McFarland's Shoe Repair Ties Together Classic Trade w/Massive Online Presence
By Diego De Jesus
Photos courtesy of McFarland Shoe Repair
McFarland’s Shoe Repair is being highlighted as a 2023 Maker of Note by The Lakelander, as part of its MADE Issue, which focuses on big ideas and entrepreneurial successes of Lakelanders.
James McFarland was born into the cobbling business, started working in it when he was 15 years old and inherited his father’s shoe repair shop in 1986, at the age of 21. Since then, McFarland has succeeded in maintaining the measure of craftsmanship carried down for five generations. His work is world-renowned. He has won numerous gold medals at cobbling competitions around the globe, and he has clients from all over the world who ship him high-end name-brand footwear that needs repaired.
McFarland’s nephew, Kyle Crouse, is next in line to carry the torch and has been an apprentice for a year. McFarland said he plans on working for at least another five years in the shop because he’s still driven by his passion for the craft and his customers.
He is a seasoned veteran who has leaned into new tricks. He has more than 1.1 million TikTok followers and nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram and his handle is appropriately “americascobbler” on both platforms, which might sound overstated but is backed up by the millions of views he is racking up.
McFarland’s Shoe Repair provides services that restore and maintain footwear to their prime condition. The specific service depends on the shoe’s condition and what repairs it needs or if it needs a simple shining.
Most of McFarland’s clients send pictures of their shoes through email and McFarland will assess what needs to be fixed or amended, potentially offering further suggestions once he gets a better look in-person.
Walk-ins are also an option at the store located at 5355 S. Florida Ave.. They also carry in-store products to care for footwear including polish, waterproofing, conditioners, etc. from brands like Saphir.
Inquiries can be made on their website: mcfarlandsshoerepair.com