Originally Posted by dieworkwear
Many thanks for taking the time to write that, DW.
1. Is it fair to say most of the shoes celebrated on this forum are made with an insole substantial enough to form a footbed? Or no?
2. Is there a reason you believe that wearing a pre-worn insole - one already with an imprint - will lead to medical problems? I understand your point about leather forming an imprint, one that can't be reversed, but do you have any reason to believe this will lead to medical problems?
3. Similarly, is there any specific study you've read about the foot diseases matter?
4. Lastly, I would have thought that the imprint formed in the corkbed would be the bigger issue, but I also imagine that this can be reformed with enough heat and pressure.
I hope I'm not coming off as flippant here. I've studied a bit of statistics through epidemiology (I don't study epidemiology, but that field is one of the better ones to learn statistics). I admit I find it difficult to see how any of these things can be proven (for reasons too long and complicated to get into here). I understand how they could work theoretically, but I don't know if you're making claims on theory, or something you know for a fact. Again, not trying to be flippant or confrontational, just trying to clarify.
Originally Posted by dieworkwear
I see what DW meant now by footbed.
In that case, isn't this a moot issue? I think few shoes are made with a thick leather footbed. Most shoes talked about on this forum use cork, no?
Originally Posted by emptym
DWW, I think you're right that cork shifts to some degree. In fact, I imagine leather insoles/footbeds will reshape to some degree, but I think they would only compress in areas that haven't been compressed.
TL0, DW hasn't made shoes in a vacuum for 40 years. He's made them for people. People have bones and diseases. As a good shoe/bootmaker, he would be expected to know things about things closely related to shoe/bootmaking.
Chogall, I think the first part's disagreement is caused simply by how we're using the terms. In fact, it seems as though DW was using it differently from how I was even. (He seems to have been saying the footbed is the impression of the foot that forms in any material.)
In any case, my point when distinguishing the two was that the part where the foot rests in the shoe gets formed to the foot and one can insert another layer of something (ex: gel by Dr. Scholls or leather and foam by Tacco) but the part that lies underneath that insert will still be formed to another's foot.
So I think we agree on the rest (flip flop, etc.)
That has been my understanding of the term "footbed." Your foot forms it's own bed in whatever medium it is provided, be it a heavy leather insole in a hand-welted shoe, a thin leather insole with cork underneath it in a Goodyear-welted shoe, and so on. Hence, two people with the same pair of shoes, will have different footbeds.
DWF doesn't deal with Goodyear-welted shoes, so his (highly relevant) experience is applicable to hand-welted shoes with thick leather insoles that a hold-fast can be carved from for inseaming (as opposed to the gemming that is stuck to the bottom for Goodyear-welted shoes). The insoles of hand-welted shoes are best cut from the shoulder area, and are quite thick (~9 irons, but upwards of 10-11 irons as well, which is close to 1/4 inch). The best shoulder leather for insoles has a very long loose fiber character, as opposed to a densely compressed fiber character.
The footbed that results from Goodyear-welted shoes, I would be willing to bet a lot of money on, has absolutely nothing to do with the leather insole. The leather insoles in high quality Goodyear-welted shoes are very densely fibered cuts (not sure where they are cut from), and are probably around half of the thickness of a hand-welted insole. I'd be willing to bet that if you were to lay an insole from a Goodyear-welted shoe flat on the floor and stand on it for a prolonged period of time (not that anyone would ever do this), it would form very little if any impression. Rather, the cork underneath it is what is being shaped. I agree with everyone above that the cork will be somewhat willing to reshape with a new wearer, and for that matter, when the cork is replaced during resoling, you may be able to form a new footbed to a certain extent. However, I think that the insole in a Goodyear-welted shoe does form a bit of a "memory" of sorts, in that it "hardens" in place to the shape of the wearer's foot over time and contact with salty perspiration (think of it in a similar way that a belt ends up with lasting impressions in it and it starts to take on a permanent curve after being worn for a long period of time). But, I don't think that's a result of the fiber character that is desirable from hand-welted insoles. Rather, it is the entire piece of leather that is bending and shaping instead of just the fibers themselves. Since Goodyear-welted shoes have a void underneath them that is filled with cork, the insole will have more room for movement. Thus, I don't think that the original wearer's impression will ever be completely removed, even with replacing the cork. In well made hand-welted shoes, there is little or no void under the insole, so the hard outsole is butted up against the bottom of the insole, not allowing movement.
I think DWF's description of what happens with hand-welted leather insoles makes perfect sense. Similarly, the notion that having your foot improperly aligned inside the shoe due to unnatural positioning probably has a lot of merit. I can't vouch for the bones of the feet, but I can vouch for the same concept when it comes to knees and hips. Osteoarthritis starts to manifest in middle aged people after accumulated years of improper walking or gait. Also, years of accumulated impact on the joints starts to manifest as Osteoarthritis in middle age (genetics do play a role in how soon it can start). In people with sports injuries, it can set in far quicker. Once you start to feel pain in a knee or hip, it is often too late to do anything about it, because it has been a slow process that has taken decades to set in. Poor posture doesn't bother you when you are young either, but when you are old, accumulated effects start to set in and cause back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, etc.
Edited by MoneyWellSpent - 8/28/13 at 7:36am