Shoe and leather workers create and repair products such as footwear, wallets, luggage, and saddles.
Shoe and leather workers talk to customers about repairs they need. They inspect shoes and other items for defects. They estimate the price and set a date for the customer to return.
When making repairs they scrape or cut away worn or damaged parts. They sew rips and tears in luggage or wallets. They patch holes by hand or machine. They replace worn soles and heels on shoes and boots.
Shoe and leather workers may stretch shoes or boots that are too tight. They also apply protective coatings to protect leather from water damage.
When making new shoes or leather products, shoe and leather workers take measurements using calipers, tape measures, and rulers. They draw new patterns or modify patterns they have used before. They may make plaster casts to create and fit patterns.
They lay out or outline patterns onto animal hides. Using knives, shears, or scissors, they cut the leather along pattern outlines. They may heat and soak leather so it will cool in the shape they want it to take.
Shoe and leather workers drill or punch holes in leather and other materials to attach metal rings, handles, and other hardware. To join parts, they sew or glue pieces together. They also use leather laces, clamps, and rivets. They attach accessories and ornaments to finish their work.
In factories or on production lines, shoe and leather workers may specialize in one step of the manufacturing process.
Orthopedic shoemakers build or modify footwear according to a doctor's prescription. They attach insoles to wooden forms shaped like a foot. They may make inserts, heel pads, and lifts from plaster casts of customers' feet.