By Julie Watts

(KPIX 5) — Americans toss out about 300 million pairs of shoes each year, because it’s often cheaper to buy a new pair than repair an old pair of shoes.

Since shoes are a pricey investment, and shoppers might want to think before tossing out too tight or too high shoes or even purses that need fixing.

Just about every shoe can get a makeover, with the exception of sneakers.

East Bay cobbler, Pablo Martinez, said his trade is actually an art.  It’s an art that more than triple the life of a pair of shoes and save hundreds of dollars.

“We have to fix what somebody else put together,” said Martinez.

Soles can be replaced multiple times.  Heel tips are a cobbler’s number one repair. But Martinez gets unusual requests from customers to lower high heels as much as an inch.

But Martinez is worried these money saving skills could soon be lost as fewer people enter the profession. It is estimated that there are fewer than 5,000 cobblers in the United States, down from the 70,000 figure forty years ago.  Martinez is hoping to reverse the trend by offering to train young people.