Don't know if this goes here, but I put on a lovely pair of Josef Seibel trainers that I hadn't worn in a while because they are a pale putty colour. It seems that there are ways of darkening leather goods, no? Without dye that could flake off? Oils, waxes, that sort of thing?
They are so comfy and supportive, but look odd with the clothing I wear.
How nice to see and hear the word "cobbler" again. It is unknown to the 30 somethings and under except as a crudity..."that's a load of old cobblers" [lies]. Instead our shoes, backpacks, handbags etc go to the "shoe repair". Not nearly as time-honoured as 'cobbler'
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
My cobbler is Senegalese! His wife is a garden-variety Québécoise. Like many people from "global South" countries, he can repair pretty much anything. But actually my bicycle saddlebags are mostly cloth, not leather, and I repaired that myself.
There used to be several Italian cobblers (calzolai) around here, but they have all died or retired, and their children found more lucrative vocations, I guess.
Update - I found some "mink oil" (huile de vison) among my shoe care items up high in a cupboard, and coated the shoes with a bit of it. I'll let this stand and later wipe off any excess. It has certainly darkened the shoes. I'll do this again in a few days. Some of the sites I consulted said olive oil wasn't good for shoes.
We use mink oil and neat's foot oil to waterproof heavy winter boots, but the utilitarian winter boots I have now aren't leather.
I do have to see my cobbler anyway, to repair some shoes that are "down at heel".