If there is one job I would think obsolete it would be shoe repair, or cobbler. Not that they don't perform valuable work, but that most people don't see their services as necessary any more.
Does anyone, besides myself, actually repair shoes these days? Or are shoes like everything else and shoesumers find it cheaper and easier just to throw out worn or damaged shoes and buy brand new replacements?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020 the number of cobblers will decrease by a whopping 53 percent. It appears that cheap, disposable shoes are the downfall of the trade.
However, as soon as a recession hits, they say, workers in the shoe repair industry may actually encounter a spike in business caused by wallet-tightening consumers wishing to have their shoes repaired instead of buying brand new.
So these "make it last" repair personal persist in our wasteful world, although in a somewhat diminished state compared to the pre-disposable days. No doubt they will, if are any left by then, regain their former glory in a post-consumer, post-disposable, post industrial world.
If TV and movies reflected the real world there would definitely be cobblers in every zombie apocalypse story. It would be very hard for the still living to run away from the undead with damaged footwear. Cobblers would be kings!
High heels would finally go extinct, because you can't run away with them, damaged or not. Sensible, comfortable and fast shoes would rule, and fashion would drool.
"Your anti-zombie trainers will be fixed next Thursday. Don't forget your ticket... and something to barter."
In the pre-zombie world you can still find cobblers in most large cities, but may not have such a service in smaller population centres. Luckily, many shoe repairs can be done right at home. And you don't have to wait until something is chasing you to do it.
A tube of shoe goo will go a long way to reattaching soles or any loose bits. You can use this amazing substance to build up worn heels, plug a hole, and waterproof seams.
With a few simple tools and gear, as well as a good dose of patience, one can do more extensive repairs.
Websites, like the Odd Shoes Blog can help with most repairs. This same website also has information about what you can do with your old shoes after you are done with them. Your old footwear might be donated to someone without shoes, or they could be recycled into playground surfaces or padding to go under basketball courts.
If you are planning to go green and save money, the services of a lonely cobbler or a bit of home shoe repair might be for you. If you are planning on a post-industrial career path, there still might be time to apprentice with a master cobbler while there are still a few around.