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Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I'm a big fan of double soles. They last a good long while and I prefer the solid feel underfoot. They do a better job of soaking up surface irregularities as well. So far I have noticed no impairment to my balance.
     


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No question, you can wear double soles, triple soles, quadruple soles longer, before you need to resole, than single soles. However, there is a Catch-22 in doing that...several as I see it.

    First, every pair of shoes is balanced when it comes from the maker so that the shoe will sit at the treadline and on a level heel (this last bit is open to interpretation and "artistic license," I'm afraid). The shape of the last sets this balance more or less in stone and every functional aspect of the shoe and some aspects of proper gait depend on it.

    As the outsole wears down, the balance between the height of the heel and the thickness of the outsole is altered. With a single outsole, you're very probably gonna replace that thickness as soon you notice a hole in the bottom...maybe, ideally, even before you notice a hole. And, in the process, restoring the balance.

    But with a multiple you may be tempted to wear a good portion of the second sole down as well. [If not, you've gained nothing in the way of durability.] But wearing into the second sole, is going to distort the shape of the shoe to some degree simply because the shoe is not wood or iron--it is leather and meant to be flexible...theoretically, at least, in accordance with the natural flexibility of the foot.

    What's more this distortion and imbalance will cause you to strike and roll in different places than you did when the shoe was new...and, more importantly, in different places than the last was designed for.

    And the longer you wear it in a configuration that is out of sync with the way the patterns were cut, the way the shank iron is bent, as well as out of sync with the relationship between heel height and treadline, the worse and more irreversible that distortion will get.

    Creating a vicious circle.

    It's fundamentally not good for either the shoe or the foot.

    If you wear the second sole down significantly and don't replace it when you replace the first sole, you will alter the balance of the shoe permanently.

    But if you replace both soles you will have gotten no more wear out of the double soles than by wearing out a single, replacing it, and then wearing out another pair of single soles. In fact, the stitching that holds the outsoles on...regardless of how many outsoles there are...often begins to come loose as soon as the first sole is worn out. That jeopardizes the security of the second sole and, commonly, the second sole will come loose and actually have to be replaced before its time.

    Additionally, multiples don't flex well or easily. They are stiff. And will remain stiff for a considerable time. The shoe can't break in and the foot gets fatigued far more easily.

    I suspect that when you "know the rest of the story" the durability issue looks more like urban myth than reality.

    --
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  3. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    My double sole shoes take a bit longer to break in - but only something in the order of maybe one or two extra wearings versus a comparable single sole. And the shoes definitely break in. Once they do, there is certainly no extra foot fatigue. In fact, I can't really say that I have experienced any downside whatsoever - perhaps it is the purported pitfalls of the double sole that are more myth than reality.

    And I do think that there is definitely an additional durability factor over a single sole even if you do re-sole after the outer sole has worn away. And that is because, with a single sole, I would imagine few if any would wait until that sole has completely worn away before replacing it. But with a double sole, you can.
     


  4. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :fonz:

    Yr. Hmb. Svt.
     


  6. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    Great info, DWF. Thanks.
     


  7. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Quote: My hiking boots and favorite walking shoes have very thick, stiff soles. For heavy backpacking boots the thick Vibram soles and heavy duty shank mean there is very little flex (none that I can do with my hands) and I don't feel rocks when I go over them. For these purposes this thick stiff sole is desirable. I have come to appreciate the same effect for dress shoes. I mostly wear double soled shoes. Not to extend the time between resoles- that is what sole protectors are for- but to get the rigid platform for my feet.

    Double oak with a sole protector is thick, but that is what I want. Yes, the shoes are heavier than they would be without them, but I have not yet broken down to the point that I cannot walk with that few ounces of extra weight. They are still far, far lighter than my boots. Plus, since they flex less, I have this theory that the uppers will last longer.

    The last thing I want is to feel the irregularity of the ground. I want not to have my foot bend (break) over an abrupt edge in the ground. Been through that once as a penalty for hiking in wimpy shoes, been paying for it ever since.

    I would be happy if I could find some dress shoes with substantial 3/4 or full shanks like my boots, I would not care what they weighed, but I imagine not enough people agree with me for manufacturers to make such a thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  8. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :nodding:
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  10. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Quote: DWF, I imagine this would be a more noticeable effect when doing city walking on pavement and hard indoor surfaces. If we posit that the double sole emerged for country walks, much of which might have been on softer ground, would one perceive the loss of balance as much? I have shoes in varying degrees of sole deterioration. They feel different, perhaps this is the difference I am feeling, but none of them really feel like I am sinking too low into the ground when my forefoot hits the ground.

    Put another way- how strong is this effect? Is it an argument for thinner leather soles with more frequent resoles, so that the balance rarely changes? An argument for sole protectors so that this sole wear does not take place initially? Or just wear soles of whatever thickness and not worry about it?
     


  11. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I received my chromexcel winter sheets last night. Can't wait to put them on my bed tonight.
     


  12. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    I just took my Kashmiri goat pillow cases off. Choosing between my ostrich suede and elephant shell to replace them.
     


  13. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Your decision should be obvious.
     


  14. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    One of each? I know. But the ostrich suede color clashes with my stuffed polar bear (sits on my nightstand) and the elephant shell's color is out of sync with my collection of stuffed Bald Eagles. Decisions...decisions...
     


  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Hmm, confort over style? The death of me. (and my feet)
     


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