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Goodyear vs. blake -- visible differences?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by montecristo#4, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    What are the visible differences between Goodyear and Blake shoe construction?
     
  2. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    I believe that Blake stitching is visible on the inside of the shoe (where your foot goes), though sometimes leather inserts are used to cover it up.
     
  3. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    Some person told me that blake stitching was up the middle of the shoe [like below] [​IMG] Good year welts are more secure and solid than blake stitching.
     
  4. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    Wow, I thought I was bad at drawing....heh koji
     
  5. FCS

    FCS Senior member

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    The drawing is less pathetic than the quality of the information.
     
  6. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Why, yes. Yes, there are. Here's a picture from the La Botte Chantilly website showing how Blake construction works: [​IMG] As you can see, the stitching that attaches the upper to the insole to the sole is on the inside of the shoe. This means that you should be able to see or feel a row of stitching along the perimeter of the inside of a Blake-constructed shoe. On a Goodyear-welted shoe, there is no interior stitching. The upper is attached to the insole via stitching through the insole, the upper, and a welt strip; and the welt strip is then stitched to the outsole: [​IMG]
     
  7. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    So is it safe to conclude from this that the mark of a Goodyear shoe (from the outside) is that a visible stitch runs around the top part of the sole, close to where the sole meets the upper?

    Thanks for the info, BTW.

    M
     
  8. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, Goodyear-welted shoes will have stitching there, although it can be very well camouflaged with staining, wheeling, and such. But not all shoes with stitching there are Goodyear-welted. Shoes made with Blake/Rapid construction will have such stitching even though they're not Goodyear-welted.
     
  9. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've even seen a few pairs where the stitching seems to be hidden in a channel and is not visible at all.
     
  10. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    And I have seen shoes that have a stitch along the welt that is purely decorative - really cement construction.

    It is impossible to 'see' Goodyear Welt construction in a finished shoe. This is one reason why so many manufacturers who produce 'welted' shoes call the construction 'Goodyear Welted'. In fact, the only correct use of the term 'Goodyear Welted' footwear is when the wall/rim is cut DIRECTLY from the insole. A small point to be sure, but it does provide for a better product - you are guaranteed a better insole if nothing else. Also, the stitch you see along the welt is not the same stitch as the one that binds the welt/upper/insole together. It's a two step process.

    There has been much discussion in the past on the boards about 'Goodyear' and welted footwear. I was happy to review the latest JM Weston production information this week where they insisted that only where the feather is cut directly from the insole is it proper to use the term 'Goodyear Welt' construction. Alden and Allen Edmonds, for example, despite their own published descriptions, are NOT 'Goodyear Welted' footwear. They are simply welted footwear. Of course, there is nothing to stop anyone from naming a construction anything they want, but I will defer to the older, European factories in this case.
     
  11. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    Rider, would you say that Goodyear (or Alden/AE) welting is inherently superior to Blake?
     
  12. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    Genuine Goodyear - yes. Blake constructed shoes can be average (most) to excellent (Gravati). Same with welted footwear. Goodyear constructed shoes cost a lot more than other constructions, so it is all relative. Take Weston's Hunt shoe...serious shoe. Look at Andrew's posts on the Vass construction...great stuff. No factory is going to take the time and talent to do genuine Goodyear shoes if they aren't going quality all the way. The other constructions can be anything, really, depending on what materials you use.
     
  13. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    From the current Yanko catalog:

    "The main identifying feature of a Goodyear shoe is it's bottom. This comprises two soles separated by a layer of granulated cork and joined together by double stitching. Stitching first joins the welt to the underside of the insolde, then the shoe is stitched to the welt. There are therefore no stitching holes inside the shoe, which gives it perfect insulation from cold, heat, and ground dampness, and great comfort and support. This production system makes it somewhat rigid when new, although this rigidity is lost immediately. With use, the insole adapts to the foot, leaving the user's imprint inside the shoe and providing exceptional comfort."

    True?

    M#4
     
  14. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    No factory is going to take the time and talent to do genuine Goodyear shoes if they aren't going quality all the way.
    Â
    l respectfully dissagree Rider. l have some [lightly grain corrected] shoes that are good year welted from England. Excellent construction with average uppers i.e; Jeffrey West.
     
  15. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    (RIDER @ 15 Aug. 2004, 8:05) Quote No factory is going to take the time and talent to do genuine Goodyear shoes if they aren't going quality all the way.
    l respectfully dissagree Rider. l have some [lightly grain corrected] shoes that are good year welted from England. Excellent construction with average uppers i.e; Jeffrey West.[/quote] Read RIDER's definition of Goodyear welting again (it's not the one that I use, but that's neither here nor there): the feather must be cut from the insole, either using the cut-and-turn method a la Weston or using the carved method a la Vass and just about all the big-name custom makers. Glued-on linen feathers would not qualify. That means that according to this definition, there are NO British makers using Goodyear welting except for the bespoke guys -- even Edward Green uses a glued-on linen feather on their RTW shoes. There are only a handful of makers that produce shoes that would meet this definition of Goodyear welting, and I think that it's safe to say that none of them would go to the effort to carve or cut-and-turn the feather if they were going to use corrected-grain uppers.
     
  16. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's interesting that Weston would make such a big deal of the difference - they seem to use what I believe is called a 'cut and turned' feather, where a cut is made into the edge of the insole, the resulting flap is turned up 90 degrees and held in place by a glued on linen backing. It's not all that much different than the simpler glued-on feather that EG etc use.

    I prefer the sturdiness of a welted sole (in most cases I can tell a Blake stitched shoe just by tapping on the sole, it has a different feel,) but there are still PLENTY of Blake stitched shoes that I would be happy to wear, and a few that I do wear.
     
  17. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    A welted shoe feels completely different [to wear] than a blake stitched sole. 2 different beasts entirely.

    What you say about good year welts has my eyes popping out and me chocking on my tougne; l am in a pink fit right now because of you guys.

    Be-spoke = good year welted
    RTW(most) = e.g=welted shoes. Oh no, tell me it ain't true.
     
  18. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    I second that accuse.

    Jon.
     
  19. Lomezz

    Lomezz Senior member

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    RIDER:

    It was my understanding that Goodyear construction refers not to the specific welting method, but rather to the *mechanization* of the old welting process, i.e., that the process formerly done by hand (a-la Vass, etc.) could now be done using a specific machine.

    Therefore, is it not true that, strictly speaking, a hand-welted shoe is not technically a "Goodyear welted" shoe?

    And if so, is the distinction between carved and glued insole still relevant, seeing as in both cases the same Goodyear-style machine (I assume) is being used?
     
  20. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    Lomezz - logically speaking, you are correct. Really, the Goodyear machine is just a curved needle stitcher. In the late 1800's, the MacKay stitcher (now called Blake) greatly increased production - but re-soleing was difficult as repair shops were either slow to adapt, or could not afford the new machines. Charles Goodyear invented the curved needle stitcher that allowed the factories still doing 'old-fashioned' work to not only compete production wise, but market the shoes as easily repairable by the shops. The production was still cut and folded walls from the insole, and the shoes continued to be top notch. Thru time, someone came up with the idea of replacing this construction with 'gemming' - a glued on feather. A dedicated machine does this. Also, cheaper, thinner insoles became the norm as you didn't have to cut a wall out of them any longer. This was one of many cuts in quality that has continued to this day in the industry.

    So, specifically speaking, Goodyear Welting has little to do with the insole and more to do with production; however, traditionalists argue that the 'marketers' took advantage of the new technology to cheapen the product in ways a customer might never see, and therefore increase profit margins. This was never the intent. So now, the term "Goodyear Welting" has evolved to include the type of insole used to denote a certain quality and time commitment in the production of a shoe. At least to a small, and shrinking, group of industry types.
     

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