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Sole Welting

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

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :crackup:

    Various student have called me "magic hands" but never gorilla hands. My hands are relatively small and while pretty strong, I don't think I could bend a mild steel 60d nail with my hands alone.
     
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  2. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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    Well, Rider was right on the money with this. Here's the response I got from C&J:

    "Thank you for your email and keen interest in Crockett & Jones.

    Our shoes are handmade, and the nature of a handmade product is that you do get slight variations during our manufacturing process.

    This is not a design specific feature, but there can be a number of reasons for this occurring. It is actually not a bad thing to have in place, but only if it is a small gap, a larger gap can cause discomfort during wear. We also manufacture our heels in house using very durable leather lifts which again can have slight variations. It can also depending on the last, sole and type of heel.

    This problem can also occur more often with rubber soled shoes as there can be more spring (heel and toe) in a rubber through/sole combinations. You also have to bear in mind that a dainite heel is slight off the surface due to the studs, but again this should not be a large gap.

    If you have any further questions then please let us know."
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Really?! That's news to me. Seems inconsistent with the idea of it being a mistake from "rushed a bit through production."

    Honestly, what of substance is being said here? I agree with Ryder's observation but I don't think the response from the manufacturer contradicts it. Bottom line, it's a mistake...all the rest is just verbal window dressing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  4. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Handmade manufacturing. Nice. My iPhones are handmade manufactured too.
     
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  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Kind of like "hand sewn Goodyear." :tinfoil:
     
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  6. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    It was a very polite way of saying "we do not consider this severe enough to be a defect. We will not redo the heels. But thanks for your business. Aren't they great shoes?"

    If it really bothered someone, and the manufacturer would not "fix" it, could they just get a cobbler to level the heels?
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    That could possibly be worse than just leaving it the way it is. Without the original last there's no telling how the shoe originally sat and it's every bit a guess as to how much would need to be taken off or put on to make them even ord anywhere close to what was intended.

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  8. Nullson

    Nullson Well-Known Member

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    X post from Skoaktiebolget.

    I wonder how Enzo was able to hand welt the rubber sole on their Austerity boot? I remember hearing about another company having difficulty with hand welted rubber soles.
    Below is the Austerity boot in question.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Hand welting only applies to adding the welt, which is leather regardless of the composition of the outsole. On this pair of shoes I am pretty sure that the outsole is sewn to the welt with a machine.
     
  10. Kuro

    Kuro Senior member

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    Aubercy shoes are quite nice (notwithstanding the dumb description they are using for their hand-welted shoes).
     
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  11. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    DW,

    Thanks as always. Can you elaborate? If the rear of the heel is elevated when the shoe is sitting flat then is it more complicated than adding enough material to that part of the heel to make it level? Since the concern is raised regarding the appearance when the shoe is empty or with shoe trees, why would one need the original last?
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, it is. The shank is not entirely rigid and the outsole and upper are not ever rigid. If the hank is non-existent or made from wood or leather it will not be any more rigid than the outsole and if it is metal, it is often spring steel. But even if steel, the surrounding materials (the leather outsole, insole upper...even the heels stack) is not rigid. The shank, esp. if it is steel, is there to support the foot from an "unnatural" elevation through the waist/arch of the foot to the ball joint/treadline. And to preserve, within reason, the contours, of the last.

    But the fact that the shank is often made of leather or wood or spring steel combined with the fact that it it only effects a portion of the shoe, is indicative of the idea that it is not intended to make the shoe entirely rigid.

    What does this have to do with the price of wiener pigs, you ask? Well, if the shoe is flexible, then when the last is pulled, the metal shank...being just rigid enough...will "spring" the heel if the shank is not shaped properly to begin with. On the other hand, if the shank is wood or leather, then the first time the shoe is worn or even flexed, the carefully created bottom contour will be altered.

    A tree does not need to be ...probably should not be...either as tight or as precise, with regard to bottom contours, as a last. A tree cannot substitute for the original last. But even if it could, the minute the tree was pulled the same problems are recreated.

    So, once the last has been pulled and the heel spring noticed...there is no way to determine precisely how much spring in the heel or how much "fall" in the waist has been introduced by simply wearing the shoe. And do you walk heavier on one side of your body than the other? Many people...maybe most...do.

    Any attempt to level the heel without the original last inside the shoe, is a guessing game--it presumes knowledge that only the shoemaker has. What do you think the upshot would be if you took a shoe with errant heel spring and leveled it without using the original last? The chances or extremely high that one heel would end up being a little higher or lower than the other.

    And maybe more importantly, the bottom contour would be altered significantly. There is a reason shoes are made on lasts--those contours are critical to fit and comfort. If such considerations are going to be treated so cavalierly, it would be better to eliminate the heel altogether and stick with moccasins.

    Bottom line--the shoe is always in the process of becoming something other than what is was...even a short time ago. To return it to original intent requires the original conditions be set up...ie. the original last.

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  13. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Any competent cobbler can tell you that they balance heels on a regular basis without the original last.
     
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    What we need is a better definition of "competent"--one based on practical, hands-on experience of having actually made or repaired shoes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  15. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Same ole merry-go-round?
    So I guess what you are saying is when you did repairs you were never able to balance a heel because you did'nt have the original last?
     
  16. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Why? Does accurate information based on real experience make you dizzy?

    In point of fact, I tried very hard and deliberately not to disturb the balance of the shoe that came in the door....unless the customer was complaining that the heel was too high under the arch or something similar. Or the heel stack had been worn down so badly that I had to guess at where it was originally.

    But!...and it's a critical "but"...I always told the customer that without the original last, it was going to be a guess and nothing but a guess. I always figured that being honest about such tings and not pretending was the heart and soul of integrity.

    You can re-level the heel if the rear lateral corner is worn off pretty severely. You can re-level one heel to the same height as the other one, if it has lost a lift.

    But you cannot know for certain how the shoe originally set...with or without a spring...without the original last. And that's what the customer paid for--the shoe as it was originally. Not the shoe after you've guessed at what you think it should be or should have been.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  17. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I really don't care to engage in another round of shoe warfare.....
    But can you tell us how accurate your guessing ability is/was? My guess is with a simple thing like this it should be near 100%.
    I know my Guy's are pretty close to that mark.
     
  18. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    There's a simple but classic example of how this works or doesn't work--

    Man buys a pair of high heel shoes/boots. Call them cowboy boots for the sake of simplicity. The heel is set at/advertized as being 1-5/8".

    He goes "out with the wagon" and wears his heels down through the toplift and several more. And because he's on uneven ground, and because, like most folks, he favours one foot ever so slightly, one heel is worn more than the other.

    Now every shoe or boot is balanced according to how the heel sits when the forepart of the shoe is resting on the treadline. And it is important to understand that the treadline is a line, not a swath. [Some makers are very cavalier about respecting that line but that only increases the complexity of the problem facing us--we can't know where they decided to balance the shoe if they disrespect the true treadline.]

    Additionally, as lasts grade up or down, heel height varies a little--even if the last model is trapped at 1-5/8" for a size nine, the heel height will ordinarily be as much as 1-7/8" for a size 12. All relative to the treadline.

    How are you ever going to put this boot right? How are you ever going to build that boot back up to the original heel height? Very simply, how can you even know what that original heel height was? Much less know if the boot was built with a heel spring or set level when it was done?

    Hell, without the original last, you can't even know for certain where the treadline is.

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  19. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know---that's the nature of a "guess." In fact, it's very nearly the definition...

    And your guess is fundamentally just another way of saying "I don't know, I'm just speculating."

    Sure my guess was an "educated guess," but it's still a guess that is being critically influenced by the amount of wear and tear and distortion that the shoe has been subjected to as well as whether the cobbler had gas during the night and didn't get a good night's rest. Things that are out of the ken and control of the repairman, no matter how good he is.

    That said, I can explain why it will always be a guess and nothing more.

    On the other hand, in the absence of a clear and rational...read "logical"...explanation as to why a guess is "good enough," a lack of understanding has to be inferred.

    And if you don't want another round of "shoe warfare" then why contradict a detailed explanation I offered to another member--one that was directed to me by name?

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  20. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Then it would be my guess that you rarely if ever had a customer complain after you re-balanced a shoe without the original last.
    Maybe all of the shoe repair supply houses in the contry should be notified not to sell bases because without the original last they are useless.
     

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