The ‘Teen Cobbler’ Will Give Your Tired, Old Sneakers Sole Again
Fashion| | By Robin Milling
Want to bring back life to your old kicks and be stylish at the same time? There’s a guy from Chicago who can do just that. His name is Joshua Marin — known as the “Teen Cobbler” — and he inherited the gift from his father and grandfather. Marin decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and kick it up a notch, transforming tired sneakers into brand new ones. The coolest thing is he’s only 20, but he’s been mastering the trade since he was a teen.
No need to trash last year’s Air Jordans for the newer model. Marin will restore them to their fresh out-of-the-box look at his store, Fix Your Kicks.
“When I tell people I fix shoes, they kind of laugh. I sometimes feel offended. I try to lighten it up. I have a phrase called, ‘Turn your beaters into heaters,’ because a lot of people beat up their shoes. I can make them look like fresh kicks. I can make them look brand new. People are like, ‘Wow, you can actually do this!’ Well, yeah, I can bring your shoes back to life. I’m Fix Your Kicks. That’s what I do. I fix kicks,” Marin told Great Big Story.
Born and raised on the north side of Chicago, Marin would spend time at his father’s cobbler shop and watch him restore damaged shoes.
“He taught me everything I know,” Marin said. “I was like, ‘You know what? I want to take this to another level.’ I’m gonna bring my sneaker culture to this and I’m gonna go hard, you know? I’m gonna do this for a living.”
When he first started out, Marin would check out thrift stores in search of battered sneakers and bring them back looking fresh.
“One time I found a pair of Jordan 12s and I bought them for like $21. I’d clean ’em up, put new laces on them, and sold them for around $180,” Marin said.
With a profit like that, Marin decided to set up shop. Now he gets special requests to custom match the sneakers with their original color and design.
“A lot of teenagers will be like, ‘I want this color but I can’t find it anywhere. Could you please provide this for me?’ Sure, I can paint them up and make them look how you want it,” he said.
Becoming successful has been all about the hustle for Marin. He wants to represent his neighborhood, and it shows him the love right back.
“It’s always a good feeling to make people smile and make people pleased with my work. I help them out and they help me out. It makes me feel like I belong here. I’m purposeful and this is what I’m meant for,” Marin said.
WATCH Marin do his thing, turning retired retro Air Jordan 12s and 23s into flying condition.