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Production costs of goodyear welted shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by fredrik80, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. fredrik80

    fredrik80 Senior member

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    How much does a goodyear welted shoe made in italy or england cost in production typically? Compared to a cemented construction that is?
    Hypothetically how much would "my" company pay the manufacturer per shoe for a production series?

    Would it be $150 or more ? Let's assume we use a good calfskin leather and such
     
  2. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

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    I seriously doubt it's $150 more. Maybe $20 or $30 more to go from basic cement to basic goodyear welt. Keep in mind that a number of shoes that retail in the low-mid $100's use the goodyear welt process - they just do it with cheaper materials.

    The process itself probably doesn't add much to the cost - but it usually would be pointless to use an expensive but slightly better manufacturing process if the key benefit is ability to repair or replace the sole, but the upper isn't worth the replacement of the sole.
     
  3. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Senior member

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    So is 100 dollars about the cheapest goodyear welted shoe one can buy?
     
  4. ChriO

    ChriO Well-Known Member

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    The cheapest goodyear welted shoes that are offered in Germany from time to time are € 49.90 - VAT of 19% included.
     
  5. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Senior member

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  6. ChriO

    ChriO Well-Known Member

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    I never paid much attention to them and products in Germany don't have to have a "Made in ..." label. India is probably a good guess.

    One of the usual suspects for these products is offering goodyear welted shoes for € 99 including VAT at the moment. As usual without mentioning the country of origin: Tchibo goodyear welted
     
  7. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  8. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Senior member

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    So the main reason shoes like the samuel windsors are inferior is the leather quality? Do you think the quality of the work is almost on par with the usual brands?
     
  9. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

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    I believe that Samuel Windsor shoes are made in India, but I may be wrong. Shoes that don't state the country of origin are most definitely not made in the EU, USA, or Japan.

    Having visited several factories in China and India, No, I do not think that they are "almost" on par with the usual brands but they do serve a certain segment of the market and economic circumstances. I believe that it is not just the labor cost and use of inferior leather that is keeping the cost down. IMHO, not all good year welt shoes are of equal construction and attention to details. Apparently, "generic goodyear welt shoes" also scrimp on the threads used, the cork and insole materials, shank, lining, not to mention that the last used tend to be recycled for a long time and are boring and clumsy as well as the finishing and polishing on the leather is being uninspiring and pedestrian.

    Certainly there might be some good ones around but most are usually very disappointing. What is normally regarded as seconds pass through their QC undetected. This is understandable as in the west, shoe makers are considered skilled artisans while the majority of developing nations, those in the factories are unskilled/ semi-skilled workers who has never served an apprenticeship but see their work as a means to feed their families.

    I've been informed that some of the shoes out from Portugal and Spain are considerably better in quality but at the moment with lesser recognition than they rightly deserve, most likely because they are lighter and more fashion forward. One example is the herring shoes Graduate lines which I have had the priviledge to examine and they look to be quite promising.
     
  10. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Senior member

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    Thank you for your most helpful response. IT is all in the details. I wonder if there are any decent factories in China.
     
  11. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    goodyear welting is very common in hunting boots, which are often about $120 even at full retail
     
  12. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    Thank you for your most helpful response. IT is all in the details. I wonder if there are any decent factories in China.

    Interesting thread. Yes, there are a couple welting factories in China that I have visited, and doing pretty good work. However, here is what get's continually missed here by those not in the business....the main cost of production in a 'better' shoe factory (besides the obvious - payroll/insurance/taxes[for us, in Lombardy region, government employee taxes = monthly salary]) is finishing....we calculate 30%. A machine is a machine - it's no big deal; you make an investment, that's it. One of the days during my visit we went to a machinery show and they now have all 3 standard soleing machines managed by robotics. This will be the future, for sure.

    I was part of what was called 'The Investigative Team of European Manufacturers' considering partnerships in China. It was actually a very productive trip, as we set up a distribution agreement there, and have started some production for shops in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and some places I can't pronounce or spell off the top of my head, but were very nice. Interestingly, the inside market wants little to do with 'Made in China'; they want 'Made in Italy', or so it seems. The group consisted of Italian, Spanish and French manufacturers, and a man from the British Footwear Association. It was really an interesting experience.....especially when the results were in. The Spanish and us all got along wonderfully, and basically had a 10 day party with the local people with a little bit of work thrown in at very odd hours (1 am call to start a meeting, for example) while the French, who seemed more concerned with 'telling' them what to do suddenly disappeared after 7 days ('they won't be joining us any more') and the British man, who continually toted around a large brief full of studies and papers and such, and always seemed to want 'answers' which, of course, is impossible in China. The Italians and the Spanish were simply more concerned if the wire would arrive in the bank, and if it works, it works - if not, oh well. It did...we'll see.

    http://www.zhanghuarong.com/news_show.asp?id=198

    That's me getting ready to speak to the press....actually, that's one of the translators telling me 'they nominate you give the press conference....you have one minute think'.

    Anyway, back to the point, you can buy welted shoes under your own label from China....but it's not so easy. They are not interested just to work for anybody, and the minimums are still very high if you don't have an established brand. With the huge changes in Chinese labor laws and pay scale this year, the prices have gone up to almost EU prices (when everything factored in)...the days of 'cheap' products from China are rapidly coming to an end. It's just amazing how fast things move there....both good and bad. Shoe factories are closing or moving to Vietnam and the Phillippines at an incredible rate - they just close up overnight and disappear, it seems. Still, there are two problems that the Chinese have to solve before they can really market 'better' shoes. One is lasting time. The mentality that nothing can stand still really hurts them here....they do not leave the uppers lasted for any amount of time, as it seems useless to them for an upper in production to just sit. This is an important small detail that can't be overlooked. Second is the finishing. They seemed resistant to spending the time in this regard, as the work over the last decade, I guess, has concerned shoes that really didn't require any sort of finishing work...they just come off the line and into the boxes. When they understand these two parts of the work, they will win, for sure. The machinery is all there, the raw materials are almost all there (we ran into more Italians already living there, or were there on long visas setting up the infrastructure to move, than exist in the Italian shoemaking centers anymore - good uppers are already there, good soles not really, but there is a good sole factory opening there soon) and the minimums are falling fast. Most importantly, they seem to be taking the mentality that they need to move into better manufacturing, and have realized they have exhausted the cheap production period....that's moved on to India, etc. To wrap this up, I was talking to a friend here recently, who owns an Italian brand ****/USA that most here would know, and that sells at MUCH higher prices than Martegani, who said 'in 10 years, I'll be selling Made in China shoes'.....I said I didn't think it would be that long.

    Most recent quote from a Chinese Goodyear Welted factory (2 weeks ago):

    $90/pair ex-factory
    100 pair minimum per colorway


    which is about the best I've seen.

    So, if you want to start a brand making welted shoes in China, you might be able to (if they invite you in, since you wouldn't want to invest without seeing the factory...and now you'll need advance wires of deposit and a local government invitation organized by the owner of the factory...of course, you are in HK as I understand it, so maybe a little different, but I don't think so much) if you have the $350,000 to start, assuming you want a little Collection. Of course, it's the wild, wild west there still, so you have about as much a chance of getting product as you do of having your investment 'disappear'.
     
  13. ChriO

    ChriO Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing your insights with us. That was interesting to read.
     
  14. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Senior member

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    This is such a helpful response. Sounds like you had a valuable trip. The anecdote about the British and French people in attendance is amusing. It seems the business cultures of Spain and Italy are more suited for China, though I'm not sure if the overall trade numbers reflect this.

    I'm actually more interested in the domestic market here, and what you've said about the premium placed on "made in Italy" products is exactly true. Most wealthy consumers here probably can't tell the difference between cemented and welted. They do feel that Italy, France, and England make better high-end products. Even if they were faced with a better shoe that was made in China, they might still opt for the 'made-in-Italy" version and they would definitely prefer the one that had either Armani or Versace on the lable. There are a lot of opportunities for smaller foreign brands here now; the challenge is finding the right market and educating the consumer.

    I agree that it will only be time before they can make a "better" shoe, unless this need for speed affecting the lasting and finishing is some kind of fundamental cultural block that is unsurmountable.

    Beyond the superiority of the brandnames, the preference even in China for "made in Italy" and the better quality and especially style, are there other factors that enable the Italian and other shoes industries to remain more than competitive? What I am referring to is (1) the rising RMB, (2) rising labor costs here, (3) costs of shipping rising over the next five years. Do Chinese pay more for importing the raw materials than Italians do? Is it true that the more prices of raw materials rise, the less of an advantage the Chinese have?
     
  15. MarcellHUN

    MarcellHUN Senior member

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    I would say a mass producted shoe can cost from 70-80 USD to 200. The main difference can be the raw materials's price - upper leather, leather sole. A handmade product can be much, much more because of the human power.
     
  16. Leather man

    Leather man Senior member

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    I know that Marks and Spencer no longer will source leather from India because of environmental concerns about their tanning industry.

    As for the finished product the problem is that most people think a shoe is good if it looks good. If the Chinese baulk at the lasting process and finishing because it takes too much time up consumers won't realise they've got an inferior product until they've worn the shoes for a few years. A shoe that is not left on the last loses its shape in a handful of years.

    Its one thing to have the machines and the expertise, its quite another to have the history, love and understanding of a craft.
     
  17. popman1967

    popman1967 Active Member

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    I have these Abington Farmer Boots by Timberland Made in China....Goodyear welt...Horween leather...Vibram sole..fully lined...leather coated insole.Very comfortable and they lasted 5 years of daily wear till the soles wore down but the rest of the boot never failed in any way so good stuff can be Made in China.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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