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Sole Welting - Page 84

post #1246 of 1788
^^^ Very informative, as always.
post #1247 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

I would disagree with your first point - the differences in quality between a corrected grain upper and fine French calf will be clear to most consumers, as will the justification for one being more expensive than the other.

Oh really? What do you think corrected grain leather is? No need to read Golding or Thornton or Swaysland, Plucknett, Bordoli, et al...just read the words.

Technically, Scotch grain is corrected grain. Russia leather (hatch grain) is corrected grain. Patent is corrected grain. "Kudu" is corrected grain. Is/was that clear to you? Do you think calf skin comes off the animal textured like that? These are not natural grain surfaces--they have been "corrected."

And any leather with an opaque finish is corrected grain....and a lot of calf is finished. Any leather that isn't aniline dyed, with natural wax finish is "corrected."

And what is quality in a leather? Is it the glitter? Or the density and evenness of the corium? Tight grain with minimal 'hair cell." A corrected grain leather could be a very good calf skin.
Quote:
XYZ may do things that way, and certainly there are two Northampton firms that make a point of using every inch of hide, but above the lower end of the market, your description does not really hold good, and there is a clear and inverse correlation between price and the number of uppers that are produced from a single hide. I know this having observed the process. 

And yet over and over again, on this forum we see very high end RTW shoes with artifacts and problems with creasing that can only be attributed to cutting from less than prime leather.

--
Edited by DWFII - 8/5/14 at 7:12am
post #1248 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

Nearly all the Northampton makers are in effect manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, with their own bricks and mortar shops, besides selling on-line and through other shops. That is the only way of staying in business.

Getting double what they 'should' be getting seems a slightly quaint way of looking at things - they are just businesses like any other, making things to sell as best they can.

The evidence says different. If there are better ways and better materials and you're aware of them but don't take advantage of them...or can't, by virtue of "business" consideration... "as best they can" becomes meaningless garble. Public relations-speak. Propaganda.

There is a "decision tree" that results when a company decides to make profit Job One. Any company has to make a choice...and every company does...whether to make shoes or make money.

Because it is not possible to do both.

It is really as simple as what takes precedence--quality or the bottom line. It is a business decision.

It is a business decision to cut four pairs of shoes from a hide that rightfully would support only one pair--cut only from prime. It is a business decision to use thinner and lower quality insole leather (if leather is even used). It is a business decision to use celastic toe stiffeners because they are easier and faster to mount. It is a business decision to convert to GY because it is faster, cheaper and requires few if any real shoemakers to operate the machines. It is a business decision that makes people as much an interchangeable part as the machines they service. That deliberately...as a matter of policy...gets rid of skilled workers in favour of a less demanding and less expensive workforce (which includes machines).

These are all business decisions and they all serve the bottom line--maximizing profit, making money. Nowhere in any of this does the notion of quality enter in as a determining factor in the decision. It cannot.

And every decision made in the service of maximizing profit, evokes and calls forth another decision just like the previous one--the conversion to GY dictates that a high quality insole is no no longer needed. And there is no way to justify "better than necessary" if it increases the cost of production. Any insole used can be, and will be, thinner and of lower quality than the comparable insole in a bespoke shoe. Ultimately thinner leads to even thinner and lower quality leads to leatherboard. Celastic toe stiffeners lead to celastic heel stiffeners. Cheap, pre-stacked heel blocks leads to even cheaper stacks that combine leather with leatherboard. And eventually, entirely leatherboard heel block.

And the manufacturers know all this. They know that the quality has been dumbed down to "adequate." "Good enough for government work." They'd be poor businessmen if they didn't.

But once you know, it is pretense and self-deception to suggest that you are "doing the best you can." Or that you make "the finest shoes in Elbonia...."

At every turn the choices come down to quality or cost, and the manufacture will always choose materials and techniques that maximize profit--it's a business decision. And the business of business is to make money.

Ideally...when a bespoke maker understands his market, the choices being made are starkly different. The decision tree of the shoemaker is starkly at odds with the "business model." At every turn the choice comes down to quality or cost. And the bespoke maker will always choose quality. Because the business of the bespoke maker is making shoes.

You can parrot the company line about "finest leathers" all you want but in any given true calf skin there is no more than one pair of prime vamps quarters and counters. It bears repeating that "finest" and "quality" are about more than where the leather was produced or what was paid. It is about recognizing what is prime and what is not and never deceiving yourself into thinking that placing and clicking just one corner of one quarter in the shoulder is best practices.

--
Edited by DWFII - 8/5/14 at 7:26am
post #1249 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Handmadeshoes View Post

Here we go again,

Maybe, given the title of the thread, we should all take photos of our welts or our welt work. And then Isbister and like minded individuals can do a show and tell about where the welt came from and how it was prepared and what thread, or cement more likely, they used to mount it into the shoe. And then Roger and like minded individuals (plenty of cross-overs there) can make simpering remarks about how "killer" it is.

[And yes, I realize that most of the aforementioned wouldn't have anything to contribute--never having made welt themselves...but given the ignorance that they currently insist on parading here, do they really have anything significant to contribute now?]

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Edited by DWFII - 8/5/14 at 7:22am
post #1250 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

By jove you're quite right - round and round it goes. Even down to the same quotations on occasion.

Repetition is all that gets through to sleepyheads who aren't paying attention (and have no desire to put forth that much effort) to what other, more objectively knowledgeable, people have to say.
Quote:
Still, it's fun to read - somehow, the more I have read a certain person trying to convince everyone of his point of view, the less I feel inclined to believe it. No doubt it works the other way round too.

I'm not trying to convince you of my point of view--I'm speaking to people who have open minds and want to learn. You aren't the only one in this thread...although I'm sure you think you are.

As for being "less inclined'...I can't say I'm surprised. In my experience, people who form their opinions in a fog of ignorance, spoon-fed hearsay, and speculation are never "inclined" to accept the objective facts. They become comfortable under that warm blanket of fog and self-deception.

"You know nothing, Jon Snow."
post #1251 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


The evidence says different. If there are better ways and better materials and you're aware of them but don't take advantage of them...or can't, by virtue of "business" consideration... "as best they can" becomes meaningless garble. Public relations-speak. Propaganda.

There is a "decision tree" that results when a company decides to make profit Job One. Any company has to make a choice...and every company does...whether to make shoes or make money.

Because it is not possible to do both.

...
--

 

I'm not going to answer all your points because I have a feeling your trying to goad me, and it doesn't work. Also the effort you put into denigrating any way or view other than your own seems way OTT. It surprises me how you can do any shoe-making, because you're on here all the time.

 

Anyway, from what you say, since the firms I have been buying shoes from all these years - Crocketts, EG, Trickers, Alfred Sargent, even Loakes - whose shoes I like and that have never let me down or collapsed into mush around my feet (surprisingly so, if I am to take on board some of your views), firms who have allowed me to inspect their operations in some detail, seem on the whole to be trading profitably, it appears from what you say that all these years I must really have been walking around with cardboard boxes on my feet. Dear dear dear. I suppose everyone has their own ideas about suitable footwear - for some it's a GY welted cardboard box, for the next man it's ostrich-skin cowboy boots with pretty pink flamingoes sewn on.

post #1252 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

I'm not going to answer all your points because I have a feeling your trying to goad me, and it doesn't work. Also the effort you put into denigrating any way or view other than your own seems way OTT. It surprises me how you can do any shoe-making, because you're on here all the time.

The only thing I denigrate is self-righteous ignorance--pretense, posturing.

I'm semi-retired and currently have a student. Which makes me wonder how you find time to post the horse-feathers you post...??
Quote:
Anyway, from what you say, since the firms I have been buying shoes from all these years - Crocketts, EG, Trickers, Alfred Sargent, even Loakes - whose shoes I like and that have never let me down or collapsed into mush around my feet (surprisingly so, if I am to take on board some of your views), firms who have allowed me to inspect their operations in some detail, seem on the whole to be trading profitably, it appears from what you say that all these years I must really have been walking around with cardboard boxes on my feet. Dear dear dear. I suppose everyone has their own ideas about suitable footwear - for some it's a GY welted cardboard box, for there next man its ostrich-skin cowboy boots with pretty pink flamingoes sewn on.

I have never expressed any such views. Again you're fantasizing...like many of your fellows. Post a link to any post where I said your shoes would collapse or turn to mush or explode or any of the other hysterical accusations made to defend the indefensible.

Shoemaking is shoemaking...even if sometimes it's bootmaking. (And as far as that goes I'm a bespoke shoemaker. Do you even know what that means? ).

Speculation, ignorance, and talking out of your ass, is not--not shoemaking...not even close.
post #1253 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

 

I'm not going to answer all your points because I have a feeling your trying to goad me, and it doesn't work. Also the effort you put into denigrating any way or view other than your own seems way OTT. It surprises me how you can do any shoe-making, because you're on here all the time.

 

Anyway, from what you say, since the firms I have been buying shoes from all these years - Crocketts, EG, Trickers, Alfred Sargent, even Loakes - whose shoes I like and that have never let me down or collapsed into mush around my feet (surprisingly so, if I am to take on board some of your views), firms who have allowed me to inspect their operations in some detail, seem on the whole to be trading profitably, it appears from what you say that all these years I must really have been walking around with cardboard boxes on my feet. Dear dear dear. I suppose everyone has their own ideas about suitable footwear - for some it's a GY welted cardboard box, for the next man it's ostrich-skin cowboy boots with pretty pink flamingoes sewn on.

 



Well said and spot on.
post #1254 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


 Any company has to make a choice...and every company does...whether to make shoes or make money.

Because it is not possible to do both.


--

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


...
I have never expressed any such views. Again you're fantasizing...like many of your fellows. Post a link to any post where I said your shoes would collapse or turn to mush or explode or any of the other hysterical accusations made to defend the indefensible.
 

 

That is the clear implication of your many posts in this thread. You said as much above - if the company is making a profit, its shoes cannot be shoes.

 

 

 


Speculation, ignorance, and talking out of your ass, is not--not shoemaking...not even close.
 

I am compelled to note your frequent references to arses. Bit odd, that...:smarmy:

post #1255 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

That is the clear implication of your many posts in this thread. You said as much above - if the company is making a profit, its shoes cannot be shoes.

I don't know what that has to do with anything but I don't think I said that. I was clearly talking about what the goals were...explicitly said that several times...and what choices they were making. Shoes are a vehicle for making money for such companies. It could just as easily be cardboard boxes. You just need to sharpen your reading and thinking skills.

In this case...with no real, objective knowledge or authenticity to back you up ...."implication" is just another word for fantasy.
Quote:
I am compelled to note your frequent references to arses. Bit odd, that...mwink%5B1%5D.gif

Seems like you're more focused on arses than I am...for me it was just a figure of speech. For you it seems to be a reason for living.

Why does this stuff always come from newbies!? And know nothing newbies at that?
post #1256 of 1788

@Handmadeshoes @DWFII - My experience on the business side of things is in the wholesale and retailer model, and of course, in the much maligned, but nonetheless important, marketing!  The direct-to-consumer model I have very limited experience of, and bespoke shoes, I have no experience in - I don't even own a pair, though, maybe I will sometime.

 

I've always been an advocate of RTW for one very important reason that has nothing to do with quality (though that is important to me), or value (also, important to me.)  It's in the design.  I am an indifferent designer, and very often, I see something that is pretty amazing, that I would not have thought of myself.  And I think that it's fair for me to pay for that wonderful surprise.  Most recently, I bought a pair of deadstock Visvim mocassins that are unlike anything else I've seen.  And before that, I bought some Heschungs which marry a mocassin casual ankle boot in a way I would not have thought of.  Even for Viberg Boots, with which Styleforum business arrangement, I often see other retailers do makeups that blow my mind.  This benefit may not be as evident in someone with more conservative, classic tastes, but it is nevertheless there.  There are regularly Edward Green Galway makeups that I would not have thought of, and which I think are really excellent.  

 

In my experience, no retailer sells at less than keystone, which is a 100% markup.  This low of a markup really only works for items that don't go on discount, or don't generally make it to discount, and have a high sell through rate.  I've seen markups creep up in the last decade or so, from a 110-120% markup, to a 120-150% markup. ime, a lot of this has to do with the increasing uncertainty of the market, a large fraction of consumers trained to wait for ridiculout seasonal markdowns, and the increased overheads from webstores, or at least a website, which are, for many businesses, now a necessity rather than something optional.  And yes, someone is paying for free shipping and free returns - you the consumer.  And it doesn't take too many exchanges for a transaction to become unprofitable for a retailer.  I laugh everytime someone complaints that 20GBP high shipping cost for a pair of shoes from the UK. Try shipping a big box holding a shoebox from the UK using DHL, and you'll see why.  And you have to be doing pretty good volume to get the shipping discounts.  So, just to do some quick arithmetic, that means that a pair of $1K shoes, retail, costs the retailer about 450 wholesale.  The wholesaler also has to make a living.  I'm going to guess that those shoes cost, maybe $300, to make, total?  Does that seem about right, @Handmadeshoes?  Also remember that a wholesaler has a ton of overhead which which to contend, with employees from sales reps to production managers to the costs of manning a booth at tradeshows.  I know a fair number of niche designers, and while some of them are comfortable, none of them are balling it up in private jets with the Cristal flowing, and quite a number of them do side gigs (designing house lines for department stores, for example) in order to make ends meet.

 

I suspect that bespoke prices would go up significantly once a bespoke shoemaker decides to do any trunk show tours at all.  The cost of hotel suites for trunk shoes start at around $1K (USD) per night, and go up from there, precipitously.  Event spaces are even more expensive, particularly on weekends.  And I suspect that most bespoke customers are accustomed to high quality, easily accessible hotels, nice whiskey, etc..., and that a Quality Inn near JFK would not really cut it for them.  And then there is the publicity that is needed in order to make the tours worth the while.  A bespoke shoemaker might not be able to split his time between actually making shoes, and calling his client list, getting into local periodicals and blogs, fielding questions on social media, etc...

 

Anyway, like @Handmadeshoes, I just wanted to provide a little context about all that necessary stuff that you are paying for other than just the product and the labor, when you buy anything.

post #1257 of 1788

@DWFII , come on, you shouldn't be so easily wound up like this... your experience and knowledge of the bespoke making of shoes is pretty much unparalled here and you have no need to prove that to anyone. But at the same time, I do think you go rather too far in attacking those involved in the RTW shoe business. You don't need to do this. There are plenty of very committed, experienced and knowledgable people working in Northampton, who do what they do very well. I don't think anyone would dispute that this isn't as skillful and does not produce results that are of the peak of quality produced by the bespoke shoemaker. But at their best, they produce quite lovely and serviceable shoes that, with proper care, will last many years. For those that know, yes, the Goodyear method is not the epitome of quality shoemaking. Of industrial methods, Blake Rapid is better. And neither will be able to emulate the fit and look of a bespoke shoe produced by a master. But they are still several steps above the throwaway culture of clothing that dominates the malls and high streets.

 

@Isbister, I don't know who you are, but it seems that, whatever your background and knowledge, you have entered this thread with the express purpose of winding @DWFII up. It's really not very productive, is it?

post #1258 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

@DWFII
, come on, you shouldn't be so easily wound up like this... your experience and knowledge of the bespoke making of shoes is pretty much unparalled here and you have no need to prove that to anyone.

Well I thank you for your concern. But I'm not really wound up. I'm 68 years old and have paid my dues--I get impatient with poseurs and the obvious...as you mentioned...trolling. I'm generally fine as long as it's just one individual. But when it becomes a feeding frenzy of smug self-righteous and deliberately cultivated ignorance, the only thing I know to do is call a spade a spade. No mincing of words. There's enough pretense in the posts these people make, I don't feel like I need to add to it--just the contrary.

Quote:
But at the same time, I do think you go rather too far in attacking those involved in the RTW shoe business. You don't need to do this.


I think you're misreading this. I don't attack the RTW makers...not specifically. I don't attack any makers specifically. My reservations are with consumer culture...which fosters ignorance, pretense, and banality, in my opinion....in general. I just happen to know the shoe Trade more intimately than the auto industry, for instance. I also lament the dumbing down of Traditional Highland Single Malt whisky and the selling out of many of the great old brands to Diego (sp.?).
Quote:
There are plenty of very committed, experienced and knowledgable people working in Northampton, who do what they do very well. I don't think anyone would dispute that this isn't as skillful and does not produce results that are of the peak of quality produced by the bespoke shoemaker. But at their best, they produce quite lovely and serviceable shoes that, with proper care, will last many years. For those that know, yes, the Goodyear method is not the epitome of quality shoemaking. Of industrial methods, Blake Rapid is better. And neither will be able to emulate the fit and look of a bespoke shoe produced by a master. But they are still several steps above the throwaway culture of clothing that dominates the malls and high streets.

Depends on your perspective. If you were a bespoke maker who had spent over 40 years not only learning and perfecting your skills, but conscientiously and dedicatedly trying to protect and preserve the knowledge, you'd be a little suspicious of the direction taken by the manufacturing sector. And just as importantly, the misinformation being promulgated....because preserving and protecting isn't just archiving the knowledge and hugging it to your chest. It's about educating and informing.

That there are good shoes being made in Northampton (and elsewhere) I have no doubt. Never said otherwise.

Are they overpriced? Some of them are.

Are they over-hyped? Almost certainly...in every case.

Are there potential problems that the consumer is not aware of because they've been sold the "bill of goods" that GY is as "good as" ...or even, as recent jesters have asserted, "better than" ...hand welted? Yes there are.

Are your shoes going to explode? I have never said that. (I hate false accusations--it's childishly petty and arrogant if only because it says that truth doesn't matter).

Are they made to the same standards of quality and for the same reasons as bespoke shoes? NO!

Do the manufactures care about shoes and shoemaking and the Traditions of shoemaking the way most bespoke makers do? I don't think so...if they did, they'd be making shoes by hand themselves. It's a way to make money, that's the most of it for most of them.

Does it make sense to come to a forum like Style Forum, that is ostensibly dedicated to excellence and quality, and proselytize for the mundane and marginal? Again, I don't think so. It's like coming to the shoemaking threads whining about vegan issues.

IMO.
Quote:
Isbister, I don't know who you are, but it seems that, whatever your background and knowledge, you have entered this thread with the express purpose of winding DWFII up. It's really not very productive, is it?

There's nothing new in that and nothing that I haven't pointed out...watch that you don't get "wound up" about it. happy.gif

--
Edited by DWFII - 8/5/14 at 10:55am
post #1259 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
 

@DWFII , come on, you shouldn't be so easily wound up like this... your experience and knowledge of the bespoke making of shoes is pretty much unparalled here and you have no need to prove that to anyone. But at the same time, I do think you go rather too far in attacking those involved in the RTW shoe business. You don't need to do this. There are plenty of very committed, experienced and knowledgable people working in Northampton, who do what they do very well. I don't think anyone would dispute that this isn't as skillful and does not produce results that are of the peak of quality produced by the bespoke shoemaker. But at their best, they produce quite lovely and serviceable shoes that, with proper care, will last many years. For those that know, yes, the Goodyear method is not the epitome of quality shoemaking. Of industrial methods, Blake Rapid is better. And neither will be able to emulate the fit and look of a bespoke shoe produced by a master. But they are still several steps above the throwaway culture of clothing that dominates the malls and high streets.

 

@Isbister, I don't know who you are, but it seems that, whatever your background and knowledge, you have entered this thread with the express purpose of winding @DWFII up. It's really not very productive, is it?

 

A more balanced response than I have become used to receiving on this thread, perhaps some semblance of sanity at last.

 

I have no interest in winding up DWFII (or anyone else), but with DWFII it is largely self-initiated, I could go on but it will just wind him up.

 

I'm quite interested in Blake as it gives a rather trimmer profile to the shoe, but it's almost unheard of in Northampton. Oddly (perhaps) there is a firm in Derbyshire that makes very traditional boots using Blake methods and fairly antique machinery. I'm not convinced Blake is fundamentally as watertight as Goodyear, although the way this firm makes boots, there is no way water will penetrate.

post #1260 of 1788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isbister View Post

A more balanced response than I have become used to receiving on this thread, perhaps some semblance of sanity at last.

I have no interest in winding up DWFII (or anyone else), but with DWFII it is largely self-initiated, I could go on but it will just wind him up.

From post #1191 through to this post itself you have been pushing and pushing with no grounds to push. No reason.

In post number 1191 you admit to not having read through the thread. Yet you decide to respond my comments (in response to a question by someone else) challengingly.

In post #1193 you call me paranoid. My response was mild.

In post #1197 you assert that you know more about shoemaking than I do...mostly because you took a tour one time. Again, my response was mild and even slightly amused.

Yes, it went downhill from there...mostly because you took a tour one time and decided that was all you needed to do to pose as an expert. And you've steadfastly and categorically stated that no amount of facts can, or will, sway you. Asserted that lack of experience or knowledge is no impediment to self-righteousness.

Ipso facto.
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