Vancouver is home to not only the best cobbler in North America, but a dynasty of them.
Not to be confused with the delicious fruit-filled dessert, we’re talking about the age-old art of shoe repair—which is, indeed, still very much a thing.
Fourth-generation cobbler Patrick Nijdam, who owns Quick Cobbler in Olympic Village, has recently been awarded the Robert DiRinaldo Grand Silver Cup in the Shoe Service Institute of America’s 2023 Silver Cup Contest. Don’t let the idea of “silver” in that distinction fool you: he won first place.
“One of the principal benefits of shoe repair is that consumers can have their shoes repaired to look like new, but for a fraction of the cost of new shoes,” says SSIA President Mark Dorothy in a statement. “The purpose of the Silver Cup Contest is to recognize craftsmen such as Patrick Nijdam who maximize that benefit and set the standards for our industry.”
Not only has Nijdam been honoured for his steadfast work in repairing the likes of Blundstones, Birkenstocks, and Doc Martens that are so often seen (and worn down) on the pavement of Vancouver, but his win also marks the first time that a father and son have both won the Grand Silver Cup in the 80 years that the contest has been running.
Nijdam’s father, Ronald, who also works at Quick Cobbler, won the cup back in 2019.
“Last weekend I won what I consider to be my greatest achievement in my cobblering career,” wrote Nijdam in an Instagram post. “The coolest thing about this is that my father, Ronald, has also won this award in 2019. Both of us, after many many attempts, have finally taken home this trophy. We are incredibly excited and honored that we are considered to be among the top cobblers in North America.”
For this year’s iteration, Nijdam took first place after showing exceptional repair to the half sole and heel of a pair of men’s shoes, and the protective sole and new heel of a pair of women’s shoes.
Judging took place in May, and the award was presented in July during the Shoe Service Institute of America’s 116th convention in Chicago.
Anyone looking to have their shoes repaired by some of the finest hands in North America can head over to Quick Cobbler at 430 West 2nd Avenue.