Originally Posted by Munky
Excuse me, but what is the difference between 'handmade' and 'handcrafted' shoes?
Also, is the debate of different types of welt a matter of 'marginal gains'? I would imagine that neither Goodyear nor Blake are going to fall apart, quickly, when attached to good shoes. I would also assume that the wearer doesn't feel any difference between the two.
I think your first question is simply semantics.
As for the second question, I agree that there are probably not enough differences between the constructions to become a loyalist of one over the other simply because one may fall apart quicker. It is true that a possible weakness that exists in Goodyear-welted shoes (canvas gemming) doesn't exist in Blake/Rapid, and thus, a Blake/Rapid shoe is less likely to come apart during regular wear. However, the prevalence of gemming failure is very poorly documented and isn't prevalent enough to be recognized as a true weakness by the masses or by most shoe experts. It wouldn't have taken hold as the favored shoe construction technique for high-end shoes if it were that prone to failure. After all, it isn't like the people who can afford Goodyear-welted shoes or Hand-welted shoes can't also afford Blake/Rapid. Therefore, those who can afford the best and also demand quality, craftsmanship, and durability have proven to be accepting of Goodyear-welted shoes to fill that demand. It's comparable to "survival of the fittest." If there were a noticeable difference in the overall lifespan of a Goodyear-welted shoe vs. a Blake/Rapid shoe, the longer lived one would have become the standard. This difference doesn't really exist, and therefore Goodyear-welted shoes have become the gold-standard for reasons other than longevity.
As has been established above, the likelihood of your uppers surviving long enough for the shoe construction to actually matter is relatively slim. I think the question may become more important when dealing with shell, since it has the capacity to last far longer. However, most shell doesn't live up to it's full potential in machine stitched shoes because it too is destroyed by needless replacement of the welts or midsoles, thus losing it's integrity and becoming worthless far earlier than the leather itself would go kaput.
There is a difference in the fit and feel of a Goodyear-welted vs. Blake/Rapid shoe. Flexibility is a factor, especially when comparing a single soled Goodyear-welted to a Blake/Rapid. The flexibility of a Blake/Rapid shoe should be more akin to that of a double soled Goodyear-welted shoe, if that's important to you. Also, the cork filler underneath the insole is not present in a Blake/Rapid shoe. Some like the cork, others don't. Some consider it worthless, other enjoy what it has to offer. It comes down to personal preference I think.