can you tell by this pic if it is goodyear or hand welted?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mfais, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The short answer is that making shoes is a business. And when you start talking about factories, job one is profit maximization and a lot of that comes down to cost control. If they don't need to use high quality materials, it doesn't make economic sense to do so.

    Now for the long answer...

    The original Goodyear machines did try to come close to handwelted quality.

    Handwelted relies on very good quality vegetable tanned leather for insoles and of sufficient thickness that a channel can be cut into the substance of the insole to create a "holdfast"--essentially a ridge through which the awl is driven and on which the stitches are tightened.

    So, to begin with, the the original machines used essentially the same quality insoles as Traditional handwelted bespoke makers were using. Two opposing angled cuts..."channels"...were made, by another machine, and the leather turned 90 degrees to the natural "lie" of the fiber mat. These two "flaps" of leather were cemented to each other to create a facsimile holdfast.

    But bending the leather like this put a severe strain on the fibers and, additionally, the channels had to be cut so close to each other that the result was often pretty weak.

    The solution was to reinforce the leather holdfast with canvas or linen.

    Eventually it was decided that the linen all by itself could hold the stitches almost as well as the linen and leather together.

    So the machines were redesigned to utilize a linen holdfast known as "gemming." The gemming was manufactured in rolls that could be applied by another machine which positioned and cemented the gemming to the fleshside surface of the insole simultaneously.

    About this time it became obvious that a really high quality insole leather was no longer needed...the cement would adhere the gemming to a mediocre insole just as well as to a quality insole. And at the same time, since a channel was not being cut into the insole, a thinner insole could also be used.

    All of this saved the factories money. Lots of money--both in terms of eliminating jobs that required skilled shoemakers and in terms of the cost of materials.

    And once the shift to Goodyear construction was made the degradation of materials and techniques became inevitable. AFAIK no company that began life as a high quality handwelted shoemaking firm and subsequently shifted to Goodyear techniques has ever reverted to past procedures or materials.

    Today, leatherboard and fiberboard---both composites on the order of particleboard or cardboard--are routinely substituted for components that were traditionally made of leather on the highest quality shoes, ie., leather insoles, heel stiffeners and toe stiffeners, and heel stacks.

    Finally, it is my opinion...and it is an opinion...that the difference between a $100.00 shoe and a $500.00 shoe is insignificant. In all likelihood the materials used are not substantially better or worse and the techniques of manufacture are for all intents and purposes, identical.

    Above $500.00, it is a crap shoot. And above $1000.00 per pair the biggest drawback is probably the Goodyear technique itself. Because when you come right down to it, the basic principle holding the shoe together is adhesive--it is cement construction, for all the misleading hype.

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  2. hendrix

    hendrix Ill-proportioned

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    It is technically an oxymoron, but the reason many makers - particularly Italians - refer to it as "handmade goodyear" is that there are other types of "handwelting" - Goyserer, Bentivegna, Treccia etc etc etc.

    If a maker specifically refers to it as "handsewn goodyear welt" you can be pretty confident that it's handwelted, unless they are flat out lying.

    However, when they say "handmade" shoes, like with lots of things, the degree to which it is actually made by hand is up to them.

    P.S. the shoes in the OP are handwelted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  3. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    this
     
  4. UnnamedPlayer

    UnnamedPlayer Senior member

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    so i was right all along?
     
  5. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    No.
     
  6. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    probably yes. didn't follow the whole hick-hack. waste of time, imo.
     
  7. Mox C

    Mox C Senior member

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    At 3:00, you can see (what I believe to be) the gemming, already glued to the insole, being stitched to the upper. At 3:12, the Goodyear machine makes an appearance.


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]



    More Goodyear footage:


    Some hands-on work @ 2:00.


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]



    This one shows how they do one type of closed channel at 3:30. These would be Blake stitched, correct?


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]



    Goodyear welting at 3:30 followed by hand welting at 3:45. Am I right in assuming that this must be on two different pair of shoes?


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]



    Some diagrams: http://www.wsanford-shanghai.com/?page_id=194
     
  8. Gruto

    Gruto Senior member

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    Do we still have makers of RTW shoes, who apply the original goodyear welting instead of "gemming"? I believe I once read that Weston was using it, but I haven't been able to verify it.
     
  9. n-domino

    n-domino Senior member

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    I have read somewhere that Weston's Hunt Derby (model #677 I believe) is handwelted. That accounts for its $2000 price tag which is what I saw when I was in their Madison Avenue store two weeks ago.
     
  10. Gruto

    Gruto Senior member

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    Yes, some RTW makers will do handwelting, but how many will apply the original machine/goodyear welting?
     
  11. n-domino

    n-domino Senior member

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    Hmmm. I honestly don't know. Sorry for misinterpreting your previous post.
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know of any. Most of the machines needed (and there's more than one) would be obsolete and hard to find parts for.
     
  13. reidrothchild

    reidrothchild Senior member

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    DFWII is among the most valuable contributors to SF. That being said, I don't think you should feel that your GYW shoes are crap just because DFWII has really high standards. It can be a bit disconcerting to learn that Allen Edmonds is not the pinnacle of fine shoemaking, contrary to what the JAB salesman told you, but they are still a significant step up from Bostonians. When DFWII says there's no difference to him between a $100 pair of shoes and a $500 pair, I take that to mean that he, as someone with decades of experience making shoes by hand, thinks that all sub-$500 shoes are crap. To the average joe, however, there's a pretty big difference between Alden and Bostonian. Put it this way. DFWII is like the guy who works for Bugatti saying that there's not a significant difference in materials or manufacturing processes in all sub-$100,000 cars. Depending on your perspective, that may be true. But to the guy driving a Hyndai Accent, a Jaguar XJ or Porsche Cayman is a pretty big step up. We can all aspire to hand-welted, bespoke shoes someday, but $2k for a pair of shoes is not in my budget for the forseeable future. So in the meantime, I'll be content with my AEs and Paul Stuarts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  14. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I just got off the phone w/Elise the store manager. She confirmed that they are.
     
  15. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    that's quite steep. let alone, that it is pretty fugly, imo.
     

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