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Handwelted vs Goodyear welted shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by taffy, Jul 5, 2016.

Is there a noticeable difference between handwelted shoes and goodyear-welted shoes, either in look

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    71.4%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. taffy

    taffy Active Member

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    Is there a noticeable difference between handwelted shoes and goodyear-welted shoes, either in look or feel?
    If going bespoke/mtm, is hand-welted construction worth the extra charge?
     
  2. Astaroth

    Astaroth Well-Known Member

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    Hand welting just means that the sole and uppers have been stitched together by hand rather than by machine.

    There are long debates which arent worth reopening on if "goodyear" welt is simply the use of the machine patented by Mr Goodyear or is broader and covers all shoes where the layers of leather and positioning of the stiching etc match that which the goodyear machine produces. You will see some sell "hand goodyear welted" - ie same construction but handsewn not machine sewn.

    In theory there doesnt have to be the greatest difference between them however in practice there can be other construction difference that are probably more noticable than the what did the stitching. You may find they use thicker insoles, cork plates rather than a glue/cork pulp mix etc in hand sewn shoes but there isnt any reason why they cannot also be used with machine stitching.

    You need to speak to the companies involved and see what the differences are introduced by upgrading. If its just whats doing the stitching is it worth it? Depends what you place value on. Do you like the idea that a person has spent 45 minutes carefully stitching the sole onto your shoe trying to ensure its perfect or is a machine doing it in under a minute perfectly ok for you? How much value do you put on craft?

    If its better materials all round then it may be an easier question to answer (or more difficult for some)
     
  3. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Well-Known Member

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    This is not correct. In fact, none of the above is even close to being correct. Handwelting has literally NOTHING to do with how the sole is attached to the welt. I dont mean to be rude, but far too often people offer "facts" on this forum, usually trying to be helpful, that are inaccurate.

    To the OP: See this thread, it has all of the information you need. Ask questions, decide for yourself if Handwelting is better than Goodyear.

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/412909/shoemaking-techniques-and-traditions-these-foolish-things
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Astaroth

    Astaroth Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to say that everything I've said is wrong then at least quote me correctly.... where did I say welting was how the sole is attached to the welt?

    Secondly, its remarkably interesting how the linked thread is really talking about how the shoes upper/sole are stitched... almost sounds familiar
     
  5. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    To answer your last question first...the whole point of GY is to make shoes fast and easy...for mass production. It was never intended for bespoke work. So, if you're paying the premium for bespoke shoes, GY welted seems a bit counter-productive if not a misrepresentation.

    Until injection molding came along (another fast and easy method for mass production), all low end shoes were cement construction or GY. Thing is, GY relies on cement to hold it together. Without the cement, a GY welted shoe (as it is currently implemented) could not be made. So there really isn't much difference--GY is, and always has been, the go-to technique (and distinguishing aspect) of cheap shoes.

    Hand welting is an old, old, Traditional technique. It evolved over centuries to produce the best, most reliable method of making a shoe. It requires a fair amount of skill and energy and dedication and commitment and time.

    GoodYear was invented to circumvent all that skill and that dedication, etc..

    To associate goodyear with handwelted...even if only as a result of misunderstanding or misinterpretation... profanes and diminishes the Traditions and the skill and even the vision--the reasons why the techniques and materials evolved in the first place--of those who have dedicated their lives to making shoes. Profanes and diminishes the whole notion of "quality" or "excellence" as regards shoes.

    And it defies logic.

    As for whether talking, much less thinking, about these issues is worthwhile...it depends on what kind of person you are--on your level of curiosity and your respect for truth and the efforts of others. Depends, ultimately, on a person's respect for quality and, conversely but just as importantly, their tolerance for deception and indifference.

    If whether a high end suit is made of wool or polyviscose, silk or rayon; canvased or fused; hand pick stitched or machine pick stitched makes a difference, perhaps these issues are worth considering. Because the contrast between GY and HW on shoes is every bit as stark and as significant.

    For those who dismiss such considerations, StyleForum seems a major misfit.


    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  6. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Well-Known Member

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    See above...
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    But whether it be GY or HW, it is welt and welting that is being discussed. Everyone knows that.

    And welting is the point of attachment for the sole...for the outsole. Everyone knows that, as well.

    In fact, you do say "Hand welting just means that the sole and uppers have been stitched together by hand rather than by machine." Which is true for hand welting--the insole, upper and, ultimately, the outsole are stitched together. But not true for GY--the upper and the insole are not stitched together.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  8. Andy57

    Andy57 Well-Known Member

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    Why is this a poll? Why do people start polls for nonsense like this?
     
  9. Astaroth

    Astaroth Well-Known Member

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    Certainly agree in the majority of cases but I thought some higher end GY shoes dont use a glued canvas feather but instead are stitched.

    Please note that I am not belittling the effort that goes into hand making shoes nor denying that ultimately mechanisation has always been about cost cutting and increasing production capacity.

    PS. Just found a post from last year where you, I think, appear to acknowledge some makers do construct in this way.
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Not "some"...one. Or at least damn few. Which is why I said "as currently implemented" above. GY originally used a method that relied on stitching to two flaps of leather cut from the insole. One maker (that I know of) still uses that technique, but it was never as strong or reliable or as long lasting as HW. Still isn't, IMO.

    Beyond that, the distinctions...with regard to function, materials, reliability, stability, philosophy... are not trivial. Cannot be waved away.

    Even something as seemingly inconsequential as the difference between the way the stitch itself is formed and "locked" is critical and important. The wax...or lack thereof...is critically important. Even the distance between stitches is important.

    I have seen the results of a machine that purports to channel and feather an insole and inseam in a manner superficially indistinguishable from HW. An advancement and a boon to all mankind, I'm sure. But no machine can function with a wax that is comparable to shoemaker's wax. No machine can even make a shoemaker's stitch. And no machine can stitch with the variable length of stitch or precision required to properly inseam a narrow toe.

    And so it goes.

    Every significant aspect of GY fails when compared to HW, Every significant aspect.

    There is no "just". It cannot be dismissed or waved away.
     
  11. taffy

    taffy Active Member

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    So its established that HW is longer lasting and more comfortable than GY

    What are some obvious cosmetic differences between goodyear and hand-welted shoes, from the outside?
    Could you share some pictures?
     
  12. Astaroth

    Astaroth Well-Known Member

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    Your post brings up some interesting considerations; what truly cannot be mechanised -v- what hasnt been mechanised for some other reason (lack of value in the difference, increased production cost even with mechanisation or even an intentional weak point in the product/planned obsolesence).

    Unfortunately I don't have the technical knowledge to even begin to play devils advocate to explore it and it would take the post even further off topic for the OP
     
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Leaving aside the issue of HW needing...requiring...a relatively better quality insole than GY (and manufacturers having been quick to take advantage of that), comfort is not necessarily connected to whether it is HW or not. Comfort is a function of fit.

    And "longer lasting" is dependent on a number of factors such as how often you wear the shoes and under what circumstances, as well as body chemistry and care..

    But intrinsically, HW, if done correctly and mindfully, is stronger, tighter, more reliable, more stable, and usually one of the last places even minor failure occurs.

    Visually there is little difference and certainly not any that the layman could discern.

    Like fool's gold.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  14. RogerP

    RogerP Well-Known Member

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    No.
     
  15. T4phage

    T4phage Well-Known Member

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    handwelted
    (with a carved insole
    instead of cut flaps
    and turned)
    is much much
    moar flexible
    than a gemmed
    goodyear..

    just try to flex
    a carved insole
    vs
    an insole with
    gemming stuck on

    it is logical really

    also, i believe
    (everything being equal)
    that a handwelted shoe
    will be lighter
    because there is
    less filler
    (and moar killer)
     

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