Zapatero a tu zapato

Zapatero a tu zapato

Believe it or not, in La Antigua Guatemala people still take their shoes for repairs, quite often extending the life of shoes by a factor of three. Even more unbelievable is the fact that you can have your shoes tailored-made to the specific shape and size of your feet.

Now for bonus points, can you translate the idiomatic expression Zapatero a tu zapato?


© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • You piqued my curiosity, so I did some asking around here in Guatemala City. Zapatero a tu zapato means something like someone is an expert in their profession, but they shouldn’t try to tell someone else how to do that person’s job, i.e. a carpenter shouldn’t tell a teacher how to do his job, or vice versa.

    Did I get it right? 😀

    • @Benjamin, I believe you got it right! Basically it translates to “mind your own business”, “live and let live” “focus on what you’re good at”, et cetera.

  • Diane

    Your proverb is the Cobbler’s Cobbler, but can also be the Priest’s confessor, etc. Someone that looks after the person that looks after you? Diane

    • @Dianne, I am not sure this is a good translation. Check Benjamin’s and mine reply for closer translation of the idiom.

  • Diane

    I was looking on line for shoes last night myself! When I found a pair I really liked, I clicked on the link and found it was a DIY site. Turns out they are a pattern and directions to make one’s own shoes and the style was from the 1700s. I knew I was born out of time, but didn’t realize it was that long!

  • I love these kinds of posts. Would love to see more of his work bench. 🙂

    • @Lessie, I am sorry, I did not take more shots. I was in a hurry picking up the boots of my visiting sister in-law who was on her way to the airport. The repair of her boots, which have come undone, took one hour and it cost Q15/$1.80. Life is good in LAG. 😉

  • MO

    googled it!

    Zapatero a tu zapato
    ¿Conocen el origen del refrán? No sé si será verdad, pero la historia que yo conozco es divertida y sucede así: resulta que Rembrandt, el genial pintor holandés, estaba pintando uno de sus grandes cuadros (y eran grandes en tamaño, realmente) cuando se le acerca un señor a admirar su obra. El buen hombre le dice “disculpe, Maestro, pero yo soy zapatero y puedo decirle que la hebilla en este zapato no está correctamente representada”. Rembrandt, que no era ningún necio, inmediatamente tomó consejo del zapatero y corrigió el zapato en cuestión. El zapatero, envalentonado porque un famoso Maestro tomaba su consejo, aprovechó para darle su opinión sobre aspectos más generales de la obra, como ser la luz, la postura de los personajes, la composición, a lo que Rembrandt respondió con “zapatero, a tu zapato”.

  • Diane

    Ah, yes. Rudy, as always you are correct. I actually misread the original proverb. I see now where I made my mistake. Gracias! Y, ¿cuánto por un par de zapatos nuevos?