Originally Posted by sevenfoldtieguy RTP: I'm pretty sure we are referring to two different things. When the old sole is removed in a resole or recraft, much of the corkbed comes off with it. The remainder of the corkbed is then scraped off of the sole-less shoe. New hot cork (chunky-mayonnaise-like in texture) is then spread over the bottom of the shoe (or bottom of the insole?), and the new outsole is then attached. I guess there is an imprint of the original owners foot on the leather insole that can not be adjusted, accept for B Nelson's specific treatment (stretching to flatten??). In the end though, I think the newly applied corkbed probably does much to create a new "imprint" or mold for whoever wears the shoe after the recraft, whether it be the original owner or new owner.
Could be the case. And again, exactly what they do step by step is something I leave to them.
My thoughts were shared specifically as to the imprint on the insole. My pre-recraft insole imprint has been the same, after the recraft, every time.
A good day to one and all.
Sorry for the late follow up on this discussion, but that's what happens when you are absent for a few days. Regarding the cork and insole replacement during recrafting...
Replacing the cork is standard operating procedure during the recrafting of a Goodyear-welted shoe.
It is important to remember that the presence of cork in Goodyear-welted shoes is first and foremost to serve as a void filler. Goodyear-welted shoes are the product of the Industrial Revolution's impact on the shoe industry. Goodyear-welted shoes weren't invented as an improvement over existing footwear, per se. They were an improvement in that they allowed shoes to be produced much more rapidly, thus bringing down costs (in other words, when Goodyear-welted shoes were first invented, they were the cheap shoes! ) That's why hand-welted and bespoke shoes are still considered (and are) better than Goodyear-welted shoes. In order for machines to accomplish what was previously only done by hand, some modifications had to be made to the manufacturing process. Primarily, the insoles of Goodyear-welted shoes are far thinner, and rather than having a hand carved hold-fast to serve as the foundation for inseam stitching (hand-welted shoes), they have either a very thin leather "feather" or simply glued canvas gemming (Goodyear-welting). The use of the upturned leather "feather" has largely fallen out of favor, though JM Weston still uses it, and has almost completely been replaced by canvas gemming ribs. When Goodyear-welting was first invented, thin upturned leather "feathers" were how they were all made. The "feather" was reinforced by gluing on canvas gemming for added strength, but sometime around WWII, the "feather" was largely eliminated, leaving only the canvas gemming to serve as the stitching point for the inseam.
I say all that to give basis for why cork exists in Goodyear-welted shoes. When the use of upturned "feathers" and subsequently gemming was introduced as the inseam stitching point, it created a rather large void between the insole and the outsole of the shoe. This void is either non-existent or almost non-existent in hand-welted shoes. When this void was created, they had to fill it with something, and through the course of time, cork has become the favored material. Now that technology has progressed, shoes have progressed as well (and not necessarily in a good way). Technology has allowed what we all call "cheap" shoes (cemented, etc.) to become mainstream. This has made Goodyear-welted shoes nice by comparison. Over time, marketing has taken hold and has boosted the "benefits" of cork, making all sorts of claims ranging from insulation from heat and cold to custom comfort by conforming to your feet and even antiseptic properties. Don't get me wrong, I love my Goodyear-welted shoes, and enjoy the feeling of my imprint. However, it is the "cheapening" of shoes during the Industrial Revolution that has made this necessary. Hand-welted shoes have much thicker insoles (preferably cut from shoulder leather) that have an almost "fluffy" grain character that molds to your foot and forms a proper foot bed (see photos below comparing the two types of shoes). They have to be quite thick to allow the shoemaker to carve the hold-fast on the bottom for inseam stitching.
Hand-welted shoe with no void (also see how "fluffy" the grain is?):
Goodyear-welted shoe with visible void (also see how "compressed" the grain is?):
Sorry for the long post, but all this is important for understanding. Replacing the welt is also standard operating procedure during recrafting. This can't be done without removing and replacing the cork.
As for personal experiences with the imprint not changing noticeably after recrafting...
I would never presume to say that your experience isn't correct. In fact, I am sure it is. This experience does vary from person to person and pair to pair. What I am saying, is that the above information has to be digested in order to understand why replacing the cork won't necessarily be noticeable. Remember, It's primary purpose is void filling. After your shoes have been well worn, your insoles have created a "memory" of sorts. The void between the insole and outsole is decreased, because of your weight. Therefore, it takes less cork to fill the void during recrafting. Obviously the factory could force more cork in (which would compress the insole some and remove some of your imprint), but I don't believe that is what they do. They simply fill the void. Any minor change in the compression of the insole would be just that, minor, and it would likely return to it's original state within a wear or two. Also, don't underestimate the unwillingness of the insole to be compressed during replacement of the cork, especially if you don't condition your insoles. They harden over time as a result of drying from age and constant contact with salty perspiration. Eventually they will crack (hopefully after a couple of decades of frequent wear, mind you).
Edited by MoneyWellSpent - 8/26/13 at 7:39am