Originally Posted by Volkl
Thanks again to DWF for this great thread. I'd like to follow on the rubber-sole question: 1) Why does it hurt the structural integrity of the shoe to build in a rubber sole? Does the rubber respond differently to the stresses of wear over time, such that it and the interspersed leather develop differently and tend to pull apart? Or is it something else.
Go back to the the bit about all the components working together to make something greater than the sum of the parts but with no component being an expressly weak link. Leather has a temper...a feel and a structural and functional quality...that is like nothing else. When a shoe is made entirely of leather the pieces all work together in harmony so to speak. Rubber soles don't function, or conform, or age ,in the same way as leather does. I have seen, especially in poor quality shoes, where the rubber, as it ages and thins tends to pull apart--to spread. And in doing so it pulls the components of the shoe out of position. So...you have it right and probably said it better than I did.
2) I have bum knees. My doctor strongly counsels rubber soles; but he is a doctor not a cordwainer. In your view can leather-soled shoes provide comparable shock absorption to rubber, and if so what might look for in RTW or ask for in bespoke to get closest to the shock absorbtion of rubber? (I aspire to bespoke but it's not happening soon on my budget).
No, leather will not absorb the stresses on your knees the way crepe soles will. But crepe is a very different animal than a Vibram dress sole, for instance. Of course crepe...even petro-chemical crepe...will wear faster than leather or Vibram/Dainite/Neolite, etc.. You'll have to stay on top of it or risk losing the shoe. Enough repairs or ruined shoes for lack of repair and bespoke might seem cheap. I am a bespoke maker. I think hand made shoes are almost the epitome of artisanal endeavour (personal opinion). But there is good, there is better, and there is best, and good...even better... quality shoes can be had in RTW. Don't get me wrong.
Thanks again for sharing your insights. I have learned a ton from this thread.
You are very welcome.