• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Please visit ou very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are posted, including the latest, updated, very comprehensive, Styleforum Black Friday Sales List

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

DWFII

Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
9,985
Reaction score
5,343
I am trying to understand the benefits of handwelt vs goodyear.

Among others, one of the most important differences I've picked up is that goodyear welted shoes have a limited number of times they can be resoled, whereas handwelted shoes can be resoled many time more, or even forever.

One cobbler has told me goodyear welted shoes can be resoled maybe 3 times, which is not great.
Another has told me it is 20 times, which is practically forever.

So I'd like to ask some members who might have had longer experiences with goodyear welted shoes - how often, if ever, has it happened that a cobbler has told you that your goodyear welted shoes were no longer able to be resoled? How many times have you had a goodyear welted shoe resoled with no problem?

There's so many things that make handwelted superior...

As mentioned, GYW uses a much thinner insole. It doesn't even have to be (and often isn't) leather. A thicker leather insole not only cushions your feet from pebbles and rocks and gravel, in and of itself it makes a deeper more cushioning footbed. Without sacrificing the breathability of the shoe, nevermind the structural integrity.

The reason a HW shoe can be resoled so many more times is that each aspect was designed or eveolved to be either long-term durable or replaceable. No part of a GYW shoe can make the same claim to fame. Whether you resole a shoe once in a decade or once a year it is always more of a sure thing ...all other things being equal...with HW than GY. And if you find yourself in one of those situations where the first resole...coming three months after purchase...is necessitated because you walked in a puddle and wore a hole in a correspondingly marginal outsole (in the case of GYW), the foundation of the shoe (the insole, the construction materials as well as the techniques used to hold the shoe together) will always be more solid and more amenable to reconstruction if the shoe is HW than if it is GYW.

If none of that matters to you...drive on.
 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,013
Reaction score
2,737
There's so many things that make handwelted superior...

As mentioned, GYW uses a much thinner insole. It doesn't even have to be (and often isn't) leather. A thicker leather insole not only cushions your feet from pebbles and rocks and gravel, in and of itself it makes a deeper more cushioning footbed. Without sacrificing the breathability of the shoe, nevermind the structural integrity.

[...]
You often state this, would be interesting to know which GYW shoe brands you are talking about? I've seen and handled perhaps 150 brands of Goodyear welted shoes in my life, in all price ranges, I can't remember seeing anyone which hasn't had a real leather insole (and I do look inside more or less all shoes, most of the times lifting the sock liner as well). Thin, quite bad insoles can definitely be the case, especially in lower end GYW shoes. But leather board or paper board insoles I've never see (on Blake stitched shoes or fully cemented I see it often on cheaper brands, both half board/half leather ones and full board insoles), which I've always thought would be due to cementing the gemming to this material isn't working too well (I've heard it as an explanation some time, but never dug deeper into it since I've seen no reason to). So would really like to know which all these GYW brands that use board insoles are, that you continuously bring up, which I for some reason have missed completely?
 
Last edited:

DWFII

Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
9,985
Reaction score
5,343
Well, I have personally resoled or tried to resole maybe a thousands pairs (might be more) of GYW shoes in my career (50+ years). Although assuredly they weren't all cachet brand shoes. But then I wasn't getting paid to tout or shill or even review them for a blog, so the only interest I had in any of the shoes was just to get the job done and return the shoe to as close to the original condition (or at least functional condition) as possible. Unlike some, I wasn't keeping score or taking note of brands, not even to write about it in later years.

You can doubt my word, call me a heretic, and dismiss what I say but if you think about it, it's an inevitable progression. If you really and truly understand the process and what is required to put together a GYW shoe, nothing else is needed...nothing one iota grander than leatherboard or paperboard. And what costs the least will be used the most.

Beyond all that, of all the points I made in the above post (and I tried to keep it short and sweet) that one was the most incidental...although admittedly the one most easily quibbled with.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
18,799
Reaction score
44,354
I have GYW shoes with board insoles, but they live in Canada.
 

bdavro23

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
2,580
Reaction score
2,718
You often state this, would be interesting to know which GYW shoe brands you are talking about? I've seen and handled perhaps 150 brands of Goodyear welted shoes in my life, in all price ranges, I can't remember seeing anyone which hasn't had a real leather insole (and I do look inside more or less all shoes, most of the times lifting the sock liner as well). Thin, quite bad insoles can definitely be the case, especially in lower end GYW shoes. But leather board or paper board insoles I've never see (on Blake stitched shoes or fully cemented I see it often on cheaper brands, both half board/half leather ones and full board insoles), which I've always thought would be due to cementing the gemming to this material isn't working too well (I've heard it as an explanation some time, but never dug deeper into it since I've seen no reason to). So would really like to know which all these GYW brands that use board insoles are, that you continuously bring up, which I for some reason have missed completely?
Allen Edmonds
 

boot_owl

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2017
Messages
557
Reaction score
620
You often state this, would be interesting to know which GYW shoe brands you are talking about? I've seen and handled perhaps 150 brands of Goodyear welted shoes in my life, in all price ranges, I can't remember seeing anyone which hasn't had a real leather insole (and I do look inside more or less all shoes, most of the times lifting the sock liner as well). Thin, quite bad insoles can definitely be the case, especially in lower end GYW shoes. But leather board or paper board insoles I've never see (on Blake stitched shoes or fully cemented I see it often on cheaper brands, both half board/half leather ones and full board insoles), which I've always thought would be due to cementing the gemming to this material isn't working too well (I've heard it as an explanation some time, but never dug deeper into it since I've seen no reason to). So would really like to know which all these GYW brands that use board insoles are, that you continuously bring up, which I for some reason have missed completely?
rm williams comfort craftsman have a non leather insole. I was shocked too
 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,013
Reaction score
2,737
Well, I have personally resoled or tried to resole maybe a thousands pairs (might be more) of GYW shoes in my career (50+ years). Although assuredly they weren't all cachet brand shoes. But then I wasn't getting paid to tout or shill or even review them for a blog, so the only interest I had in any of the shoes was just to get the job done and return the shoe to as close to the original condition (or at least functional condition) as possible. Unlike some, I wasn't keeping score or taking note of brands, not even to write about it in later years.

You can doubt my word, call me a heretic, and dismiss what I say but if you think about it, it's an inevitable progression. If you really and truly understand the process and what is required to put together a GYW shoe, nothing else is needed...nothing one iota grander than leatherboard or paperboard. And what costs the least will be used the most.

Beyond all that, of all the points I made in the above post (and I tried to keep it short and sweet) that one was the most incidental...although admittedly the one most easily quibbled with.
I haven't needed to keep track either, since as I said I haven't found one (at least not that I can remember). But can't you say any brand(s) that you found it on, or how common it was?

As you know I'm one who always states that hand welted is superior to Goodyear welted in basically all ways (and agreed with all apart from this, so no point in bringing that up), but that doesn't mean one should spread info about something regarding the latter that isn't correct either. I haven't commented on it before, but as I said you've brought it up several times (also always stating that "it's common" etc, to say that "it happens" or something like that would be different IMO), so now I figured I should ask, mainly since I was interested to know.

Allen Edmonds
rm williams comfort craftsman have a non leather insole. I was shocked too
Yeah that's quite interesting, I know for sure I've checked a bunch of shoes from both (not sure of which of all the RMW models exactly, but should be the same for all I presume) who have had full leather insoles, but it could be that they have moved over to leather board in recent years then. Big shame for sure.
 
Last edited:

DWFII

Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
9,985
Reaction score
5,343
but that doesn't mean one should spread info about something regarding the latter that isn't correct either.
Why would you suggest that I would "spread info" that wasn't "correct?" I don't have a habit nor, I trust, a reputation for doing that.

I do (I hope) have a reputation for speaking authentically from long and extensive first hand experience.

When I first got started in this business I supported my making habit by repairing. I seldom noticed, or even took interest in, if the truth be known, the brand name. Each pair of shoes was a problem that needed to be solved, that's all--that's what all 'craftsmen' do.

Beyond all that and just as an additional observation about GYW...while I may not have been dealing with cachet brand shoes on a regular basis all those years ago, it is pretty easy to state unequivocally that " In terms of construction techniques, there is no significant difference between low end GYW and high end GYW. And in terms of materials, it is only a difference of degree...which invariably and over time tends to equalize across the spectrum in favour of the least expensive materials."

IOW, what Redwing was using five years ago, AE is using today, and Trickers will be using five years from now (names pulled from the hat and just for purposes of explanation).
 
Last edited:

boot_owl

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2017
Messages
557
Reaction score
620
I haven't needed to keep track either, since as I said I haven't found one (at least not that I can remember). But can't you say any brand(s) that you found it on, or how common it was?

As you know I'm one who always states that hand welted is superior to Goodyear welted in basically all ways (and agreed with all apart from this, so no point in bringing that up), but that doesn't mean one should spread info about something regarding the latter that isn't correct either. I haven't commented on it before, but as I said you've brought it up several times (also always stating that "it's common" etc, to say that "it happens" or something like that would be different IMO), so now I figured I should ask, mainly since I was interested to know.





Yeah that's quite interesting, I know for sure I've checked a bunch of shoes from both (not sure of which of all the RMW models exactly, but should be the same for all I presume) who have had full leather insoles, but it could be that they have moved over to leather board in recent years then. Big shame for sure.
not all RMW models use it - I believe the regular craftsmans have a leather insole. A friend of mine is a cobbler and said the comfort craftsman insole is‘3m foam over leatherboard’. I know RMW sales people describe it as a comfort insole but I wouldn’t necessarily trust the retail staff to use the right vernacular.
 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,013
Reaction score
2,737
Why would you suggest that I would "spread info" that wasn't "correct?" I don't have a habit nor, I trust, a reputation for doing that.

I do (I hope) have a reputation for speaking authentically from long and extensive first hand experience.

When I first got started in this business I supported my making habit by repairing. I seldom noticed, or even took interest in, if the truth be known, the brand name. Each pair of shoes was a problem that needed to be solved, that's all--that's what all 'craftsmen' do.

Beyond all that and just as an additional observation about GYW...while I may not have been dealing with cachet brand shoes on a regular basis all those years ago, it is pretty easy to state unequivocally that " In terms of construction techniques, there is no significant difference between low end GYW and high end GYW. And in terms of materials, it is only a difference of degree...which invariably and over time tends to equalize across the spectrum in favour of the least expensive materials."

IOW, what Redwing was using five years ago, AE is using today, and Trickers will be using five years from now (names pulled from the hat and just for purposes of explanation).
I beg to differ. IMO, when it comes to factory-made shoes, you are doing just that, "spread info that [isn't] correct", repeatedly. And you just did. And this is a problem I think, since you have high reputation with an obvious knowledge when it comes to handmade shoes, bespoke shoes and shoe history, people listen to you also in cases where you talk about things you don't know as much about. And to me, it's quite evident that you don't know the current GYW business that well, it's been evident many times, both when it comes to things like facts on the products, of how production is run and how the business is run. It's perfectly fine, no one can know "everything", but it's that you lay it out as you know "everything" that is the problem, IMO.

To use the latest case, to say that GYW makers "invariably and over time tends to equalize across the spectrum in favour of the least expensive materials" is wrong. To say that "IOW, what Redwing was using five years ago, AE is using today, and Trickers will be using five years from now (names pulled from the hat and just for purposes of explanation)" is wrong. I know it is, since I run a GYW shoe brand myself, I work very, very close with two factories making other GYW shoe brands, I've worked with other brands before, and I've been in many other factories in Europe, Japan and the US, talking with the business owners, the factory managers and so on, these people "who are only after making money and take shortcuts" as you usually put it. And you are simply wrong.

In most cases, they try to make the best shoes they can for the price point and market segment they aim to be in. That does not necessarily mean taking shortcuts all the time. Lots of brands choose to raise prices instead of declining the product, if needed, since they don't want to put out a less good product than what they always have done. And if doing better shoes means more pleased customers that is what will make money, and that is what please people working there, to be able to make an even better shoe after finding ways to improve things.

There's many concrete examples, like Loake switching from leather board midsoles to real leather, from plastic stiffeners to leather board in their 1880 Export Grade. Andres Sendra only used plastic heel stiffeners in their factory before, they now use leather board for many of their shoes. A brand I worked with, Italigente, had a shitty foam insert, they exchanged that to cork. With TLB Mallorca who I work with now the decision to use real leather heel stiffeners when introducing a new range, same thing with sanding the sole edges by hand, it's examples of offering something rare in the price segment they are in, even if not needed, but it gives an edge over others, meaning it's good business to make something that is better, more expensive, not cheaper, less expensive. And so on, and so on.

There's of course a lot of exceptions, where brands take shortcuts and decline their products to be able to cut costs (I've called out many brands on this on the blog over the years), and there's of course people working in shoe factories who couldn't care less about the products, they are just there to bring in a salary. But don't tar everyone with the same brush. If we were to bash on bespoke shoemakers for the worst examples out there, it would be pretty shitty business as well. But it isn't. The same way the GYW industry in general isn't.

As I said, I am these people, I work with these people, I meet with them, I know their aims and I know you in many, many cases are wrong with your statements. You don't, yet you are the one "telling the truth" when bashing a whole industry where there's so many people who are just as dedicated as you are to produce something of value. They don't make the best shoes in the world, for sure, and they are very well aware of it. But again, many indeed try to make the best shoes they can in their price segment and market share. I've said it so many times: everyone can't buy the best shoes in the world, we need to have other ranges as well. And within those, to have brands that make the most of it, we certainly have. That is the reality, always has been, always will be.

You often talk about how people should "get their hands dirty" before they can really say how things work. So, in this case, how many shoe factories have you worked with, or at least visited (and recently)? How many GYW shoe brands have you run, or at least how many business owners of GYW brands have you talked and discussed thoroughly their ambitions with? What makes you correct in your statements, and me wrong?


not all RMW models use it - I believe the regular craftsmans have a leather insole. A friend of mine is a cobbler and said the comfort craftsman insole is‘3m foam over leatherboard’. I know RMW sales people describe it as a comfort insole but I wouldn’t necessarily trust the retail staff to use the right vernacular.
Ah ok I see. Yeah there's some examples where "new special constructions" instead just means doing something in a worse way cheaper. It can feel good at first, but isn't in the long run. Some examples of "Goodyear flex" systems are the same, just a way to come off cheaper and when people experience them as more comfortable when they first put them on the feet they think it's a good thing, even if it would be way worse a couple of years down the line (complicating things here though is the fact that some versions of Goodyear flex are instead actual improvements of GYW, done without gemming with welting directly to the insole, so very hard for customers to know what is what).
 
Last edited:

ntempleman

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
1,867
not all RMW models use it - I believe the regular craftsmans have a leather insole. A friend of mine is a cobbler and said the comfort craftsman insole is‘3m foam over leatherboard’. I know RMW sales people describe it as a comfort insole but I wouldn’t necessarily trust the retail staff to use the right vernacular.
that red thing on the Instagram post isn’t an insole though, is it? It’s just a foam”sock” that’s been stuck on top of the actual insole by the look of it. An insole has a structural job to do, actually replacing one is a task beyond most repairers and most often beyond the realms of cost efficiency for rtw shoes.
 

boot_owl

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2017
Messages
557
Reaction score
620
that red thing on the Instagram post isn’t an insole though, is it? It’s just a foam”sock” that’s been stuck on top of the actual insole by the look of it. An insole has a structural job to do, actually replacing one is a task beyond most repairers and most often beyond the realms of cost efficiency for rtw shoes.
he removed the adhesive foam from on top of the insole which he told me was leatherboard. I confirmed with him that the gemming was attached to a leatherboard insole and that he was not just referring to the insert
 

DWFII

Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
9,985
Reaction score
5,343
Not going to pursue this...it is a bespoke shoe thread...beyond this post pointing out that every major cachet brand GYW maker that has been in business long enough to add "Est. xxx (any time frame that makes adding that phrase anything but ridiculous)..." began as a handwelted operation and without any exception that I know of has never gone back to handwelting beyond pro forma once they have made the move to industrialization and GYW/RTW. And some of the newer RTW outfits that more or less began as GYW and have pretty high reputations despite that, have even begun adding lines that use cheaper materials and cheaper techniques...thinking of one that recently announced a line of cement sole construction shoes.

This is part of the problem with people who work, live or kowtow to the fashion industry--they have no perspective. They live in the moment or the latest fashion trend and focus most of their attention on creating rationales as to why it matters.

As said and implied, "insoles have a structural job to do"...one that is, at some fundamental level, critical for HW work, but not so much for GY. It truly doesn't matter what the insole is made of for GY. If it is foam, the company's PR division and the blog writers will call it "comfortable". If it is paper or leatherboard they will write that the shoe is lightweight and flexible and has a cork filler to make a footbed. And if it is thin leather they will say it is 'high quality" (compared to what?!). And the customer doesn't know and doesn't care because the effort to "normalize" 'shoddy' is so pervasive. But that's the fundamental Achilles heel right there because it makes it easy and acceptable to downgrade at every turn and whenever the profit margin starts to get tight.

In the end, you can't make money off of truth...esp. not writing about it...there's not that many people interested in it.

I have been in this business for 50 years +/- and have focused on examining and analyzing and exploring the strengths and weaknesses of techniques and materials relevant to shoemaking--"without mercy, without compassion, without remorse." That's what a Shoemaker does. I have handled and worked with both GYW and HW shoes...up close and personal...not just listened to, or palled around with, people who have a vested interest in promoting / defending a product. I don't echo or parrot a point of view without taking it apart and examining it piece by piece.

I know several good, rational, objective individuals who are, or began as, shoemakers and own RTW outfits or represent the Industry. A relatively famous British fellow who has spent years advising RTW manufacturers and would-be entrepreneurs comes to mind. You can't single-mindedly devote your life and attention to the Trade for 50+ years without knowing them. Some are defensive to a fault; some are objective enough to admit...if only in their more unguarded moments...that they wish it were otherwise but bottom line "the money is the thing." Some even keep their hand in "for old times sake" If you, yourself are objective enough, you learn from both--you may not always like what you learn but you learn..

And you learn from history (which, in the end, is itself just a compendium of all the lessons learned by human beings) you don't live for the moment or the penny-a-ride cheap thrills.
 
Last edited:

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
449,113
Messages
9,721,931
Members
202,914
Latest member
adidastic
Top