Originally Posted by Groover
The channel does offer protection for the stitching, but only for a finite length of time.
If done correctly, a hand cut outsole channel will embed the stitches roughly one-third to one-half the thickness of the outsole. So, it begs the question...how much protection for the stitches do you want when you pay top dollar for a pair of shoes? Half of the substance before the stitches begin
to be abraded...or instantaneous
tearing, fraying and loss of integrity? What Groover, has missed in the rush to justify is that yes, it takes a lot of time to hand channel an outsole. More than most manufacturers could justify. It may take upwards of two to three hours per pair to hand channel and hand stitch an outsole. Shocking eh? But!! As I mentioned repeatedly
...outsole stitching machine can be set up to cut a vertical channel as the machine is stitching.
Simultaneously. Think about this...if the outsole is going to be stitched and the machine can cut a channel at the same time
... what is lost? Not time. Not energy. Not even much in the way of attention. It doesn't even take a particularly high skilled worker to do this (although it does require a little something more than a wino off the corner). So wages don't even have to be adjusted. There is even an attachment for the finishing machine that will close the channel at the same time the outsole is being prepared for tinting and waxing.
Whilst the OP has made some very good and interesting points and highlighted the skills involved with making fantastic footwear. To simply dismiss stitched aloft shoes in the manner he has, is, in my opinion somewhat disrespectful to those companies that offer this choice of finish.
Groover has made a good point...unfortunately, it is not one that addresses in any way the fundamental issues contained in my remarks. I repeatedly stressed that I was talking about high quality
shoes, emphasizing again and again that bespoke
was the ideal. Moreover, I did not mention any names of any companies. Am I dismissive of factory made shoes? Yes...in comparison to hand made shoes, you bet. It is simply a matter of understanding that there are real differences and having the courage to recognize them. The bottom line is, and I think it is worth repeating and remembering--it costs...even manufacturers...nothing to cut a channel in the outsole and embed the stitches. Nothing!