How can you be certain, that damage did not occur when sole and cork were removed?
Gemming was introduced into shoe manufacture in the late 50s and by the mid 60s it had been accepted by virtual all manufactures. If the technique is as disastrous as some here claim, why is bonding failure so rare.
For all those who claim the superiority of hand welting, here is hand welting failure:
I don't say it happens frequently, but it does happen if the shoemaker/firm wants to cut corners, by placing the stitches to wide and/or not pulling them tightly enough.
Let the firm who made those shoes be nameless. They had, maybe four years ago, major problems with their (hand) welting. They might have overcome them now. I haven't seen their products (in the flesh) for quite a while.