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.