Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Jul 24, 2010.
Sounds as though you're trying for a free pair of shoes
If I want a pair of shoes I would contact him in private and pay him for what he is worth. Have you seen his latest work? It speaks for itself.
It just sounds like a straightforward complement to me.
It seems like gratuitous nastiness to me...what did vmss say to provoke such a remark?
I was wondering if someone with a widish feet and low instep can somehow fit into a shoe with a normal width and high instep. Mathematically, this would somehow be "equivalent" in total internal volume.
While not ideal, would a high instep compensate somewhat width wise? Square pegs into round holes? Thoughts?
It depends on the foot...I would not call it ideal in any case.
That said, except in the case of someone with "medical" problems--pes cavus, that sort of thing--the whole idea of whether or not a last has a high or low instep is kind of bogus and beside the point in my opinion. Internal volume...in several dimensions...is more important. Long heel, short heel, high and low instep girths are the more important and determining factors. If the measurements are right, the shoe will fit. I always use the analogy of a water balloon. As long as the skin of the balloon doesn't stretch, you can flatten it and circumference and volume will be the same as when you squeeze it into a more nearly vertical configuration.
The fly in the ointment, however, is insole width. This is not so malleable. In terms of width, the insole should be near-as-never-mind identical to the weight-bearing footprint in the area of the ball of the foot and the heel--tread width and heel seat width. Too wide or too narrow creates problems both for the shoe and for the foot, in some cases.
edited for punctuation and clarity
Yesterday I was visiting my folks and we got into a deep conversation about shoes, the Tradition, and gemming. It was a conversation way out of context. It was also strange saying "DW" out loud and to my parents.
I'm surprised your mother didn't stand yopu in the corner, or wash your mouth out with soap or even slap you upside the head...she's still your mother, after all. You shouldn't talk to your mother like that.
Regarding the various channeling approaches to protecting outsole stitching:
1. How often to soles start to come off because the stitching has been abraded as the sole wore? I have not seen this in my small sample and in a few years on SF I have not heard of people reporting this problem. In other words, how important is it to protect the stitching? A major concern or making even less unlikely something that is very unlikely to start?
2. When the stitches are in an uncovered channel, it is stated that they may fail before the sole wears out because of grit that gets into the channel. Again, how often does this occur? Is it a rare theoretical possibility? Or something that happens regularly?
3. I still don't get DW's description of how the angled horizontal channel cut is done by bespoke makers. He indicated, I think, that this channel would not open up with wear, apparently not even when the soles wear down from abrasion. I did not understand this point, and hope he will clarify.
4. To what extent is the goal of a smooth, unbroken appearance of the sole an aesthetic preference and to what extent does it reflect something that will wear longer? Are we talking about longer than other methods that do not protect the stitching, or longer than a sole with sole protectors?
It seems to me that the goal of longevity would be best achieved through using a sole protector. The stitches would never face grit or abrasion. The sole protectors would be far less expensive than paying a skilled craftsperson to hand cut the angled horizontal channel. It would also avoid the search for and expense of special higher quality soling leather. The sole protector would take the abuse, and ordinary machine methods for securing the sole would be fine and ordinary soling materials.
DW has mentioned a concern that the plastic cover might lead to earlier decay of the shoe, because it is waterproof. This seems to be a matter of some debate, but for now let's assume it is true. Can one compare the lifetime cost using sole protectors on factory-made shoes, saving on resoles, but a chance of earlier demise to the lifetime cost of the bespoke approach? Say at a cost of $400 for the machine made shoes and ? $2,500? for bespoke? Given the cost difference of the shoes, it would seem that one could be ahead, perhaps way ahead, by going with less expensive shoes, even accepting their premature deterioration due to Topys. I know Lobbs cost a lot more than $2,500, but perhaps one can get bespoke for less elsewhere. But could you get bespoke, and resole with special leather and handcut angled channels, for a low enough price to come close to the GYW + Topy approach over the years?
From my experience:
1,2&4.-I never had problems with quality shoes ( +14 years of heavy wear and resoled) with the outsole stiching even if they are made with an uncovered channel (but shoemakers stiching are far superior, of course). That is why a shoe with a double outsole last me longer before resoling (just wastage of the outsole and heel ). I never heard anybody complaining about that issue and I believe that a good quality outsole makes the difference with regard to your concern.
I do not topy my shoes (I like much more leather) and I just have one pair of rubber outsoled boots (weather here is perfect) so I can not give you any input about it based in my experience.
Perfectly horizontal channels are often cut by hand...labouriously...by bespoke makers (there are tools but most just use a knife). Of course, such channels are cut by machine in the factory.
So to cut an angled channel is not really much more work than to cut a flat channel. The point of the knife is simple aimed deeper into the substance of the outsole.
It takes more effort to open up an angled channel to sew the outsole, but that's one of the reasons the flatter channel is preferred in factory (and even some bespoke) operations--it's less trouble and effort.
As far as wear is concerned, a horizontal channel is, esp. as done by machine, pretty thin. There may be variations but I'm guessing 1mm+/-. So that's what's protecting the thread. When the edge of the outsole wears, the whole channel cover wears pretty evenly. Soon it is parchment thin and flapping in the breeze. Depending on what is used to seal and bond the channel cover to the rest of the outsole it may open up rather quickly.
If the channel is angled, it is pretty stout at the base of the channel. That means it's relatively stiff and resistant to opening up. And there's simply more leather over the stitching...so the edge of the outsole can wear away but the stitching remains protected.
1. There is a much different perspective and level of perception between people who consume a product--wear shoes for instance--and those who make or repair shoes. Stitching does wear away and the edges of the outsole do come loose. It's one of the reasons people have their outsoles replaced and a regular basis. It's one of the most frequent problems that come to a repairman's attention. Rubber outsoles come loose more easily and more frequently.
2. Again, a matter of perception. But it only makes common sense--a line of stitching that is unprotected will wear away faster than one that is covered or hidden.
4. As far as horizontal channels...mostly aesthetic. Closed vertical channels, mostly protective. Angled channels... the best of both worlds, at a fairly stiff price in terms of labour. No channel, no protection, zero aesthetics. Grooved outsoles, minimal protection zero aesthetics.
Asa for the rest...again it's a matter of perception and what you want to achieve. If you're a shoemaker, occlusive material and techniques matter to you...or should. Doing everything in your power to protect your work and the integrity of the shoe matter to you. Making the shoes look graceful and elegant, matters. Understanding the nature of the materials you work with; understanding the mechanics and the structural implications of the techniques you apply...all this is paramount.
If you are a consumer with his mind made up to use and or extol sole protectors...none of that matters.
Here are some pics of the soles of two of my shoes with hidden stitching. The first is of a C&J "handgrade." Am I correct that this is likely just GY construction with a thin layer of leather glued on to cover the stitching? In spots that are worn, it looks like this layer is peeling back a bit, which I assume will just continue to get worse with wear.
The second sole is from a pair of Vass, which are handwelted. @DWFII, is this an example of an angled channel that you mentioned above? I'm not sure I am completely understanding what you are describing.
In the Vass book, they state on pg 155: "The stitching channel is filled with glue and closed with the flap. The shoemaker uses the angular side of his hammer head to close up the sole leather, which is still damp and easily shaped. Once the leather has dried out, all that will show of the seam is a very thin line. ... Finally, the shaft of the hammer is pressed down hard and drawn along the sole several times to close the channel entirely. The result is a perfectly smooth surface."
Well, the thing is that when the channel cover is thin ...as in the first pic...it is more vulnerable even if actual abrasion isn't the main source of the problem. Friction from wear will cause the cement (and that's what most use) to soften and loosen. And as the edge wears away, in makes the channel itself more vulnerable to intrusions of dirt and oils. Insult leads to injury.
As for the Vass pair, I don't know how they are cutting their channel. It looks to be an angled channel although the unevenness of the channel relative to the edge of the outsole (sometimes close some places farther away) makes it difficult to know. Then to I start my channels at the very edge or sometime on the edge itself.
Truth to tell, I don't know of any good solution to the problem of adhering the channel cover ("flap"). All purpose cement, doesn't get it...either philosophically or mechanically...and neither does any of the traditional pastes. I use a waterproof PVA. That works well and is long lasting but it must be clamped.
Not so much extol sole protectors, trying to figure out the economics. If all leather, expensive materials and construction techniques produced sufficiently longer life, then that could justify the cost ECONOMICALLY. As in "It lasts so much longer that you end up spending less over the years than you would with sole protectors."
I recognize that for many people on this forum, and particularly the shoe enthusiasts, sole protectors are ruled out by their appearance. It would not matter to them if the protectors and the shoes would last forever- they would never be seen in public wearing such a thing. It would be the same as always wearing galoshes over their shoes, rain or shine. It would protect them, but look ridiculous.
I recognize that many SF'ers prize the appearance far above the function. Hence all the pictures of new unworn shoes. I don't share the enthusiasm, but I certainly accept that it is common. I think this also explains why even those who have been instructed in the differences in construction between bespoke and factory shoes keep buying the latter. They like the style. They like being identified with a well known brand. Some may like the constancy of the appearance year in and year out. Others, who buy from other RTW makers, enjoy following the evolution of styles. These SF shoe enthusiasts are not particularly concerned with how long their shoes will last, since 1. these are dress shoes that are not subjected to heavy wear. 2. they have lots of shoes and 3. a worn out pair is an excuse to acquire more shoes.
Another inseaming question for DW:
In your handwelted work you show that there is very little cavity under the forefoot. This apparently involves trimming the upper, lining and welt essentially flush with the insole. Doesn't this compromise the capacity to replace the welt if needed? There is very little material "above" the stitch to provide strength to the upper and lining. Even assuming one uses the same holes in those parts as was done originally, the amount of leather adjacent to the stitch looks to be a mm or less? Forget about replacing parts of the welt, doesn't this produce a relative weakness compared to what one would have if things were trimmed longer and there was more leather to provide purchase for the stitches? Or am I misinterpreting what I think I see?
C&J handgrade, like other Northampton makers, cuts a horizontal flap, makes a channel, sew outsole, then glued back.
See: John Lobb
Vass, cuts vertically into the sole, making a channel without removing leather with tool, sew outsole, then press down. Similar method is used for SC.
See Saint Crispins.
West End bespoke makers slice sole open from the edge, spread open a flap, make a channel under the flap, sew outsole, then press down.
See: John Lobb St James.
Separate names with a comma.