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Sole Welting

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

  1. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Oh, many of them absolutely say that it is the best. Others just imply it in a politician's way of leading you towards a certain set of beliefs.

    Alden: http://aldenshoe.com/DrawOnePage.aspx?PageID=6 "The Goodyear-welt construction is far superior to any other shoemaking method..."

    Allen Edmonds: http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/AboutAECraftsmanship?catalogId=40000000001&langId=-1&storeId=1 "...the durability of a Goodyear-welted shoe is unmatched..."

    Crockett and Jones: http://www.crockettandjones.com/heritage they imply that it is better by saying that the company moved forward from hand-welting to "the superior construction process that we use today, called Goodyear-welted."

    Tricker's: http://www.trickers.com/art_shoe_make.htm "Tricker's Goodyear-welted shoes have been made in the same traditional way since 1829." Impossible, since Goodyear-welting wasn't invented until several decades later (but this implies unchanged quality). This one is also interesting, since Tricker's even offers a hand-welted shoe.

    Grenson: http://www.grenson.co.uk/en_us/how-we-make-our-shoes "All our shoes are Goodyear-welted....the product lasts longer than any other type of shoes."

    Red Wing: http://blog.redwingheritage.com/2012/08/02/goodyear-welt/ "Even today, well over 100 years later, it's still the sturdiest and most reliable way to finish a shoe or boot."

    Both Edward Green and Gaziano and Girling market their shoes as "the finest", which implies the best quality through and through (at least in my opinion, but this one is debatable I suppose).

    I don't have time to go through every maker out there, but I think the impression that Goodyear-welting is the best is nearly universally implied if not explicitly stated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    This is all interesting but moot...and a mis-interpretation of my point, deliberate or not.

    First off, shoe manufacturing is not on the decline it has simply moved away from Britain (and the US, etc.) so that manufacturers could exploit even lower paid, more desperate workers. Most of that offshore movement has been a conscious decision on the part of management to further reduce the cost of production and maximize profit...and no British jobs are added.

    Every business has to survive...I have to survive. But that doesn't mean that I have to cut quality to maximize profit..consider the word "maximize" it means to make it the first priority, to minimize every thing and every other consideration...

    I have to survive, but I don't have to knowingly build weaknesses into my shoes to survive. There is only one reason any maker, at any level, would do that--to cut the cost of production and to maximize profit.

    There is a machine, not GY, that cuts a channel and sews an inseam that is very like a handwelted inseam. Why don't your, oh, so altruistic and exemplary, manufactures go to that platform?

    I don't begrudge the manufactures their niche nor their profits, never have. They appeal to a less sophisticated set of sensibilities...

    And it's caveat, caveat, caveat emptor.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  3. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I would enjoy reading about that. Any chance you could link me to an online site or point me to some literature on this machine? What's it called?
     


  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well said.

    In a sense, factories are the enemies of the Trade as a whole...because they fire or pension off skilled makers and with their going, the knowledge is lost.

    In another sense...while factories may be the only practical solution to today's economies and demand for consumer goods...they are also the enemies of all of us. Because they squander and exploit the Traditions and the cultural heritage that we are all bequeathed.

    What is this whole discussion about, if not that?

    What is the standard of quality for a good shoe today? It is GY. Despite its weaknesses. Despite the dependencies on the factories for more pap--such as proprietary and exclusionary recrafting. We talk about handwelted...here...but nowhere else, really. The standard has slipped so far that some folks even consider "hand-welted Goodyear" to be a bona fide term / concept.

    And, as has repeatedly been acknowledged, many people didn't even know what gemming was until they read it here on SF.

    And they are shocked...shocked, I tell you...so much so that they become defensive and irreconcilably truculent.

    Tomorrow...Baker Leather will be a memory and hand-welting an urban myth...like "64 to the inch." Uppers will be made of Pleather or corrected grain leather and they will be extolled as the height of sinful extravagance and self-indulgence.

    All because we accept and embrace the dumb-downed standards of quality that the factories force-feed us.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well, in my mind it starts with "Yeah, right" which is why I quoted it. I guess I could have said "yeah, right" when Nick apologized several posts before. But I didn't. I didn't...even though I think I had / have reason to be suspicious of the sincerity of the apology.

    If I had, someone would have jumped in saying that that was the most despicable thing he had ever seen and another would have said "good info."

    And FWIW, in all the shoe repair shops I worked in across the years...not hundreds mind you...I never saw a GY inseaming machine. Inseams were always repaired by hand.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I've never seen the machine...just the results and had people in the Industry tell me about it. Don't even know what it's called Bengal Stripe might be in a better position to provide info on that.
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    So to the point and correct. Kudos to you.

    I've made it a point to never specifically criticize other makers...no matter if they are bespoke or RTW...but the "truth is out there."

    Part of the marketing deception...the wicked, wicked deception...that is slowly eroding our ability to appreciate quality or...really anything but ticky-tacky. Again, today, right today...the general impression is that GY represents the pinnacle of quality for shoes. It is the defacto standard now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  8. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    If manufacturers aren't wicked, who is perpetrating the wicked wicked wicked wicked deception?
     


  9. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It depends on how you look at it. In my case I was able to hire men that were laid-off (but mostly retired) from factories. In most cases tea added great contributions.
    I don't consider factories to enemies at all. But for them who would be capable of producing the needs of the world-wide foot-wear industry. They provide jobs. In many cases health care, feed families and, sometimes education to the younger gen.
    I mentioned in a post earlier some differences I have had with others in my industry. As a result (among other things) I decided to focus exclusively on high-end. Quite frankly I prefer to have a larger percentage of a very small market (high-end) than compete over a pair of heels (pretty much the rest of the industry). That's just to boring for me.
    In choosing this route I have gotten to meet and in many cases became personal friends w/many CEO's, President's, Managing Directors and, owners.
    From my experiences and conversations I have with them (and continue to do so) they have two very common elements about their view-point(s). That's aside from the true passion they all have for running their companies.
    1. They are keenly aware of their markets.
    2. How do they deliver their product within the price-point expected by their market?

    When I read and I hear these people being referred to as wicked, evil, ogres and I am aware of their goals and objectives and, I know them.
    I just shake my head.
    The world is an ever changing place and they change with it. Sometimes they lead the way as a result of their investment in R&D.
     


  10. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    ^^^ I added a few more GY-welted manufacturers to that list above, who claim that GY-welting is the best, for anyone interested.
     


  11. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    Considering that on both sides in this thread, we agree that hand welted is best. It makes you wonder how many of those companies you mentioned truly believe that GY is the superior construction method, and which ones understand the marketting in place...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  12. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Crafts and economics are two separate discussions.

    For any given price spec, shops with lower labor cost will always produce better shoes. Hand welted or Goodyear welted. Today it's Eastern Europe and China. Tomorrow it will be China and ASEAN.

    It is difficult to transition from mass production factory into artisanal shops, thus the rapid decline of British shoemaking factories.
     


  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Jeeze...no one really follows these discussions, do they? My remarks were a play off of Bengal-Stripe's remarks. He used the word "wicked."

    But you say "sometimes they lead the way as a result of their investment in R&D." Big deal. So what?! All their R&D is focused on ways to cut the costs of production and make "fallible" humans expendable or so interchangeable that they really don't count...or need to be paid as if they count. New, faster machines, cheaper materials, etc..
    Do they research new formulae for hand wax? I don't think so...they look for materials and techniques that will cut the cost of thread from pennies a yard to pennies a hundred foot.

    Someone asked "who is perpetuating the "wicked" (Bengal Stripe again, remember) deception?"

    Fact is, the correct answer is "You!"

    You and all those who buy into a dumbed down standard of quality and all the rest of the marketing hype.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014


  14. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Indeed.
     


  15. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

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    There will always be a place for hand welted shoes, as there will always be a place for every level of shoemaking craft out there. Bespoke, handmade suits haven't gone anywhere after all this time, despite the proliferation of cheap, fused suits from Asia and elsewhere. It will be the same for handwelted shoes. While their number have declined, they won't ever truly disappear I feel.
     


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