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How to recognize a well made shoe?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alchimiste, May 5, 2005.

  1. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    What do you look at to know whether a shoe is well constructed or not?

    Mathieu
     
  2. bachbeet

    bachbeet Senior member

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    All I know is that I'm very happy with the Belvedere brand shoes I've purchased from Zappos.
     
  3. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    Well, the first tell-tale sign is that stitching -- the sole should be stitched, not glued, to either a welt or the upper itself. The former is desired for a couple of reasons, though most mid-range Italian shoes I've seen stitch the sole directly to the upper.

    How do you tell about stitching? Look on the bottom of the sole. Can you see stitching? If yes, then look inside the insole, around the toe area. If you see stitching in the insole as well, you've got a Blake stitched shoe. This is when the sole is attached directly to the upper. If you don't see stitching in the insole, you either have a "Goodyear" welt ("Goodyear" in quotation marks because many claim that most so-called "Goodyear" welted shoes don't follow the real Goodyear procedures) -- where the sole is stitched to a welt as opposed to the upper directly -- or you have a Blake stitched shoe that has hidden the stitches in the insole.

    If you don't see stitches on the bottom of the shoe, then you either have a channelled sole (hidden stitching), which can be either "Goodyear" or Blake (see above for explanation), or you have a shoe that has glued the sole to the upper (very bad). If you have a Blake stitch shoe with visible insole stitching, then you can be sure by sight that the sole is stitched and not glued. However, if you have either a hidden Blake insole stitch or you have a "Goodyear" welt, then you can't be sure that your sole isn't glued simply by looking at the shoe. I suppose the best rule of thumb is this: If your shoe cost less than $275 retail and you don't see any stitching anywhere (either on the sole or in the insole), the shoe most likely uses a glued sole.

    That's the very basic initial point about quality construction. As you can see, it's complicated (I've also been working for 16 hours straight so maybe I'm a bit convuluted).
     
  4. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    Glued leather shoes are NOT shoes at all. They are hybrids.

    Shoes should always have the sole stitched to the upper. Prefer a good year welted shoe.
     
  5. stache

    stache Senior member

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    I look for a leather lining and something other than a full on center back seam at the heel.
     
  6. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    1. Stitches are better than glue.
    2. How do you recognize a well made (therefore not glued) shoe?

    Mathieu
     
  7. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Not sure what you mean here - are you referring to blake stitched shoes with a full-length insole cover?


    How to recognize a quality shoe? Take some time examining well made brands, in person if possible. With a little exposure a well made shoe will jump out at you when you see it, and you won't want to wear anything else.
     
  8. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Andrew you're being a bit circular here: to know how to recognize a well made shoe first find a well made shoe...

    I wish I had access to great shoes... Best I can find in Singapore are Magli, Bally, Ferragamo and mexican J&M (and some crocodile or ostrich Gravati slip-ons in size 4 1/2).

    Mathieu
     
  9. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    where the sole is stitched to a welt as opposed to the upper directly -- or you have a Blake stitched shoe that has hidden the stitches in the insole. Â
    Not sure what you mean here - are you referring to blake stitched shoes with a full-length insole cover?
    Yes -- that's what I mean. I full length insole cover.
     
  10. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Where should I look? What are the parts of the shoe where the difference is noticeable?
     
  11. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    jn3--

    My Aldens have stitching in the bottom of the sole. This stitching almost immeidately began to break when I wore the shoes. What is this due to? The stitches along the inside of my foot are fine, but the outside stitches are broken. Also, how will this affect the shoe?

    Thanks, John
     
  12. RJman

    RJman Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If it says "Kenneth Cole" on the inside, it's not a well-made shoe.
     
  13. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    Is the Kenneth Cole label blake stitched or welted on there?
     
  14. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    His shoes look bad anyway. My question is rather about good-looking shoes: will they last?
     
  15. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    Johnapril, did the stitches BREAK or did they start to fray? Shoe stitching rope is pretty heavy duty stuff -- if it really broke ALL THE WAY through, that's a DEFECT. If it just started to fray (maybe a few broken threads), that's pretty normal for an exposed stitching shoe.
     
  16. Charley

    Charley Senior member

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    (RJMan @ May 05 2005,12:30) If it says "Kenneth Cole" on the inside, it's not a well-made shoe.
    Is the Kenneth Cole label blake stitched or welted on there?
    I also look for the heel widest part to be wider than the final toe ending.
     
  17. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    It seems higher quality shoes have a distinct coloration of the leather which shows a high end product.
     
  18. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    What kind of coloration? Do you have a picture?
     
  19. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Don't think I'm ignoring you alchimiste, it's just that 'how to recognize a quality shoe' is a simple matter with the shoes in front of you to demonstrate, but extremely difficult to express in words. The exact differences are subtle, but add up to far more than the sum of their parts...

    I'll think on it, and perhaps will hit on a way to explain it in the future.
     
  20. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Can't you ask Vass to make bad shoes and post pix to compare to the good Vass? [​IMG]
     

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