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what makes a good shoe and why they cost so much - Page 7

post #91 of 232
Thread Starter 
In another thread there was a discussion about blake/rapid construction. For the sake of clarification and...hopefully...education, I would like to make a further comment in this regard: I have seen a number of really well made, top shelf shoes that used blake/rapid construction. For an RTW shoe, the blake/rapid constructuion technique is quick, easy, and...always...cost effective. In the discussion mentioned, however, it was suggested that such shoes would be harder to repair. I spent some of my early years in this Trade doing repair just to support the boot business...I still do repair on shoes and boots that I have made. One of the most common problems that develops during wear (at least, for some people) is the tendency to wear off the edge of the shoe. This happens most often among people who use their shoes hard, although it can be created by an overzealous cobbler grinding/trimming the edge of the outsole down too much. The upshot is that there is often simply not enough of a "lip" (the welt) left to attach and sew an outsole. Of course, with a welted shoe, the welt can always be replaced. This was the point being made in the other discussion. In blake/rapid construction, a midsole is added and it is left a little proud around the forepart of the shoe to create a lip that functions like the welt. If the edge of the midsole is worn (or trimmed) to the point where there is insufficient substance to stitch on a new outsole, the shoe may not be repairable short of sending it back to the maker. Of course, the shoe can be sent back to the factory and be "re-crafted," although I suspect only a small percentage of owners...even of high priced shoes...will ever go to that trouble. So...all things being equal a blake/rapid may indeed be as easy to repair as a welted shoe but when the crunch comes, it is a far different story, requiring specialized machines, to replace a blake midsole. Of course, if you have those machines it is only a minute or two.
post #92 of 232
This has been an incredibly informative thread - thank you for making it.

I'd be interested to hear a more in-depth comment about a topy... You said you use it and admire it, but would never use them on your own shoes. I live in a part of the world with a lot of hard, abrasive ground, and leather soles deteriorate at a very scary rate without the use of a topy... Could you explain a little bit more as to what you like about them, and why you would not use them on a shoe of your own?
post #93 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intelligent Design View Post
This has been an incredibly informative thread - thank you for making it. I'd be interested to hear a more in-depth comment about a topy... You said you use it and admire it, but would never use them on your own shoes. I live in a part of the world with a lot of hard, abrasive ground, and leather soles deteriorate at a very scary rate without the use of a topy... Could you explain a little bit more as to what you like about them, and why you would not use them on a shoe of your own?
curious in which part of the world you are living, but imo it has more to do with the quality of the leather soles. also, i found out that a rubber sole did not enhance the life circle of the "resoling". much more a good fit and the shoes fitted to your personal gait are the factors.
post #94 of 232
Australia - lots of bitumen and hard, gritty surfaces that really tear the crap out of leather soles.
post #95 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intelligent Design View Post
Australia - lots of bitumen and hard, gritty surfaces that really tear the crap out of leather soles.

ad hoc: double soles and a good fit + take care of the rotation
post #96 of 232
Wonderful thread. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
post #97 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzl View Post
ad hoc: double soles and a good fit + take care of the rotation
Double soles are more durable than single soles? I thought that myth was debunked some time ago here on SF?
post #98 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intelligent Design View Post
This has been an incredibly informative thread - thank you for making it. I'd be interested to hear a more in-depth comment about a topy... You said you use it and admire it, but would never use them on your own shoes. I live in a part of the world with a lot of hard, abrasive ground, and leather soles deteriorate at a very scary rate without the use of a topy... Could you explain a little bit more as to what you like about them, and why you would not use them on a shoe of your own?
I live in country that is probably as bad if not worse. The dirt in Central Oregon is largely comprised of volcanic glass. I don't use topy on my personal footwear mostly because it's a hassle to replace and do the job correctly. And while I am not a tree hugger or "pure" in any respect, I aspire to as small an environmental footprint as is practical. I don't like thinking that every time I take a step I am leaving tiny particles of nearly indestructible, petro-chemical rubber in my wake. Beyond that, one has to wonder where the logic takes us...I mean, leather soles are meant to be worn, worn away, and replaced. But since we paid for the leather sole as part of the shoe...and perhaps because in western culture we are not used to thinking in terms of repairing our clothing or replacing parts...we put on Topy to protect the leather soles. And then, since the Topy is so thin, it has to be monitored constantly and replaced at least as often, if not more often, than the leather outsole would...all other things being equal. In the end, I suspect we save nothing significant by using the topy. But there's a logical flaw in the whole concept to begin with--shoes are our interface with the environment. As beautiful as they may be...and such beauty is by design...the fundamental purpose, the raison d'etre, is to protect our feet. Protecting the protection seems a little crazy to me, doesn't it to you? When will we come up with something to protect the Topy? So says someone who has leather soles in relative abundance and can replace them easily.
post #99 of 232
DWFII,

I never have topy put on my shoes, for almost the same reasons as you. I would also add, that in my opinion, the leather under the toppy might not breathe properly.
But a lot of my friends have topy on their sole because they find leather soles too slippery.
post #100 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajv View Post
But a lot of my friends have topy on their sole because they find leather soles too slippery.
ajv, I've never understood that perception. For me leather is less slippery than almost any kind of rubber, under almost any kind of conditions except snow and then only with heavily tractioned soles. I have worn leather soles for the better part of my life...at least 40 years straight. In snow, in ice, in wet weather. The only times I slip enough to disturb my balance is when the rubber heel hits ice...and then only when I am unaware or not paying enough attention. In order for a rubber sole to wear as long as a leather sole, the rubber must be fairly hard..."dense" may be the better word. But if an outsole can conform to the irregularities underfoot, it will grip better. When leather is wet, it conforms very well, and is one of the least slippery materials I've ever worked with...certainly less slippery than equally wet rubber. And when the weather and the leather are dry, leather is not slippery at all.
post #101 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
ajv, I've never understood that perception. For me leather is less slippery than almost any kind of rubber, under almost any kind of conditions except snow and then only with heavily tractioned soles. I have worn leather soles for the better part of my life...at least 40 years straight. In snow, in ice, in wet weather. The only times I slip enough to disturb my balance is when the rubber heel hits ice...and then only when I am unaware or not paying enough attention.
I'm sorry to contradict you, but that is With leather soles, I was sliding around my wards on urine, blood, amniotic fluid, you name it. Once I applied topys the problem disappeared immediately.
post #102 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post
I'm sorry to contradict you, but that is

With leather soles, I was sliding around my wards on urine, blood, amniotic fluid, you name it. Once I applied topys the problem disappeared immediately.

I don't know, I think it mus have something to do with the way one walks, i've never had problems with leather sole, except on a slope when grass is wet or obviously on ice and snow. In heavy rain, if I have to walk for a long time, I'll wear dainite soled shoes. On snow and ice I'll wear very soft commando soles, gives more traction than hard commando soles.

Adrian
post #103 of 232
Thanks for your very informative posts, DW. I prefer topies or rubber soles for a few particular conditions, such as on old, smooth, metal or marble stairs, especially when they're wet. Wet metal escalators (all over the Metro in DC) and metal grills (ubiquitous in NYC) can be really slippery too. And since I'm often late, I'm often running and usually with some heavy bag, which makes things worse. The other two conditions in which I prefer rubber soles are motorcycling and bicycling. Serrated, metal bicycle pedals can rip up leather soles. On the motorcycle, my concern is stability when my feet go down, particularly when: (1) it's wet, (2) I'm on a hill, (3) I'm backing up, using my legs to push the bike back (no reverse on most motorcycles) (4) there are relatively fresh paint stripes on the ground, to indicate motorcycle parking stalls for example. I encounter all of these conditions every day, the last three in concert at my work. Add the wet, and it's even more difficult. I'm often afraid that I will slip and drop the bike. Fortunately, I haven't yet, with either rubber or leather soles. Interestingly, just as different rubber soles do not have equal grip, different leather soles don't. The most grippy leather soles I have are by Alden -- just the right balance of density. The worst ones are old, old Crosby squares -- totally slippery, but I think that's their age.
post #104 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post
I'm sorry to contradict you, but that is With leather soles, I was sliding around my wards on urine, blood, amniotic fluid, you name it. Once I applied topys the problem disappeared immediately.
No worries. Everyone is different and you have to deal with your particular situation and your subjective...and objective...experiences. But I think you have a unique situation. I'm not doctor but I would suspect that: 1) all these substances with the exception of the urine, have a certain amount of collagen or something similar as part of their composition. That's certainly going to provide some additional and not easily dispersed slipperiness. 2) the floors that you are walking on are, by necessity, super smooth in order to make cleaning and sterilization easier. 3) that the way a person walks has something to do with any loss of traction or balance. Many people have a slightly backward leaning stance or they keep their center of balance slightly behind their hips. Again, let us remember that rubber soling is a relatively new concept in the history of shoes. Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in leather soled boots. And don't forget that the most perilous driving conditions are on ice with rubber tires. Not even the deepest tread or the most advanced rubber (and the rubber outsole industry is a direct step-child of the tire industry) can prevent slipping.
post #105 of 232
My medical team got a urgent page about a patient that had what the paging nurse called an 'unstoppable nosebleed' that had lost maybe 1+litres of blood.

We rushed to the patients bedside, where there was a fair amount of blood on the floor. Like a scene out of a bad comedy, my feet stopped moving, and maintaining my balance throughout I slid nearly 2 metres over the split blood into the wall while the entire room (1 other doctor, 3 nurses, the patient, 2 of his relatives) feel silent and watched.

With precise comedic timing, the patient with blood dribbling down his face onto his chest and all over his clothes and the floor, clutching his fifth blood-soaked rag to his nose, deadpanned: "now that's something you don't see everyday!"

I got topys put on that pair of shoes the very same day.
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