well, closed channel doesn't add any value to me, nor does it make the shoe any longer lasting. its an appearance thing.
handwelt seems to be a claimed benefit, but given the percentage of issues inherent in goodyear shoes, I see no need to worry about the longevity of a goodyear shoe.
The rest is appearance. its definitely a more slick look than AE, whether thats a good thing or not is generally a style/personality determination.
Enjoy your shoes!
Yeah value is in the eye of the beholder. I could be wrong but technically, isn't more expensive/ require more labor to produce close channel?
Also, the outer soles got a curve that allow even wear from the center of the sole to the edge. I think this requires some detail to attention as well as skillful shoe makers. At $300, quite a value in my eyes.
Yes, it is more expensive to do a closed channel, but the real benefit is the look of the sole with no stitching. Further, if the channel covering comes loose (as it has on some peoples) it can be unsightly and require repair.
The curve of the outsole is interesting and I haven't really look at my shoes for that. I wonder if thats still the case when you are actually standing in the shoe.
Close channel sole is more labor intensive and has a construction benefit as well.
Hand welting also has a construction benefit, is again much more labor intensive, and actually require more skilled laborers.
Center sole lump is a mark of a quality shoes observed in Lobb and EG but not at the other benchgrade shoes.
I have always heard that the closed channel sole is purely cosmetic with no real benefit, with regards to "construction".
I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I think Nick A. at B. Nelson was the last person to tell me this (right after I asked for closed channel soles as part of a re-sole job).
You can find related info if you search for pre 2010 threads/posts from Rider