Leather Quality and Properties

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

  1. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Good points across the board. I likewise don't perceive feeling every irregularity in the ground as a virtue. And while different soles of different thicknesses, different materials and different degrees of wear feel different from each other (kind of expected, really) - I have never perceived any impact on my balance as a consequence of sole wear alone. I could see a badly worn heeling impacting balance, but not the sole.
     


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Just to be clear the "loss of balance" isn't necessarily your balance we're talking about--it's the shoe's balance, the relationship between heel height and the outsole thickness. As the outsole wears down the treadline will shift forward making shoe bend further towards the toe than where the foot is bending. Depending on heel height, this affects the way the longitudinal and metatarsal arches distributes your weight during gait. Not tomorrow, not the next day...like all such things it may take years but it weakens the architectual structure of the foot and can cause foot problems later on in life.

    An example that is not exactly the same but similar is women's high heeled shoes. Young women wear them, love them, make them a commodity. Smart women and old women avoid them. The simple reason is that women's fashion shoes don't support the long arch. Period. This forces the weight of the body onto the metatarsal arch, which over time collapses. By middle age most women (not all) will be looking at bunions and hammer toes and fallen met arches. Of course like many folks with flies in their eyes, they will testify in court that the shoes are not doing them any damage at all--they experience no real discomfort and their feet look just like they looked yesterday. End of story, end of thought.

    [shrug]

    The multiple sole scenario is by no means as severe as the issue with women's heels but it shares mechanical similarities.

    I don't know that your foot will necessarily be "sinking too low into the ground." I don't see any connection.

    It's not an argument for anything...I personally don't see any real functionality/utility in double or triple sole except to protect sensitive feet from irregularities in the walking surface....it's just an insight that may open someone's mind to an understanding of the principles involved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  3. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've had some badly worn soles that affected my balance. Generally if I see a hole forming and I ignore it for a while. The integrity of both the sole and insole goes out the window. Some are more sensitive to it than others, I guess.
     


  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Precisely!

    And some just have flies in their eyes....I am always tempted to advise that they go to a mirror and pluck them out.

    But of course we all know that if you have flies in your eyes you can't see them...because you've got flies in your eyes.

    Catch-22
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  5. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    LOL! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  6. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Articulate as always!!

    Yes, I got that you were talking about shoe balance. I was trying to get at how much difference a couple of mm in sole erosion made in the feel of the shoe. And what I would notice. I tend towards low heels, so maybe that makes this less apparent?

    The question about surfaces revolved around how predictable is the level of heel and ball when walking. On a rigid surface, it will be just as one would see placing the shoe on a table. On soft ground, I assume, gravity and body weight will start to affect this relationship.

    The double soles are definitely stiffer, and I hope sole protectors keep them that way.

    In any case, my tender feet have never encountered a sole that was too stiff. Not even a full length steel shank. But I have tried and rejected lots of shoes with flimsy soles.
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well, it's just personal preference and body type.

    I find that both in my wading boots and any thick soled walking shoe that I tend to twist my ankle a lot more. With a single sole, by the time I settle my weight down on the shoe, I've already compensated for, say, a one inch cobble under the lateral edge of the outsole...because I felt it.

    With thicker soles, being less flexible, the whole shoe tilts, often in directions my foot isn't willing to go...what with weight coming down the leg and all.

    BTW...hasn't anyone ever heard of Joseph Heller?

    --
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Also...October 25th...


    [COLOR=FF0000]Happy St. Crispin's Day ![/COLOR]



    To all those who are in, or respect, the Shoemaking Trade.
     


  9. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  10. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    It is definitely a different way of walking on uneven ground. In stiff boots you cannot use changes in ankle angle, or maybe even foot flexion, to adjust. You have to watch where you step and plan how your weight will shift. This is really easy to do on sidewalks, however. I find that the elimination of rotation and flexion in the shoe/boot makes for a much more stable platform for my feet. Since I went to stiff shoes I have conquered what had been life long foot pain and fatigue.

    But that is just my feet.
     


  11. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    ^^^ Not just yours. I can't imagine going hunting or hiking in thin-soled shoes or boots.
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know why that might be but feet are complex and if you have eliminated pain, who's to gainsay your choice?

    On the other hand, imagination is a funny thing...one of my best friends is the head of the shoemaking faculty at Colonial Williamsburg. He's an internationally recognized shoe historian and active in CW's role of recreating Colonial America.

    He tells me that the first thing the colonists noticed about native people's was their lug soled Chippawa and Merrill boots.

    Of course they were gemmed, but to this day those companies are still owned by Native Americans

    :crackup:

    --
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013


  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    A dram with you sir...

    [​IMG]
     


  14. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Gemming failure: If gemming fails in GY welted shoes, how would the wearer know? Would this only be noticed by the cobbler when they were resoled? Would something happen to the shoes so that the failure would become apparent during regular wear? When the gemming does fail, and the cobbler does not have the original last, do they just try to glue it back in what looks like the right place and get on with the resole? Do they ignore it and resole anyway, knowing that the attachment will be complete only for those places around the circumference where the gemming is intact?

    If gemming failure is common, but people report multiple resoles "without a problem" of which they are aware, can one resole GY welted shoes with failed gemming and they will still function good enough that most users would not notice?
     


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    A wearer might or might not know depending on what happens next.

    At a certain point in time...when Guilds had lost some of their almost censorious influence...shoemaking and shoe repair began to evolve, as who should say, a symbiotic relationship. Shoemakers work with new leather...cobblers with used or worn leather. Shoemakers have never been eager to do the repair and as a sort of unspoken, unplanned self-defense made shoes so well and so easily repairable that they didn't have to. To this day, any competent repairman can do a credible job without distorting or destroying the shoe...if it is made to those same standards.

    When gemming fails, it can show up inside the shoe. I posted a photo here some time ago of a high end Northampton shoe that was brought into me where the gemming had slipped and the shoe was stretching beyond its maker's original intent. But it wasn't falling apart...just distorting. And it wasn't going to as long as the outsole was in place and the outsole stitching was holding everything together.

    But the minute a repairman opens that shoe...yes, he would be guessing to reposition the gemming or replace it. And some will guess better than others. But without the last it cannot be perfect..it cannot be correct. It cannot even be returned to anything approaching its original state--which is ideally the whole point of repair. And distortions that have occurred in the meantime will necessarily go unaddressed.

    Sometimes the only way you know that you've had a gemming failure is when your shoes come back from the cobbler too tight, too loose or twisted like a banana.

    If a customer sends his shoes back to the factory for a complete refurbishing--new gemming, new welting, new outsole, maybe new insole--the shoe will be returned with no problems. Even some of the distortion can be corrected. But the original last is needed to do this. And the shoe will fundamentally be rebuilt at a fundamentally proportionate cost.

    I am guessing but I suspect that a competent cobbler, working with a hand welted shoe can resole, re-heel, and polish for less than a third of what a factory rebuild will cost. And the question of distortion or changed fit should never even be an issue.

    GY is fast. It is cheap. It makes the percentage of profit to raw materials irresistible to those whose only goal is to make money.

    But in a larger sense it imposes a price on both society and the individual that more than makes up for that profit--it kills jobs, destroys Trades and industries, erodes the consumer's appreciation and confidence in the concept of "quality" and in the end costs us more in subtle, unseen ways than when all shoes were made by hand.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013


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