Originally Posted by NORE
DW, in your professional opinion, do shoemakers that employ Goodyear welting use open channeled (or stitched aloft) methods to cut costs in lieu of closed channeled welting, no matter the angle of the cut? I have had shoes form several makers with closed channel welting that either wore thru to the stitch quickly or not, and have had shoes stitched aloft and could not figure why anyone would leave the stitched exposed given a choice, even if the stitching method meant that if one stitch broke or wore thru, it wouldn't cause a massive unraveling event. Why do they do that (stitch aloft)?
It all comes down to profit margins, and that in turn governs what the priorities of the operation are. By itself Goodyear construction is so commonplace as to almost be the new standard of quality , especially among those who don't know any better. But unfortunately the switch from handwelted (or some reasonable facsimile) is indicative/symptomatic of a more profound flaw in both vision and the acceptance of responsibility to the customer.
All by way of saying that once Goodyear construction is embraced, other expediencies are inevitable.
I don't know of a single exception in which Goodyear construction has not led to a concomitant decrease in the quality of the insole. Sometimes...at least for a time...the insole remains leather, although not of the same substance or quality needed for hand welted work. But eventually fiberboard or leatherboard insoles are substituted. It's too tempting inb terms of profit especially since the customer doesn't know any better and seemingly doesn't care to know.
And so it goes...all in the name of minimizing the cost of production and maximizing profit.
Eventually, even if a company starts out hand channeling the outsole, somewhere along the line pressure will mount to get rid of the labour costs and the time associated with hand channeling and a faster cheaper solution will be sought.Sometimes those solutions are satisfactory in terms of objective quality...sometimes not so much.
When a shoe is stitched aloft or groove channeled, grit gets to the stitches almost immediately and begins to destroy the integrity of the stitch. Everyone who knows anything about shoes or even simple mechanics understand this is going on. But it's cheaper, it allows the shoes to compete at a more profitable margin and as Isshin mentioned, marketing will take up the slack.
I don't see anything functionally wrong with a tightly closed, machine sewn, vertical channel. I like and admire an angled channel, hand cut or machine cut.
But a horizontal channel, hand cut, or more likely machine cut, is almost as bad as stitching aloft. And IMO, a grooved channel is not much better than stitching aloft.