Hi DW, Thanks for your generous posts over the years. I recently received these hand welted shoes with shell cordovan uppers. You'll note some puckering around the toe inseam. Also, the left shoe is showing some of the inseam stitches themselves. Would you be so kind as to describe the causes of this and what problems I can expect should I decide to keep and wear them?
Other opinions are of course welcome.
The puckering comes from the lasting of the toe -- when you go around the toe, there is excess leather that needs to be 'chased' away from the edge and into the interior of the insole. That can be a fair amount of work and, with a thicker leather, a bit of a challenge, but (obviously) makers know how to do this, as most shoes/boots, including those made from heavier leathers, don't demonstrate this flaw.
More troubling are the visible inseam stitches. This would appear to be the result of two factors -- the length of the stitches and the tightness of each stitch. When you are inseaming around the toe, you have to really crowd the awl holes in the inside portion of the insole, because the stitches get much further apart where they pierce the welt (due to the nature of a curved toe -- the inside curve is much shorter than the outside curve). If you don't do this, the stitches in the welt are long -- in this shoe, I'm guessing the stitches are 1/2 inch long. The best practice is around 1/4" - 1/3". Also, when you inseam, you need to pull the stitches in really hard to tighten the welt and upper down to the insole. Finally, if the toe hasn't been well lasted, there may be a bit of excess material in the toe. All of that combined means it can be a bit challenging to really tighten the welt and upper down while also avoiding tearing through the holdfast.
To me, those grinning stitches makes these shoes unacceptable.