MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Why do we say "The shoemaker's children always go barefoot"?

Well-Known Expressions

The shoemaker's children always go barefoot

Meaning:

Often those closest to a person don't benefit from the person's expertise

Background:

The earliest recording of this proverb is in John Heywood's 1546 book of proverbs. A similar sentiment is found in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621: "Him that makes shoes go barefoot himself".

Other variants include "the shoemaker's son always goes barefoot" and "the cobbler's children go barefoot." Children or child is sometimes replaced with the more colloquial kids.

Alphabetical list of expressions

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