If you live in Sydney, then look no further than Baxter & Black for quality shoe repair and services. Located in the heart of Newtown about 3 minutes walk from the station, you’ll find one of the best artisan cobblers in Australia.
What does it mean to be an artisan cobber? Nathan Baxter has trained with European shoe makers who employ rare hand-making techniques and with these skills combined with his great attention to detail, he brings shoe repair and care to another level that you definitely won’t find in a Mister Minit.
Resoling and Reheeling
Not all cobblers in this trade are equal! I’ve heard of horrible stories of other cobblers who just glue soles on, put two left heels on both shoes, and don’t even bother to stitch! Nathan, on the other hand, stays away from such dishonest practices and exhibits a substantial amount of care and time into each customer’s beloved shoes.
In resoling Goodyear welted shoes, stitching from the welt must be removed and then new stitching must be threaded through it. While most shoe repairers, including factory repairs, would just stitch new thread along the welt without matching the pre-existing holes from the construction of the shoe, Nathan adjusts his machinery to match the Stitches Per Inch (SPI) and depth of the original stitching before painstakingly threading through each existing hole. This process preserves the integrity of the welt for future resole-ability.
Baxter & Black also sources high quality materials from all over the world to complete their jobs:
For basic jobs, Dr Sole is a basic and sturdy option. I once had a cemented pair of shoes (from my unenlightened days mind you!) – Nathan reconstructed the sole and made it better than new by transforming it into at least a Blake Stitch constructed shoe.
Crepe Rubber Soles
Dainite and Ridgeway Rubber Soles
Jon Rendenbach (JR) Leather Soles
Arguably one of the best leather soles in the world, Baxter & Black offer a JR resole option for your prized shoes.
Oak bark tanned for 12 months in the UK, Bakers Leather is very difficult to source and is therefore an expensive resoling option reserved for your best shoes. They reportedly do an even better job than JR Soles and you just know you’re in good hands when Baxter & Black offer Bakers Leather.
It’s best to consult with Nathan at the shop if you have other resoling options or shoe projects you want considered. Just the other day, he shared with me a resole job he had done for a customer for 9 mm soles!
Shoe Care and Maintenance
In addition to shoe repair, Nathan makes sure that your shoes will stay looking good and live as long as possible. Flush mounted metal toe taps and topy soles are of course available here:
His shoe shining services are also second to none. As someone who also runs a (albeit small) shoe shining side business, I’ll admit that I look up to Nathan as a mentor, friend and master when it comes to all things shoes, including polishing and shining them up to look fresh!
Saving the best for last, Nathan also offers a patina service where he can change the colour of the shoes to anything. For example, his most recent job involved changing the colour of a pair of RM Williams to navy.
Go See Baxter & Black
If you ever need consultation, information, education, services and help about anything to do with shoes, Baxter & Black is the best place to go in Sydney. Nathan makes you feel immediately welcomed in his shop, listens intently to your questions and requests, and puts a ton of effort into each job.
Next time in Newtown, go check out his shop! There’s more goodies to check out there than what’s been written in this article! He’s also a member of Welted Shoes Australia, and our community has benefited a lot from his knowledge and passion.
Here’s a short video I put together earlier:
I am a school teacher by day and in my free time, pursue my passion and hobby in leather shoes. I administrate the Welted Shoes Australia community on Facebook and our primary purpose is to educate Australians about quality footwear. I also co-founded the Thomas George Collection to bring high quality footwear to Australia at accessible prices.