Shoe Repair Worker: Job Description & Career Requirements

Find out what being a shoe repair worker entails. See about common education and training requirements, and get career prospects to see if this job is the right one for you.

Career Definition for a Shoe Repair Worker

Shoe repair workers rebuild and repair shoes and, oftentimes, luggage, purses, and jackets as well. They use hand and power tools, such as awls and heel-nailing machines, to restitch worn seams, attach new heels and soles, reshape shoes, and even change shoes' colors. According to the Shoe Service Institute of America, shoe repair workers also may fit orthopedic shoes to doctors' specifications.

Education High school diploma required, on the job training available, vocational programs are rare
Job Skills Manual dexterity, customer service, attention to detail
Median Salary (2017)* $25,610 for shoe and leather workers and repairers
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -12% for shoe and leather workers and repairers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

A high school diploma is required for most positions in shoe repair, and many shoe repair workers learn their skills through on-the-job training. It typically takes six months to two years of training to become a fully qualified shoe repair worker. A small number of shoe repair vocational programs, which teach machine use and small business skills, are available.

Required Skills

Shoe repair workers must have manual dexterity to make small repairs. They also must have a friendly manner to interact with customers. A career as a shoe repair worker requires dedication to quality since they may work on high-end shoes.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 12% decline in the number of jobs for shoe repair workers from 2016-2026. In 2017, the median annual wage for shoe repair workers was $25,610, according to BLS statistics.

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Alternate Career Options

You might also look into these options for customer service and clothing repair careers:


A tailor alters clients' garments for a personalized fit. They may fix seams, hems, arm holes, buttons, or necklines. Tailors may create custom garments for clients from whole cloth, from taking measurements, cutting pieces, and joining them by hand or machine to create a finished article of clothing. There isn't any formal education path to becoming a tailor; tailors can pursue on-the-job training, a vocational program, or some college, like an associate's degree program. According to the BLS, the number of jobs for tailors is expected to drop by 10% from 2016-2026; the median salary for tailors was $28,600 in 2017.

Retail Sales Worker

Retail sales workers indirectly and directly assist customers seeking to buy merchandise in a store. They accept shipment of products and arrange displays to attract consumer attention. Retail sales workers converse with customers, answer questions, perform demonstrations, and make recommendations. When it's time to pay for merchandise, a retail sales worker typically accepts payment and records the transaction in a cash register. Retail sales workers may also be responsible for inventory, loss prevention, and counting cash registers at the end of a shift.

There's no formal education path to a career as a retail sales worker; employers may accept candidates with a high school diploma, but some prefer candidates with a college degree for advancement. On-the-job training is common. Retail sales jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 2% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. The median rate of annual pay for retail sales workers was $23,370 in 2017, according to the BLS.

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