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Goodyear welted shoes - what's the point?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I do know Goodyear is good. But what exactly is the point? OK, I buy them, I wear them, then I re-sole them (who can do it and how much does it cost? I do not think there is anyone in my country who can do it properly. That means I have to ship them to UK. That costs. Also, how much does the re-soling cost?). I get a new sole. But the upper leather remains the same. No matter how good care you take - it still wears. So after some years and heavy investment into re-soling I have shoes with new soles and old tops.

On the other hand, If I buy cemented sole Barkers (and maybe with rubber soles) for the same 100 GBP - the sole will last longer than the leather Goodyear welted one, and the top will last the same. It seems to me cemented rubber soles are more cost-efficient.

So what is the point?

Also, can anyone please tell me how much re-soling of, say, Barkers shoes cost and who can do it properly?

 

Thank you.

post #2 of 28
The point is not to save money. It is cheaper to buy cemented shoes.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

What is the point then? Comfort? Image? Looks?

post #4 of 28
If you're talking about an ugly shoe made out of cheap leather, it makes no sense to Goodyear welt it. It's just going to look shittier over time, and you'll have to pay as much to resole it as you did for the shoe itself.

If you've got a nice shoe, made out of leather that will look better and gain more character over time, you might want it to last longer. Then you might be willing to pay a couple hundred dollars to maintain it. But it's about respecting and preserving a beautiful item, not saving money. If you want to spend less money on shoes, just buy cheap shoes and treat them essentially as disposable items.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

How much does resoling cost, and who can do it? Is it better to send them back to the manufacturer (and do they all do it - Loake, Barkers, Herrings?).

 

Is leather GY welted shoe always the best option? I mean, why not have dainite rubber sole, especially for shoes which will see various outdoor conditions? It will last forever on good shoes - no need to resole.

post #6 of 28
Full resole can cost around $100 if done locally (e.g., B. Nelson) or around $400 (e.g., G&G, EG, JL) via the factory.

Some would argue that HW is the 'best option' but you should read through the leather and shoe care thread to develop a better understanding.

You can stick with Barkers or even shoes from Payless if you want to just wear shoes and not worry about longevity. If you work in certain fields, do business with certain individuals, or fancy shoes for their proper fit, craftsmanship, or quality of materials, then you'll understand the desire for quality clothing.

Rubber vs. leather sole is a preference. I wear leather soles because rubber soles on my smart shoes are just not congruent for me. I resole shoes with no distress to my wallet or my psyche and I actually get some gratification that I have worn my shoes and they have experienced enough usage to warrant the price I paid for them.
post #7 of 28

^ All good advice. Once a shoe costs more than a replacement sole, it makes sense to use a goodyear welt. Goodyear welts are not intrinsically desirable; as you point out, in a shoe that costs less than $100, they are not cost-effective. However, if your shoe costs more than $100, then a replaceable sole makes economic sense. The reason that SF members favor goodyear welts is because they like expensive shoes. If you want to save money, the best advice I can give you is to close your browser now and never come back to this forum.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you all (especially DpprDr) for good advise. I am trying to understand how things work.

coldsalmon, I do want to save money so that I can buy enough good shoes and have them all re-soled, so I will probably be coming back :-)

post #9 of 28
If you are not a 'shoe collector' but just want some good dress shoes to wear whatever the weather conditions are, and if you do not rotate much, then goodyear from a quality repectable maker is the best way to go. The leather of the upper is usually made with quality leather that only gets better with age (must take care of it). So a new sole and an older upper is not a problem esthetically.

Now, if you have plenty of shoes to rotate, and live in a place where rain isnt too consistent, and want some 'flair' to your quality shoes, then I would consider cemented shoes which are far more comfortable, flexible, and if you are like me, I prefer the super thin look of the sole rather than bulky look of the GY. The cemented sole will not last as longer (but it will not come off in no way) but I just add a rubber finishing if its starting to bore a hole, and this is after 5 years.

Also, GY soles usually are very basic looking (rounded toe most likely) and this makes all the shoes look very similar as far as sole styling. Cemented shoes on the other hand can vary greatly in the style of the sole and so the upper can be different because of this (chisel toe, almont toe, etc). ONe final consideration IMO is you need to be sure the leather is of good quality, that the sole is leather, and that the shoe is leather lined. Even if it's cemented, make sure that the quality is good and do not settle for cheap shoes. Usually 200$ - 300$ cemented shoes will last a very long time if you have enuogh to rotate. 300$ + + is quality GY construction

smile.gif
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio View Post

[...]

Now, if you have plenty of shoes to rotate, and live in a place where rain isnt too consistent, and want some 'flair' to your quality shoes, then I would consider cemented shoes which are far more comfortable, flexible, and if you are like me, I prefer the super thin look of the sole rather than bulky look of the GY. The cemented sole will not last as longer (but it will not come off in no way) but I just add a rubber finishing if its starting to bore a hole, and this is after 5 years.

[...]

 

Really? Have you ever worn good quality GY shoes?

post #11 of 28

I think that's the buried point: implied quality.  Shoes can be made well or poorly no matter how the sole is affixed.  Goodyear-welting doesn't necessarily mean shoes are excellent, except insofar as it would make little sense for a company to incur the expenses of producing poorly-made GY shoes; that's where the supposition of quality comes from, I suppose.  There is, however, no theoretical upper limit on how well-made a pair of GY shoes can be.  Conversely, there is no lower limit on how poorly one can make a pair of cemented shoes, since all it requires is a sole, an upper, a liner, a tiny bit of structure (e.g. cardboard) and some glue; there is also, I would suggest, a definite upper limit on how well you can make cemented shoes.  I suppose you could make a pair of cemented shoes that never come apart by using aircraft/helmet-grade epoxy resins, but that would merely make the cementing last longer than the shoe.  I suppose you could also make a pair of cemented shoes expertly crafting world-class materials, then gluing the result together, but then the investment in the materials and skill would be wasted when the sole wore out.

 

And somewhere in that intersection of ideas, I think, we arrive at the general perceptions about GY and cemented shoes.  When the very best materials and craft are used, cementing undermines the investment; when cost-cutting is at a premium, labour is the first thing to go, and it's comparatively easy to assemble shoes with glue.

 

Sidenote:

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
 
[...] I just add a rubber finishing if its starting to bore a hole, and this is after 5 years

 

I tried this one at the suggestion of a cobbler I no longer use, and found it direly uncomfortable.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by EliodA View Post

Really? Have you ever worn good quality GY shoes?

I have worn CHURCH brogues but I passed them on as I was not happy with them (more of a style thing). I purchased them second hand with very little wear (so somewhat broken in). It is very much down to what one is used to, but its a fact that quality thin soled shoes (cemented) are more flexible than its GY equals. MOre flexible leather sole along with quality calf skin (or crock or ostrich leg ...) makes for a super comfortable, lightweight flexible shoe. And these equates to comfort. GY need more time to break in, but for my tastes and purposes, it boils down to 'styling'. I do not like a thick sole and the mainly standard stylings they come in (the soles, not the uppers) and I much prefer the very thin, subtle leather sole and this is pretty much only available from cemented shoes (I must point out that I design and wear my own (cement) shoes so I know exactly who and with what materials they are made). A thin sole can be obtained by blake construction too but it's a challange to find someone that replaces these and goes back to my initial point, if you have anough shoes to rotate you will not need it replaced for many many years.
post #13 of 28

Claudio, to be fair, a flexible shoe is only 'super comfortable' for *some* people.  There has to be structure somewhere at the bottom of those pedestrian levers.  If you've got relatively rigid, high-arched feet, a more flexible shoe helps to avoid a raging case of plantar fasciitis; if, however, you've got softer, more flexible feet, you *need* some kind of structure down there, which a shoe with a very thin sole and very little structure can't provide.

 

Second, your insistence that GY shoes cannot be flexible is puzzling.  I've had a bunch of GY boat shoes, and I could practically wrap them up into a ball.  It may be true that leather soles on GY shoes need to be a certain thickness for structural purposes, and leather of that thickness is necessarily a bit stiff, but that doesn't mean that the construction method itself is responsible for the stiffness, any more than a cemented construction would prevent one from using a thick, rigid sole if one so desired.

 

You are, of course, perfectly entitled to prefer the style of your own shoes (and in this case, they are are *your* shoes!).  It makes perfect sense that a quality cemented build would afford you all kinds of stylistic latitude; those points are well-taken.  By no means was I suggesting that your own shoes were poorly made; only that the common perceptions and received wisdom about these two methods have some kind of rational basis.


Edited by Suit of Nettles - 5/15/14 at 5:21am
post #14 of 28

I find leather sole shoes are more comfortable because they breathe and when worn in mold to feet better.  I find the good price point for leather shoes to be around US$300.  I have many pairs that have lasted at least 8 years with multiple resoles.  But then again, my resoles cost about $50 for the full bottom and not $100.  

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suit of Nettles View Post

Claudio, to be fair, a flexible shoe is only 'super comfortable' for *some* people.  There has to be structure somewhere at the bottom of those pedestrian levers.  If you've got relatively rigid, high-arched feet, a more flexible shoe helps to avoid a raging case of plantar fasciitis; if, however, you've got softer, more flexible feet, you *need* some kind of structure down there, which a shoe with a very thin sole and very little structure can't provide.

Second, your insistence that GY shoes cannot be flexible is puzzling.  I've had a bunch of GY boat shoes, and I could practically wrap them up into a ball.  It may be true that leather soles on GY shoes need to be a certain thickness for structural purposes, and leather of that thickness is necessarily a bit stiff, but that doesn't mean that the construction method itself is responsible for the stiffness, any more than a cemented construction would prevent one from using a thick, rigid sole if one so desired.

You are, of course, perfectly entitled to prefer the style of your own shoes (and in this case, they are are *your* shoes!).  It makes perfect sense that a quality cemented build would afford you all kinds of stylistic latitude; those points are well-taken.  By no means was I suggesting that your own shoes were poorly made; only that the common perceptions and received wisdom about these two methods have some kind of rational basis.

I do apologies, yes indeed I was refering to leather soled GY and not the construction per se. It really does boil down to personal choice and individual foot structure. My main 'beef' is indeed with GY leather soled shoes, and it's mainly a stylistic one. smile.gif
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