never saw them when I dropped them off; he is also very rude. Their cobblers are just cheap workers hired from underdeveloped countries. The prices are outrageously high. Almost twice as expensive as Ndust Shoe Repairs or Minutes. They dont even pick up or deliver for this price (unless you have 5 pairs of shoes to give them….). Ndust shoe repair is much cheaper and will pick up and deliver any pair of shoes for an additional charge of just 15 DHS.
    It took the Cobbler more than a week to complete my order although they charged me more. I mean all you are really paying for is the location (Dubai mall) and a nice store. All the rest is pure ineptness.

    To finish, I was treated like a liar and an idiot. They caused permanent damage to my shoes although I made everything so that such accident does not happen when I gave them the shoe trees. I wont ever set foot in this place. My advice to you: just go to Ndust shoe repairs or Minutes. They are much cheaper, faster, deliver and do a better job.

  5. I caught on that these were Cheaney when I first saw them, which isn’t a bad thing! The stiffener in the “premium” line is a dead give away. Sure there is a mark up from online, but nothing can replicate a brick and morter experience. I found Sabrina to be lovely and attentive.

    My shoes were a bit delayed from the agreed upon time for installation of blakeys, these things happen, the true test is to see how they handled the delay in terms of managing customer satisfaction, and I was pleased at the effort.

    Overall, having bought nice shoes the world over and feeling like the experience has been lacking in Dubai, I was pleasantly surprised. I will be purchasing another pair from them soon. Having the ability to try on, touch and feel, quality English shoe making prior to purchase is worth the upmarket on price to me.

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