After learning shoe repair at his father’s side, spending a successful career in engineering and business management, and with a keen interest in manufacturing, particularly orthopedics, Rob Akers found himself contemplating a new adventure. He combined his many skills and interests, work experience and family connections and managed to find the perfect fit: Virginia Shoe Clinic.
Akers opened his business in Tappahannock a little more than four years ago. Since then, the store has expanded and evolved several times. It met with such success that he opened another store in Kilmarnock in November 2015. Virginia Shoe Clinic is a full-service retail and repair facility that serves two of the most hardworking parts of the body — the feet. Virginia Shoe Clinic has a three-part mission — shoe and leather repair, sales of quality comfort footwear, and orthopedic modifications. “It’s a nice blend,” Akers said. “There are three things that nobody should ever skimp on: your tires, your mattress, and of course, your shoes.”
A native of Poquoson, Virginia, Akers grew up in a shoe repair family. His father, Bob Akers, known internally as “Pop,” has been in the business for more than 45 years and is the master craftsman. “I think he can fix anything,” Akers said. His father has had multiple repair facilities throughout the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads areas, and even after retirement finds himself helping out at the Virginia Shoe Clinic three days a week. “I think we both really enjoy the ability to work with and spend time with each other,” Akers said. “I know I appreciate his skill and knowledge, and we both just like hanging out together. I can’t imagine working any other way,” Akers added.
Quality shoe repair is a specialized and rapidly vanishing craft. Family expertise and guidance helped Akers get his business off the drawing board and into operation. “About 50 percent of my employees are in the family,” he said. “In any business, the key to success is having people you can trust and rely on, and we pride ourselves on having a staff of people who share our values. Equally, we have to ensure we are providing exceptional customer service and quality craftsmanship.” The staff at the Virginia Shoe Clinic understands and does this better than most: skillfully repairing and refurbishing clients’ shoes and leather goods and outfitting customers with high-quality, comfortable shoes and boots.
Akers explained that Shoe Clinic is known as a “sit and fit” shoe store. He and his associates recommend and custom fit shoes to each client’s needs — comfort requirements, foot type, purpose and style. “We recommend the right shoe for the job,” he said. “We’re here to build relationships, not just sell shoes,” he added.
In support of that mission, Virginia Shoe Clinic offers some of the finest and most supportive sandals, shoes and boots available on the market today — brands chosen carefully by Akers for style, comfort, quality and craftsmanship. For example, one brand, Naot, is engineered in Israel with insoles designed to replicate the shape of the foot, just like the footprint we leave when walking on sand. Naot shoes are made to be resoled, refurbished, and returned to like-new condition. Also, Chippewa boots, available at Shoe Clinic, are made in the USA and finely crafted for work and outdoor comfort. Other specialty brands offered include high-quality Lucchese western boots, Jack Rogers sandals, Aetrex wellness footwear, Rocky 4EurSole women’s stylish performance and work shoes, Tony Lama boots, Spenco sandals, Tsukioshi children’s footwear, and much more.
In addition, Virginia Shoe Clinic uses cutting edge technology to aid in orthopedic modifications from simple to complex. The company’s digital 3D foot scanner measures weight distribution, foot shape and contour in order to design orthotic improvements for proper balance, comfort and overall health. The associates at Shoe Clinic can also recommend and work with many local podiatrists, chiropractors and physical therapists to help customers get the care they need and deserve.
Walk into Virginia Shoe Clinic in Tappahannock or Kilmarnock and enjoy a treat for the feet. Whether the goal is shoe repair, stylish comfort shoes or specialty orthotics, it’s the perfect fit. Comfort and relief truly start at Virginia Shoe Clinic.