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An interview

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I agree with you although that is the way it was done for many years before the holdfast as such caught on. In some circles, esp. historical circles, it is considered the correct and only way to do it. Also, I would have to look more closely but I doubt that the welt is simply laying on top of the insole. Usually, the inseaming awl emerges at the edge of the insole and often the edge of the insole itself is hammered to provide a quasi-feather into which the welt is snugged.

    I won't defend it on any count. That's not the way I would do it nor do I consider it best practices. But again you need some background and perspective to know what you're looking at.



    I can't imagine what you're talking about. A Goodyear welted inseam is no more entombed than a hand welted inseam. Every point at which a hand inseam would admit moisture...or not...is replicated on a gemmed shoe.

    On the other hand any moisture that enters a Goodyear welted shoe is going to affect the glue. But in similar circumstances, the pitch and rosin that coats and seals a handwelted shoe...including the welt and holdfast...are impervious to the deleterious effects of water.

    On edit...BTW that surface to edge technique is no less strong, if done correctly, than using a holdfast. Again, it wouldn't be the way I would do it but it is the foundational technique for all round closing and the way in which some high-end manufacturers do their forepart plug on split-toe shoes. And, by-the-by, round stitching is considered the strongest type of seam known.

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    And no harm no foul. But I would observe two things...first, and probably most important, you recognize and respect the advantages of the handwelted technique. In other words, you're not in denial or buying into the marketing hype.

    I think one of the things that so bothered me when I first started looking at all these well-lit name brands, was getting on a very well known manufacturers website and seeing the shoes touted as "the finest shoes in England." Marketing hype...especially when one understand that these too are gemmed, and when one further compares them to some of the high-end bespoke makers in St. James Street.

    The second thing is context...again, what is this place, who are its participants? Who is the audience? I suggested that Style Forum is, by reputation (and sometimes self-congratulation), a mecca of those "paragons-of-the-exceptional." This isn't a staff meeting of K-mart employees. Nor do I stand on a soapbox on town's square and rail at passersby.

    I offer my insights to those who...supposedly, mostly, with a few obnoxious exceptions...can appreciate them if they so choose. Those that do, generally...like you...come away a little bit enriched and a little less ignorant even if only about something as inconsequential, in the larger scheme of things, as how their shoes are made.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013


  3. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    ^^ Very nice post.

    Reading such threads has removed the scales from my eyes: I always knew "fashion" brands were a rip off. But not until much more recently did I realise how exaggerated the claims of the so called top "historical shoemakers" really are.
     


  4. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I agree with all of these observations and conclusions, and I can easily see why the marketing strategies of companies such as these would be so bothersome.
     


  5. reidrothchild

    reidrothchild Senior member

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    DWFII,
    Great interview. I always love your posts on here as well. Forgive me asking questions that you've probably already answered elsewhere, but I'd like a bit of practical advice. For someone not yet ready to make the jump from Allen Edmonds to bespoke, what would be a good next step up from Goodyear welted shoes? Is Blake, Blake/Rapid, or Bologna any better? Are there any RTW makers out there whose practices, while perhaps not ideal, you think are at least better than the GY makers?
     


  6. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    reidrothchild, if you're looking to get something hand-welted, but 'reasonably priced', Meermin seems to offer a lot of shoe at their prices. They have several videos of their making on Vimeo. Then again, Meermin attaches its outer soles with Goodyear machines. They do have Norvegese pairs, too.

    It would make for an interesting read if someone deconstructed a pair from Meermin's Linea Maestro line, having a look at what's really inside.
     


  7. reidrothchild

    reidrothchild Senior member

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    Thanks for the recommendation! I was under the impression that their shoes (other than the Norvegesse) were Goodyear welted. After checking their website again, I see that they are "Handwelted Goodyear." I'm totally unfamiliar with that term. Does that still include gemming and glue?
     


  8. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    I asked this question before: the answer is interesting in the context of this thread.

    Meermin apparently left the word "goodyear" in there, because it's associated with quality. The irony being that we shoe geeks are worrying that their hand welting is not hand welting but goodyear welting. But according to someone who has spoken to them, it's what the market associates with "proper" shoes, so they use the contradictory expression to cover all the bases!

    Of course a better explanation would be that they hand welt, but machine sole like a goodyear process. And that's on the Linea Maestro range. The "Classic" range is goodyear welted. Incidentally, the hand welting is done in China. "Made in Spain" is about as accurate as "Made in England" etc.

    I too would be interested to see what's under the skirts of these "hand welted" charmers. I'd also like to see how tidy Vass's are under the surface - the only other reasonably-priced brand I can think of that is supposed to be truly hand made.
     


  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    ^^^

    The trouble is that, deliberately or not, the manufacturers...with the presumably unwitting cooperation of consumers...have so obfuscated the terminology that no one really knows what is being talked about short of actually deconstructing a shoe. Sometimes I suspect it is part of a long term strategy to diminish expectations and further mislead the potential customer. The term "Goodyear" has never been associated with "quality" except in the minds of the marketing people.

    Hand welted is a method by which the welt and the upper are directly attached to a leather insole with a heavy, handmade thread that has been "waxed" with pitch and rosin.

    Goodyear welted is a machine method that attaches the welt and the upper to a linen or canvas strip...known as "gemming"...that is glued to an insole that may or may not be leather.

    Outsoles may be attached by hand sewing or by machine (sometime referred to as Rapid after the machine by the same name) without much prejudice either way as far as quality is concerned although the hand sewn job is often considered the epitome of good work with regard to appearance, if it is done correctly.

    As far as I know the Traditional shoemaking community does not recognize terms such as "Handwelted Goodyear" or "Goodyear outsoling." Or "Goodyear machines" except in the context of inseaming.

    But then I don't recognize "heel counter" or "nose nostril" either. :crackup:
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I think I would prefer Blake/Rapid over Goodyear...provided that it was done on a 6-8 iron (at least) leather insole.

    Trouble is, from what I have heard (from a friend who was looking into manufacturing boots) Blake/Rapid is more expensive set up than Goodyear.

    And FWIW, there are some very good RTW makers out there that use Goodyear. It's not my cuppa but...
     


  11. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Both Vass and Meermin are not truely "handmade". Neither is Saint Crispins.

    However, they are all hand welted and hand lasted with very good constructions compare to the GY welted shoes.
     


  12. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

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    I have no problem with Goodyear welted shoes. Obviously they're not as good as truly handmade shoes. I fully understand that. Doesn't mean Goodyear shoes aren't good in their own right as well. It's like the difference between a Ford and a Mercedes. The latter is obviously better, but that doesn't mean the Ford isn't good in its own way. I fully understand and respect the great traditions of the shoemakers craft but I'm not going to rubbish on Goodyear shoes as a result of that. That's just me, no reflection on anyone else here.
     


  13. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Eh, no. Hell no.

    It's like you believe a tricked out Honda Civic in a Ferrari body kit is comparable to an actual Ferrari. The tricked out Civic looks like a Ferrari, runs fast, but it is NOT and will never be a Ferrari. Or its akin to believing the Rolex you got off the Paki peddlers on HK streets are as good as the real Rolex.

    You are ignoring the huge construction deficiency and heavy corner cutting in ALL GY welted shoes. Judging a book by its cover is pure ignorance.
     


  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I like your analogies because, in my mind at least, there is an element of deception involved. I hope you don't mind if I riff off them sometime.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013


  15. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    It will be an honor.

    I've scoured the Internet and found some interesting shoe deconstruction pictures. Different brands/makers shoes DO look very different "under the hood".

    All the industrial manufacturing yield improvements (i.e., cost cutting) are only apparent when the shoes are torn apart. They range from gemming and heat formed stiffeners to canvass linings. Haven't seen any sub $300 shoes being torn apart but I bet its even worse than their pricier counterparts...
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013


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