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Leather or rubber soles? - Page 7

post #91 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post
 

^^^ Interesting - and thanks for digging that up.  But that is 1) retail price - cost to the consumer, for 2) resoling - which embraces both material and labor.

 

I am looking for cost to the manufacturer, on average, for material alone on a quality leather sole. Because it is the cost to them that would render the diminished cost of rubber as a significant benefit.  Or an insignificant one. I would be shocked indeed if that number was anywhere near the figures posted above.

 

True, that's only one side of the story and it doesn't reveal much; we have more digging to find the real costs - I doubt we'll find much here.

 

This reminds me of a documentary that showed Nike's time and motion figures for manufacturing in their sweatshops, apparently recovered from documents found in a rubbish dump. If I recall correctly, the time taken to perform each operation was calculated to some small fraction of a second, like one thousandth. The pay slips of the factory workers were also obtained. It was ridiculous. Even if Northampton factories use methods like gemming and don't make their employees rich, I doubt they apply Nike's ruthless approach to their production. Of course, some cold-hearted bastards out there would probably say that they should...


Edited by nh10222 - 10/19/13 at 6:07am
post #92 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

I'd be interested to know the material cost for a quality pair of soles for an individual pair of shoes.  I suspect it is not a significant factor in the overall price of high end RTW shoes, much less bespoke.


I don't know either, but one explanation does seem more likely to me than the other.  Particularly since, if we are to accept what we are being told, it wouldn't be a "few customers" impacted.  We're talking untold thousands here.  Seems like a poor business model to save a few pennies or pounds on sole material only to have a line of disgruntled customers stretching out the door to complain about the resulting stench, among other things.  Even if we are to accept the implicit suggestion that these high end shoe companies care nothing for their product or their customers and are simply trying to maximize profit [an implication which I categorically reject] this would seem a poor means to that end.

Glad to see everyone here is still nuts!

smile.gif

Anyway, once you cross the $350-400 barrier, cost of outsoles doesn't really mean much. Under that selling price you search materials to give you the best quality possible for what you need to be on the market for, over that you spend less time considering cost and more time on the end product. I pay around 25 euro per pair for Sestriere outsoles (my leather outsoles generally cost me around 12 euro) and that is considered very high - but my customers like them, as do I. I'm pretty sure we have not crippled anyone, but I will keep an eye on my mailbox for any letters from my attorney.

Hitting on a few talking points here:

1 - Anyone telling you that a leather soled shoe will 'breath' better than a rubber soled shoe is simply talking the sale, is misinformed or is a starch traditionalist with a singular point of view.
2 - There are few industries more toxic than the leather tanning industry......even veg tanned specialists #1 cost is waste disposal and treatment. There are no 'environmental benefits' in choosing leather soles vs. rubber soles.
3 - Personal body chemistry, type of socks and, to a lesser degree, linings and insoles quality do effect perspiration effects - but not outsoles. (note I am referring to good to better quality shoes here.....once you go to a pvc coated upper, pleather linings, fiberboard insoles, etc., all bets are off).
4 - While I have a great deal of respect for DW's passion and adherence to tradition, I think it is worth noting that most - if not all - bespoke makers value construction and these traditions above all. And rightfully so, as their clients come to them for that exact reason. DW and I share at least one common client, and he goes to DW for one type of experience and product, and me for another - each of equal value and satisfaction to him. No one maker, no one brand and no one type of footwear and/or components is above all no matter the price referenced. All can fit an economy, a fashion, a function, an environment, etc., and all should be respected for what they are - from the shoe department at Walmart to the most talented, sophisticated Bespoke maker's year long work. Anything else is just arrogance.
post #93 of 171

Ron - that post is so full of win - thank you.  Seriously.

post #94 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

2 - There are few industries more toxic than the leather tanning industry......even veg tanned specialists #1 cost is waste disposal and treatment. There are no 'environmental benefits' in choosing leather soles vs. rubber soles..

Are you implying that the petroleum industry doesn't have any environmental effects worth noting? Because you're choosing oil or leather. Tanning may involve some nasty stuff, I don't know enough to comment (though google is turning up PETA links when I search, which makes me think those claims are grossly exxagerated, because anything that PETA uses as a talking point usually is), but you have to compare to the alternative. And petrochemicals can get pretty nasty too.
post #95 of 171
You know folks, everything that is being said to undermine my few initial remarks flies in the face of commonsense.

Primitive man had little if any athlete's foot or fungal foot infections. Today primitive peoples still have very little incidence of such diseases.

Now I hate to do this but truth to tell I am not a physician nor yet a Google Guru so I am forced to quote...trusting the sources:

From http://emedicine.medscape.com
Quote:
Tinea pedis is the term used for a dermatophyte infection of the soles of the feet and the interdigital spaces. Tinea pedis is most commonly caused by Trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophyte initially endemic only to a small region of Southeast Asia and in parts of Africa and Australia. Interestingly, tinea pedis was not noted in these areas then, possibly because these populations did not wear occlusive footwear. The colonization of the T rubrum –endemic regions by European nations helped to spread the fungus throughout Europe. Wars with accompanying mass movements of troops and refugees, the general increase in available means of travel, and the rise in the use of occlusive footwear have all combined to make T rubrum the world's most prevalent dermatophyte.

Now what does occlusive mean? Well...slight divergence for clarity:
Quote:
oc·clude (ŏ-klūd')
1. To close, plug, obstruct, or bring together.
2. To enclose, as in an occluded virus.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

Granted all footwear is to some degree ocullsive but footwear that cannot breathe, that prevents the possibility of breathing in some degree is going to be more occlusive than footwear that is constructed of materials and with techniques that deliberately seeks, as much as possible, to minimize occlusion.
Quote:
The first reported case of tinea pedis in the United States was noted in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1920s. World War I troops returning from battle may have transported T rubrum to the United States.

Obviously these fellows and their parents and grandparents had been wearing leather shoes for some centuries without significant problems. The difference? Rubber and other synthetics were not in common usage in the footwear industry prior to the turn of the 20th century.

What causes fungal foot infections?
Quote:
A hot, humid, tropical environment (remember my reference to "jungle environment?) and prolonged use of occlusive footwear, with the resulting complications of hyperhidrosis and maceration, are risk factors for all types of tinea pedis. Certain activities, such as swimming and communal bathing, may also increase the risk of infection.

As I stated quite clearly for those who were still awake, such problems as I outlined are not going to afflict everyone. I think I used the words"genetic make-up"...
Quote:
Tinea pedis is more common in some families, and certain people may have a genetic predisposition to the infection. A defect in cell-mediated immunity may predispose some individuals to develop tinea pedis, but this is not certain.

How do you treat or get rid of fungal foot infections?
Quote:
Occlusive footwear promotes infection by creating warm, humid, macerating environments where dermatophytes thrive. Therefore, patients should try to minimize foot moisture by limiting the use of occlusive footwear and should discard shoes that may be contributing to recurrence of the infection.

Old shoes are often sources of reinfection and should be disposed of or treated with antifungal powders.

Patients should be cautioned to wear protective footwear at communal pools and baths and should attempt to keep their feet dry by limiting occlusive footwear. When occlusive footwear is worn, wearing cotton socks and adding a drying powder with antifungal action in the shoes may be helpful.

All the above quotes are from the same source with the exception of the definition provided for the word "occlude"

This next quote is from the book Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States1850-2000:Mycoses and Modernity(Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History.

Quote:
The grand narrative of twentieth-century medicine is the conquering of acute infectious diseases and the rise in chronic, degenerative diseases. The history of fungal infections does not fit this picture; indeed, it runs against it - this book charts the path of fungal infections from the mid nineteenth century to the dawn of the twenty-first century, both in Britain and the United States. It examines how fungal infections became more prevalent and serious over the century, a rise that was linked to the increased incidence of chronic diseases and to social, technological and medical 'progress'. In 1900, conditions such as ringworm, athlete's foot and thrush were minor, external and mostly chronic conditions – irritating, but mostly self-limiting. In the subsequent decades, these infections remained very common, but were better controlled by antifungal drugs. However, by the year 2000 doctors were faced by a growing number of serious and life-threatening fungal infections, such as invasive aspergillosis and systemic candidiasis. These infections principally affect patients who have benefited from medical advances, such as antibiotic treatment and transplantation, and those with immuno-compromised conditions.

Significantly rubber outsoles didn't really gain any market share until well into the 20th century when by-products of the petro-chemical industry became available. Coincidence? Perhaps, but reasonably, logically, objectively, a contributing factor.

Additional tidbits I found which support my thesis::
Quote:
The organisms that cause athlete's foot thrive in damp, close environments created by thick, tight shoes that can pinch the toes together and create warm, moist areas in between. Damp socks increase the risk. The infection isn't found as often in areas of the world where shoes aren't worn. Warm, humid settings that promote heavy sweating favor its spread.Dr. Eddy's Clinic Integrated Medicine - Web Journal
Quote:
However, it is believed that fungal infections are the result of our modern society, bearing in mind that during the 19th century, this was a very rare condition and there were no specific toenail fungus cure. http://nail-fungus.co.uk/category/remediestreatments/

As regards foot odor:
Quote:
The main cause of foot odor is sweat. Did you know that each foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands? The sweat itself is odorless, but it creates a beneficial environment for bacteria to grow and produce bad-smelling substances. Certain types of socks can contribute to sweaty feet because they provide less ventilation. For example, wearing synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon socks, may increase perspiration and therefore may intensify foot odor. Natural fibers such as cotton and wool are best as they provide the best ventilation for the feet.

Those who go barefoot tend to have fewer problems with foot odor, but keep in mind that wearing closed shoes without any socks at all is not a good idea as the shoe materials may also increase sweating and bacterial activity that cause odor. If you must wear shoes without socks for fashion’s sake, try dotting antiperspirant on the bottoms of your feet and between your toes. You can also sprinkle baby powder on the sides of your shoes before and after you wear them.

Any shoe can have the ability to make the foot sweat, and therefore smell – even sandals. Shoe materials that have a propensity to hold in moisture are those that have a greater likelihood to create the environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Plastic shoes and those made of suede are two examples of materials that trap moisture, increasing bacterial growth and the risk for foot odor. http://www.emaxhealth.com/

As regards the tanning industry: J & F. J. Baker & Co. LTD has been in the same location for...what?...200 years? They haven't yet had to scrape off all the topsoil to make the proximate countryside livable nor has the run-off from any such tannery destroyed whole eco-systems the way that the shrimp fishery in Louisiana has been destroyed by Dow Chemical and sibs. Not to mention BP in the Gulf, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

BTW, in all of my remarks I have emphasized...as in the last quote above...that rubber soled shoe only create a "greater likelihood" of the problems I outlined. Not a certainty. Once again, for the sleepyheads, however--it's a game of russian roulette. Have at it....there is no shoe police (yet).

In passing...there are folks...objectively ignorant folks...posting here that make this discussion very like arguing with a teenager. And arguing with a teenager is like mud-wrestling with a pig--you soon come to realize that the pig likes it.

--
Edited by DWFII - 10/19/13 at 11:15am
post #96 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

Are you implying that the petroleum industry doesn't have any environmental effects worth noting? Because you're choosing oil or leather. Tanning may involve some nasty stuff, I don't know enough to comment (though google is turning up PETA links when I search, which makes me think those claims are grossly exxagerated, because anything that PETA uses as a talking point usually is), but you have to compare to the alternative. And petrochemicals can get pretty nasty too.

No, not at all......more saying that neither product - nor much of anything connected to the leather industry - is 'green' so choosing leather soles over rubber soles for ecological reasons would be without much merit.
post #97 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

No, not at all......more saying that neither product - nor much of anything connected to the leather industry - is 'green' so choosing leather soles over rubber soles for ecological reasons would be without much merit.

Got ya. I do appreciate the fact that leather is renewable, though. You make a new cow in about two years, where it takes about 2 million years to turn a dead cow into oil.
post #98 of 171
DW, anyone who's been on this forum a while knows how valuable your input is; you really can just ignore the aggressive posters and none of us would mind.

It would really suck if we lost DW as a poster like we did Vox and many others, just because people want to debate every little proposition he makes. If there's disagreement fine, but no need for ad hominem attacks.

As for my input, I've observed rubber having an advantage in terms of shock absorption, especially in boots with thick heels. Maybe the bespoke leather boots I've had made weren't done right, but they always feel like I'm slamming my foot into concrete when I walk in them.
post #99 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenn View Post

DW, anyone who's been on this forum a while knows how valuable your input is; you really can just ignore the aggressive posters and none of us would mind.

Yeah, I know...and sometimes I do. But I also realize that a forum that is this large is kind of like a ghetto neighborhood...if you're gonna walk down the street sometimes you've got to give back as good as you get or you'll get run off. And I've had run-ins with some of these folk before...sometimes...to my shame (probably, maybe)...I end up taking a real dislike to them.
Quote:
It would really suck if we lost DW as a poster like we did Vox and many others, just because people want to debate every little proposition he makes. If there's disagreement fine, but no need for ad hominem attacks.

Thank you for that. I think that's why people like Janne and Jan Petter no longer post here. I admit it makes me tired sometimes. It's like a friend of mine (head shoemaker at Colonial Williamsburg) said--it's like trying to dilute the salt in the ocean one teaspoon at a time.
Quote:
As for my input, I've observed rubber having an advantage in terms of shock absorption, especially in boots with thick heels. Maybe the bespoke leather boots I've had made weren't done right, but they always feel like I'm slamming my foot into concrete when I walk in them.

And that's your choice. I've never experienced the slamming effect in my own shoes or boots but leather is admittedly firmer than rubber.

"Every form of refuge has a price."
post #100 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


In passing...there are folks...objectively ignorant folks...posting here that make this discussion very like arguing with a teenager. And arguing with a teenager is like mud-wrestling with a pig--you soon come to realize that the pig likes it.

--

 

Or another interpretation - you like the arguing because you cannot stand to be questioned and won't tolerate a contrary view. You have a desperate need to be acknowledged as the final word on any shoe-related subject and get your panties most righteously wadded if someone has the temerity to point out that what you're saying doesn't really add up.  And it sure doesn't.

 

If that strikes you as "aggressive", well, you must live a very soft life.

post #101 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER 
No, not at all......more saying that neither product - nor much of anything connected to the leather industry - is 'green' so choosing leather soles over rubber soles for ecological reasons would be without much merit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

Got ya. I do appreciate the fact that leather is renewable, though. You make a new cow in about two years, where it takes about 2 million years to turn a dead cow into oil.

This would only tend to weaken any argument against rubber soles as a good alternative where aesthetically acceptable. Of course, I never really saw it as a major benefit of leather (I tried desperately to entertain the assertion by another member that there were "many" advantages of leather soles over rubber - I was clearly clutching at straws). Pollution issues with the petrochemical industry have never stopped me from buying rubber soles. What did initially stop me were aesthetic concerns.

Renewability and biodegradability may be as good as it gets in terms of environmental benefits. I don't know about energy consumption for leather production, but that is also a concern. Presumably, traditional methods did not require a huge amount, as they were in use before electricity etc., but how that applies to an average modern tannery I wouldn't know; then again if some leathers take months to make... Hmmm

If the petrochemical industry goes under, leather may once again become the major shoemaking material the world over. Until then, I'll probably continue using the products of the Harboro Rubber Co. et al.
Edited by nh10222 - 10/19/13 at 2:32pm
post #102 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by nh10222 View Post



This would only tend to weaken any argument against rubber soles as a good alternative where aesthetically acceptable. Of course, I never really saw it as a major benefit of leather (I tried desperately to entertain the assertion by another member that there were "many" advantages of leather soles over rubber - I was clearly clutching at straws). Pollution issues with the petrochemical industry have never stopped me from buying rubber soles. What did initially stop me were aesthetic concerns.

Renewability and biodegradability may be as good as it gets in terms of environmental benefits. I don't know about energy consumption for leather production, but that is also a concern. Presumably, traditional methods did not require a huge amount, as they were in use before electricity etc., but how that applies to an average modern tannery I wouldn't know; then again if some leathers take months to make... Hmmm

If the petrochemical industry goes under, leather may once again become the major shoemaking material the world over. Until then, I'll probably continue using the products of the Harboro Rubber Co. et al.

 

Ditto this.

post #103 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

And that's your choice. I've never experienced the slamming effect in my own shoes or boots but leather is admittedly firmer than rubber.

I wonder if that's because the heel of my boots aren't shaped right, and maybe causing premature heel striking or delayed toe striking or something. I've noticed good cowboy boots tend to be horizontal to the ground at the heel to mid-foot before gracefully sloping down to the toes, whereas the bootmaker I used in Hong Kong slanted it down in an almost straight angle from toe to heel.
post #104 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenn View Post

I wonder if that's because the heel of my boots aren't shaped right, and maybe causing premature heel striking or delayed toe striking or something. I've noticed good cowboy boots tend to be horizontal to the ground at the heel to mid-foot before gracefully sloping down to the toes, whereas the bootmaker I used in Hong Kong slanted it down in an almost straight angle from toe to heel.

There you go.
post #105 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by nh10222 View Post
I'd like a full breakdown on materials, manufacturing methods and labour for every new pair I buy from now on. Then it could be plastered all over the fora, we could compare notes, judge and bitch. I emailed the bootmaker mentioned above a few hours ago.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nh10222 View PostI have hand-welted boots with leather and rubber soles (the latter on order), but I don't know what sort of filler is used (but after this discussion, I want to find out and have already sent an email). Therefore we must default to the expert knowledge of people like DWFII.

 

Clifford Roberts has confirmed that all of his shoes and boots are cut by hand, hand-lasted, hand-welted, heel stacks prepared by hand, finished by hand, but the sole is stitched to the welt by machine - not sure exactly what category that falls into.... and the Dainite soled boots are also hand-welted.

 

Despite what has been said in other reviews, overall I think Cliff makes a bloody nice shoe and will probably buy from him again.

 

But - wait for it: the filler is that blasted, fugitive cork, rather than leather strips or felt.

:devil:

Bugger me! Does that mean I can't take full advantage of the moisture-wicking potential of a Barker oak bark tanned leather sole? I guess I'll just have to grin and bear it lol...

 

Now I have to say that it is only because DWFII shared his knowledge about shoemaking that I even knew to ask Cliff questions about materials.


Edited by nh10222 - 10/25/13 at 11:28am
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