Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.
Thank you, DW.
I don't think there is any drum beating per se. That conjures images of the Orcs marching on Helm's Deep. As DW said, this is essentially one of the reasons that this thread exists. If it's an uncomfortable topic, perhaps that says something about the confidence in one's stance on the issues being discussed.
I just posted it as a counter example to the article from Gentleman's Gazette on the Crockett & Jones tour we were discussing previously which claimed that they've never had rib failure. This article from Permanent Style reads quite differently, treating the gemming as a delicate material that has to be guarded at all costs, or risk the ultimate integrity of the shoe. At the very least, it will have to undergo major surgery to repair once the damage is done. It also reads as if it is not infrequent, given that they have a very clear recourse for when it does occur. And, it's Edward Green. England's Finest, as DW pointed out in a tongue in cheek way.
Here is another one (a video this time). This is from Grenson. At the 6:30 time point, they discuss gemming failure, and having to replace the components as necessary.
Bear in mind, he says the shoe is ~40 years old. As we have all said, and apparently it bears repeating since people seem offended as soon as the topic is brought back up, no one is saying that you can't get an incredible life from a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes. We are just saying that it's not a question of if, but when.
He also says in the video that it happens "occasionally," rather than "almost never" or something like that.
If the shoes in the video were hand-welted, the wearer could still be enjoying his original insole and corresponding foot imprint along with his original upper. They point out that there isn't anything original about the shoe except the upper, and that everything else has been replaced several times over. That's all anyone is really saying. That if you build something from components with longevity as top priority, you will enjoy it's "originality" far longer. Some people could care less about that. That's just fine. Personally, I look at my shoes as a cohesive unit, and don't just think of the uppers as being the only thing to be preserved.
It's not something to get angry over, or defensive of. We're just having a conversation amongst shoe enthusiasts. The more people know about something, the more detailed and hair splitting the conversations become. That's how it is in every field. Furthermore, true enthusiasts frequently enjoy hair splitting discussions. It's what keeps the conversation and the topic from becoming stale. I don't think the reconciliation from the last few days was supposed to break down people's enjoyment or ability to freely discuss the issue. Rather, it was to remind everyone that there isn't any ill intent towards anybody by having the discussion.
Well said! I mean well said. Thank you!
MWS your post is fair and balanced. Your posts customarily are precisely that. I would not remotely use those terms to describe the totality of what has been said on the issue of gemming failure in this thread and others, however.
The potential for gemming failure some 40 years down the road is a risk I am willing to embrace. Others are free to choose differently.
As for the `not if but when`` claim - I wonder if the above was intended to apply to GYW in addition to hand welt.
No shoes are immortal. It's just a question of selecting materials/methods with a longer anticipated life.
I'm glad they built the Colosseum from stone, so that we are still able to visit it to this day. The Colosseum is in ruins as well, but you can visit the ruins. The Globe Theater no longer exists for anyone to visit. You have to see the replica.
Hopefully the reconciliation from the last few days has put that to rest, as several agreed to start over.
As for the rest:
Indeed, from a standpoint of personal economics, I have to embrace this risk daily.
Right on in every respect. It's all a matter of possibilities.
Bengal Stripe once accused me of looking at shoes only from the perspective of a shoemaker. Guilty as charged. I choose materials and techniques that address possible weaknesses...no matter how remote. That's what real quality is about.
Most ...maybe every...respected shoemaker, even if they have a GY operation on the side, will invariably choose handwelted for their own shoes and their bespoke work. They too understand the weaknesses.
If one is a craftsman...a responsible craftsman--a professional...one doesn't deliberately build in weaknesses and planned obsolescence...unless one is intentionally marketing to a lower standard of sophistication and quality.
Every GY welted shoe being produced on the planet...at whatever price point...is constructed with fundamentally the same techniques, the same machines, and the same materials. The $200.00 shoe bought at Macy's is not significantly different than the $1500.00 RTW made in Northampton.
Handwelted can have problems...depending on the maker. It's human, after all. But all GY is manufactured to the same standards...for good or ill.
When it comes to that one aspect--the inseam--the best of handwelted...hell, the "good" of hand welted....is superlative. The best of GY, for all intents and purposes, is just like the worst.
And, FWIW, the shoes in the article you posted are nowhere near past their prime...I doubt they are even five years old. The shoe I posted earlier had never been resoled and was probably less than two years old.
For some reason the audio on the vimeo video you posted is erratic and breaking up so I can't really tell what he's saying.. But the shoe he holds up at 6:35 is probably less than 10 years old and may be even as new as five years old.
In related news, Alden seems to be having some inseam trouble lately (see posts below). While the welt stitches holding the welt to the gemming are likely the only culprit, we can't see enough to know for sure if there are gemming issues as well. It is interesting that all of the examples are the model 403 "Indy Boot." The gentleman from the second link said that it is his second pair that has done this (both 403's).
^That has happened to every pair of C&J shoes I have ever owned. (Along with cracking). Even has happened to my fancy Corthay shoes. (Along with cracking).
Were you able to see if it was strictly a stitching issue as opposed to the gemming being a contributing factor?
I never looked into it that far as they are just rainy day beater shoes now and have since replaced them with better stuff, but it was clear there were fraying stitches in the inseam and such. Also, on the C&J and Corthay there were clearly staples showing in the inseam of the shoes in these areas as well. Not sure what that's about.
They staple the sides to the gemming during lasting before they stitch on the welt.
BINGO!! Excactly what I said some time back in this thread. I see the stitching and/or upper leather tearing far more often than the gemming fail. Just my experience though.
Separate names with a comma.