Originally Posted by RogerP
So no damage to you shoes or your feet from wearing synthetic soles? Are you sure? Perhaps, like me, you are simply unable to detect that your feet are in poor health and that your shoes smell and are falling apart. Or, you could just be lucky, too.
Or perhaps there is someone else who can't be convinced.... even by the facts.
Damn, I edited that post before I realised you had responded to it... but anyway, yes - I often wear running shoes that are probably close to 100% synthetic petrochemical product, and my feet are fine, even if they do sometimes feel warmer, and despite the 265 lb load I put on them with my bodyweight and backpack. Might I add that if I power-walked, ran and used gym equipment in Goodyear-welted leather shoes with leather soles, I somehow think my feet, joints, shoes and bank balance would be worse off. Of course, each of these types of shoe has its place and is optimised for different conditions, but there is a degree of overlap when it comes to, say, long, brisk walks, where either type can be used - something I have done and have seen the results, viz. that overall, synthetic running shoes far outperform dress shoes yet again... and that Dainite is more comfortable and durable for long walks than single leather in the dry and wet. Where running shoes fall down is in the wet - water gets straight in through the air holes. Leather uppers and rubber soles are best for me in wet conditions with the possible exception of freshly polished wet marble (which I'd probably avoid no matter what shoes I was wearing - I'm not going to walk straight through puddles with leather soles if I can help it).
Further on the subject of foot temperature, I have stated before that I can feel the heat of a sun-baked pavement more clearly through a single leather sole presumably due to its greater thermal permeability*, and the same applies to very cold ground which I also feel. Notwithstanding possible differences in the thermal permeability of sole materials, to me, foot temperature seems to have more to do with socks, the upper and inner sole than the outer sole. Of course, if I walk on cool ground with leather soled shoes, it probably will help to keep my feet cooler than in rubber soled shoes, but that benefit cannot always be realised because the ground is not always cool (here in Australia the pavement is not terribly cold very often, and in spring and summer it can get very hot), and if the lower foot temperature is owing to leather's better thermal permeability, that's not the same as wicking away moisture, is it?
Decent quality Dainite soled dress shoes still have the same leather insole as their leather soled counterparts, and therefore (presumably) similar immediate potential for wicking away moisture. Additionally, the moisture can evaporate upwards after the shoes have been removed.
*I write of thermal permeability only as a shoe-wearing obsever, not from the perspective of a scientist.
DWFII might be best placed to answer the following question.
How much moisture can truly be wicked away through the outsole of a gemmed Goodyear-welted shoe with cork filler?
I do wonder how the various construction methods (Goodyear-welted, hand-welted, Fairstitched, cemented leather, etc.) compare in terms of wicking away moisture. Surely, glue / cement, PVC ribbing, the shank and the (often fake) cork filler are barriers to the wicking away of moisture, and the exposure of such components to moisture would lead to their degradation. It is not hard to imagine the inner sole absorbing some moisture from the foot, but that moisture's passage through the inner sole, cement, cork and then through the outer sole does seem a little more complicated.
No doubt the wicking action would be better with hand-welted shoes sans cork filler and gemming, and in Blake-stitched (and possibly Fairstitched) shoes. My experience with hand-welted shoes does not allow for a good comparison because I tend to baby them, generally avoid long walks etc., but they are certainly comfortable; I have no Blake or Fairstitched products at the moment.
Anyway, foot temperature is only one aspect of comfort, and when it comes to walking long distances I don't think it is the most important one. Someone who spent most of their day in an air conditioned office would probably rate it higher on the list of important factors affecting comfort than me, because I accept an increase in temperature, sweating etc. as part of the experience of walking for miles. When I get to my destination I can take my shoes and socks off for a few minutes to let everything cool off and dry, if I really have to.
In fact, when you get right down to it, most people on this forum welcome the opportunity to buy a new pair of shoes in the latest fashion...if only to brag about it...and so the premature breakdown of a shoe isn't an issue they are going to remember.
Ooooh yeah, that certainly does seem to go on.
The serious shoe buffs, if they are anything like me, have a sizeable rotation and are careful where they step when they are wearing their prized possessions, even if their design incorporates such weaknesses as canvas or PVC ribbing and cement. I haven't seen too many photos of $1000 shoes and boots that have truly been put through the ringer.
Edited by nh10222 - 10/20/13 at 3:50am