Sole Welting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Quarantanove

    Quarantanove Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    I know that hand welting is more durable than goodyear machine welting, but what are the aesthetic differences between the two?

    Thank you!
     


  2. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,902
    Likes Received:
    540
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    

    You are stirring up a hornet's nest here.....
     


  3. Quarantanove

    Quarantanove Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Ha! Wasn't my intention. So not a definite answer, then?
     


  4. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,454
    Likes Received:
    873
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    London, UK
    There are no aesthetic differences.

    The welting ('inseam') is hidden inside the finished shoe. It is on the underside of the insole and covered by the outsole.

    You can distinguish visibly (or with your fingertips) between the two as the hand welting leaves a row of dimples on the top of the insole.
     


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    This is a generalization. Whether hand welting leaves any visual or tactile evidence is largely dependent upon the quality of the leather insole, substance of the of the insole, the weight of the awl, and the technique used for inseaming.
     


  6. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,454
    Likes Received:
    873
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    London, UK
    Insole, supplied by the Baker tannery, (allegedly the best in the world) with dimples and nail holes around the periphery. This is a (quite rare) ‘insole up in waist’. Due to a remake of the shoe, this insole was redundant, still showing the remnants of the cobbler’s thread where the welt was once stitched on.

    [​IMG]

    Explanation of the nail holes: The centre ones are used to attach the insole to the last and will also be present in factory-made shoes. The outer nails (typical of handmade shoes) are placed to mould the damp insole to the bottom shape of the bespoke last (commercial lasts have rather flat bottoms).

    [​IMG]

    Top: Insole in the ‘blocking’ stage.

    Bottom: fully prepared insole with ‘feather’ (ditch) and ‘holdall’ (dam) and all pre-poked awl holes in place.
     


  7. Quarantanove

    Quarantanove Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    This reminded me of what George Bernard Shaw said about the English and Americans-- "...two people separated by a common language."

    But in this case something more basic is going on, I'm afraid. Call it the gulf between experience and aspiration.

    Here is an illustration that appears in R.A. Salaman's Dictionary of Leather-Working Tools c.1700-1950, George Allen & Unwin, London--perhaps the definitive work of its kind...and eminently British.

    The terminology used is correct... feather, holdfast, and channel. (although the illustrator calls the channel a "channel and feather," it will be noted that this is corrected in the accompanying descriptions).

    While admittedly not important in the larger scheme of things, there is a proper and traditional lexicon...recognized by English-speaking shoemakers worldwide...that is, if nothing else, useful for conveying accurate information.

    [click to enlarge]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


  9. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,454
    Likes Received:
    873
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    London, UK
    

    J.H. Thornton - eminently British - talks about an outside and an inside feather. For him the channel is a preparatory step to reach the result, which are two feathers forming a holdfast..

    [​IMG]



    "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Again experience versus aspiration...Thornton was writing in the 1950's and primarily from the perspective of mass manufacturing...although he did touch upon some, few, handwelting techniques. I think you have to know the context.

    Beyond that the words 'feather" and "channel" and esp. "holdfast" (as opposed to "holdall") go back time out of mind and are the traditional and correct terms. I have no problem with "inside channel" and "outside channel" as confusing as that can be to the tyro. But when you know...from experience...that the "feather" is cut along the "featherline" of the last, it becomes far more specific and accurate. And then there is no need to distinguish the outside channel from the inside channel because the feather can only be the feather and the channel can only be the channel.

    And the "holdfast" is never going to be anything but what it is.

    In my opinion, there's too much misinformation and confusion bandied about...here and on the 'net in general...by well-meaning (perhaps) people who don't really know...I mean gut level, scars-on-the-hands, know...what they are talking about.

    Admiration, aspiration, & fandom, are all well and good but only if it is knowledge that has been earned.

    In my opinion...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


  11. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,454
    Likes Received:
    873
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    London, UK
    

    Actually, chapter 19 in Thornton, titled "Handwelting" was written by one F. Bending F.B.S.I. (Fellow British Shoe Institute?).

    I have no idea who F. Bending was, but after all, as he was commissioned to write that chapter, it is fair to presume that he was someone eminent in his field. Therefore, if 'inside feather' was good enough for him than it is good enough for me.
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    


    I suspect anything would be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


  13. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

    Messages:
    6,501
    Likes Received:
    473
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    The Arena - Centerfield
    

    Why do you believe this to be true?
     


  14. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

    Messages:
    3,895
    Likes Received:
    8,132
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009

    AS Bengal said, there's no aesthetic difference at all because u can't see the the welt stitching.

    Whether a shoe is hand-welted or not tells u nothing about how it looks, and of course there's lots of great - Grenson, Trickers, Edward Green, Cheaney, Alden to name a few - machine-welted shoes.

    Just depends on what your priorities are.

    All other things being equal - almost never in shoes! - I buy hand-welted.


    re: Man of Lint

    my 2 cents take or leave- Apart from one or two anecdotes on SF I've not heard of or seen any evidence that hand-welting improves the function of the shoe.

    To me it's not a matter of function or appearance. I don't worry that EGs are going to fail because they are Goodyear Welted.

    I just like knowing some of my shoes are mostly made without machinery, altho I draw the line at a hand-stitched upper. I've not seen one that doesn't look like something from an archaeological dig!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,329
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Hand-welted is a direct, and extremely positive, leather to leather connection. It requires a quality insole.

    Goodyear welted is fundamentally a cement connection and tenuous at best. It does not require even a leather insole and one of the underlying rationales for using Goodyear construction is the savings that can (and usually are) be reaped by using inferior materials.

    In every other industry quality testing relies on placing the item under some stress to determine its limits vis-a-vis strength and longevity of the materials and techniques being employed.

    Only with high end RTW shoes...where the shoes in question may not be worn more than once a month and then in only the most controlled situations where wet, dirt, constant flexion are carefully monitored, and repair, short of complete replacement of all critical components...is the see-no-evil model of quality accepted.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by