Ecstacy - well said throughout.
Cheers SoGent - I do take your point.
I have spoken with Mr. Gaziano regarding this exact topic, and it is his opinion that adding a topy/having a dainite/rubber sole is of absolutely no concern to the "breathability" of the shoe. Since I'm no expert, I have no idea how correct or incorrect this is from a shoemaking perspective, but for what it's worth, I've never noticed any difference in terms of shoe "breathability" between leather and rubber soled shoes.
Also, whether or not the shoemakers themselves wear rubber/topyed soled shoes is of no relevance--without further information, a conclusion cannot be drawn. Perhaps they see rubber soled shoes as a bastardization of the craft, or perhaps they simply don't mind going through shoes quicker than normal by wearing leather soled shoes all the time, just because they have the ability to make shoes for themselves. In any case, it simply doesn't make sense to speculate and draw conclusions so hastily.
Alright, that's fair.
Just let me say this. About respect, at least try not to suggest that I should not be posting in this thread, that I am stubborn in my thinking, and that I am from the Twitter generation with short attention span. I read a couple of your posts before this, and I quoted the ones that I wished to discuss. I mentioned that I did not read all your posts on this thread simply because you asked how I arrived at my conclusion from your comments on breathability, which was from another post that I did not intend to discuss. I have not been 'feeling' any respect from you since my first post on this thread. But I digress...
With that aside, let's look at leather versus rubber. I understand that leather outsoles have been used throughout the history of shoemaking. However, that is no basis for saying that leather outsoles are a good material for the outsole. In fact, the history for the use of leather outsoles is predominantly in the west, and only certain areas of the west. Any history of leather outsoles in the tropics is practically non-existent. Possible reasons could be low availability of leather, but more importantly persistent wet weather.
There seems to be disagreement about how well leather holds up in wet weather. But let's look at it this way - if leather is skin, then the way skin reacts to water would be somewhat similar to the way leather reacts to moisture. From the perspective of a materials engineer, perhaps leather would not even be in the picture when sourcing for an outsole material.
Now on to the subject of breathability, which I initially did not intend to address. My opinion is that requiring breathability for the outsole is pretty ludicrous. Why would I want a porous material on the outsole when it is supposed to be rigid and long-lasting? I understand and appreciate leather as a second layer of skin that 'brings us closer to nature,' but I would draw the line when it comes to the outsole. If simple gravel paths screw up the soles of my bare feet, I assume that the same would happen to leather outsoles. At the risk of digressing, I would add that callus will form at the soles of my feet, but not on leather outsoles, which will just look like scar tissue.
IMHO, the quality of an object is related to its ability to fulfill its purpose, at least for a 'functional object.' Of course, the purpose of shoes is subjective. To me, it would be to protect my feet and prevent me from falling down. With this perspective, the use of leather, with properties similar to our skin, would actually decrease the quality of shoes. If the shoes are meant purely for display, then that's a different story.
Not really relevant whether Tony or any shoemaker puts Topy on their own shoes. They can resole their own shoes at zero or low cost. Consumers have to pay a lot of money to get their shoes resoled. Heck, Tony can pull off a new pair of shoes off the production line and write it off his taxes.
Ask Tony Gaziano whether he uses Topy is like asking Corinne Mentzepoulos of Chateau Margaux whether she ever drinks cheap Languedoc wine. She can just dip out the back and pull out a bottle of Ch Margaux whenever she wants.
In any case - the issue is being muddied here. Most bespoke shoemakers presumably don't use gemming, hence leather soles in this instance perhaps aids moisture wicking. "Golding, Swaysland, Bordoli, Plucknett, Rees, Leno, Thornton. Think about the shoemakers who taught me or James Carreducker" - these guys I presume did not have gemmed shoes. If gemming is used as part of shoe construction (as is the case with most RTW), then our conclusion today is that a Topy layer doesn't really affect moisture wicking via the sole.
emeristol, Mifune - spot on. It is heartening to see that the more overblown condemnation of synthetic soles isn't being swallowed wholesale.
As it happens I have spoken with Dean Girling about synthetic outsoles and found his take entirely pragmatic and balanced. Similarly Phillip Car of St. Crispin's, who recommended a combination Topy-like outsole for a boot we are planning for the coming fall.
Instead of asking whether individual bespoke makers wear synthetic outsoles, consider why most if not all premium RTW manufacturers offer synthetic soles as an option to their customers if in fact there is a) no practical benefit to the option and b) a significant net detriment to both the integrity of the shoe and the health of their customer's feet? Seems like a poor business model, to say the least.
The only suggestion I have ever heard to explain this fact is a massive conspiracy by manufacturers to delude and deceive customers as to the benefits of synthetic outsoles in certain applications, and massively rip them off by employing cheaper materials for the same retail price. Hopefully, this sets off your crazy detector as it did mine. And in any event, the last time this was raised Ron Rider (among others) pointed out that some synthetic outsoles are actually more expensive than their leather equivalents, and in any event, a Topy installed over a standard leather outsole isn't cheaper at all.
On the blog entry I posted earlier, Justin Fitzpatrik posted images of two otherwise identical ED Dover models, one with a leather outsole and the other with Dainite and posed the following rhetorical question: "Is this top one going to last longer than the bottom one???? Don’t think so….."
I don't think so, either.
Anyone care to share their thoughts on the model pictured below? Kind of an interesting take on a shell PTB. I'm contemplating something similar in calf - I think it would make a sleek and different dressy/casual shoe. Trying also to envision how it would look with a brogued captoe.
Great color and model
You need to think a little bit outside the box about financial and practical implications for consumers vs a shoemaker/cobbler.
If a shoemaker states that he recommends keeping 365 pairs of shoes so as to allow maximum time for each pair to recover - well sure, of course this is likely to be a better for maintaining the condition of shoes than a rotation of 7 pairs of shoes...however there is a financial and practical consideration to think about.
Similarly, a shoemaker/cobbler can afford to not bother with Topys as they do not have the same financial/practical considerations re. resoling or acquiring new shoes that a consumer has. As an example, it would cost me 300 pounds to have EGs resoled back in Northampton. How much do you think it costs Tony Gaziano/bespoke shoemaker to get his EGs resoled? He could either get it done for next to nothing, do it himself, or he could just throw the shoes out and grab another pair of shoes from the back of his shop. Neither of these options are farfetched or fanciful; any of them are a likely reason why Tony/bespoke shoemaker would not going to bother with a Topy. If he himself had to pay 300 pounds for resoling and didn't have access to free/cheap resoles and new shoes, I am sure that he would consider Topy as a potential option.
At the end of the day, it is a financial and practical exercise.
Most people would also choose the best/most luxurious of everything in life if they could purchase them at cost / far below normal retail prices.
Do you buy all your food organic, biodynamic, market fresh, etc? Because that is what most of the top chefs in the world advocate. Guess what though, financial and practical implications come into play for 99% of consumers.
Re. more difficult putting leather outsole on a shoe - so what? Difficulty in doing something is not a positive attribute.
Re. "creating self-serving fantasy worlds" - go easy fella. Ideals, the status quo and the opinions of experts should be held to close scrutiny. You have enough knowledge about footwear construction to think rationally about the issue at hand and discuss this properly, without having to resort to silly mudslinging.