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DWFII

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Feels like we talk pass each other every single time when stuff like this bring up.
Well, sometimes I get to looking at the bigger picture...it's symptom of age, I suspect. That and the fact that looking at the bigger picture is essential to objectivity...and perhaps even authenticity.

But, from where I stand, everything I just said is pertinent and spot on. And consistent with who I am, my perspectives, and what I've been saying for nearly half a century not just the last 12 years.

Maybe it's just slowing down enough that we aren't rushing past each other...or just realizing that the rushing itself is the problem. It all relates.
 
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j ingevaldsson

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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.
Well, ok you are not pursuing it further, but would have been interesting to have you answer and have your actual thoughts to at least some of the things I brought up in my post. As Clee states, you do a lot, but not that. If you would take the time to read it through again and make an effort to see what I write, and reply to that, it would be interesting and appreciated. To help out a bit, the fact that you have 50+ years as a bespoke shoe and bootmaker does not answer any of it (if you would have 50+ years running a GYW factory, then we would be talkin' :) ).
 
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acapaca

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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)...
I'd love to hear more about this, if you can share it. I'm one of those who seems to buy these kinds of shoes more to own them than to wear them, meaning my experience with resoling is next to nil. But I certainly want to avoid premature wear if I can! What's this about walking in a puddle wrecking the sole? I mean, I guess I've always figured that getting the leather wet surely can't be a good thing, but I didn't expect it to be that dangerous. Should I be looking to get out of the shoes immediately if I get the soles wet? Or any other measures I could take, or things to look out for? Many thanks!
 

DWFII

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I did read it through several times. TBH, I came away thinking what I thought the first time--it's quibbling.

I don't work with GYW makers, but by the same token I don't have a dog in that fight. No reason or anything to gain by defending the Industry. That said, my 50+ years isn't nothing (esp. if you re-read the things I done and experienced in those halcyon and intervening 50 years).

By the same standards if you had 50 years in either the Industry or the Trade your remarks might be more relevant, or a little less self-serving at the very least..

To the OP's question, take a shoe that has just been handwelted, nothing else. Add a temporary but appropriate heel. Pull the last and wear the 'shoe' around on rough wet concrete.The chances are good that it will last months before it gets a hole in the insole and the inseam may not even be affected. Not only that, but it will probably be relatively waterproof throughout this exercise. And it will make a footbed. It's a shoe.

Take a GYW shoe that has just been welted...regardless of whether the insole is leather or leatherboard...and wear it around the same wet concrete. It may not last a day. and without the cork filler it won't make a footbed even if the insole is leather. It's a wish-and-a-prayer construct that may become something similar to a shoe....when it grows up.

If "insoles have a structural job to do." Somebody's slacking.

Finally, I would observe that if you understand and accept that HW produces a better, more structurally sound, more durable shoe than GYW (as you say you do), I don't know how you can say, with a straight face, that you are trying to make a better shoe...or even the best shoe you can (at any price point)...if you continue to GYW.

Innocence (and even ignorance) can never be regained once you eat the apple of the knowledge of good and evil. It's sophistry, pure and simple.

IMPO....
 
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DWFII

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I'd love to hear more about this, if you can share it. I'm one of those who seems to buy these kinds of shoes more to own them than to wear them, meaning my experience with resoling is next to nil. But I certainly want to avoid premature wear if I can! What's this about walking in a puddle wrecking the sole? I mean, I guess I've always figured that getting the leather wet surely can't be a good thing, but I didn't expect it to be that dangerous. Should I be looking to get out of the shoes immediately if I get the soles wet? Or any other measures I could take, or things to look out for? Many thanks!

Wet leather wears away quicker than dry...esp. on rough concrete. If you get them wet, my recommendation is to, yes, get out of them sooner rather than later.

On another note, (I might have said this before) shoes evolved to be resolable...theoretically indefinitely (ask Prince Charles. Shoes today are, like most consumer goods, more and more disposable--that's why GYW and other expediancies have so much currency.
 

j ingevaldsson

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I did read it through several times. TBH, I came away thinking what I thought the first time--it's quibbling.

I don't work with GYW makers, but by the same token I don't have a dog in that fight. No reason or anything to gain by defending the Industry. That said, my 50+ years isn't nothing (esp. if you re-read the things I done and experienced in those 50 years).

By the same standards if you had 50 years in either the Industry or the Trade your remarks might be more relevant.

Take a shoe that has just been handwelted, nothing else. Add a temporary but appropriate heel. Pull the last and wear the 'shoe' around on rough wet concrete.The chances are good that it will last months before it gets a hole in the insole and the inseam may not even be affected. Not only that, but it will probably be relatively waterproof throughout this exercise. And it will make a footbed. It's a shoe.

Take a GYW shoe that has just been welted...regardless of whether the insole is leather or leatherboard...and wear it around the same wet concrete. It may not last a day. and without the cork filler it won't make a footbed even if the insole is leather. It's a wish-and-a-prayer construct that may become something similar to a shoe....when it grows up.

If "insoles have a structural job to do." Somebody's slacking.

Finally, I would observe that if you understand and accept that HW produces a better, more structurally sound, more durable shoe than GYW (as you say you do), I don't know how you can say, with a straight face, that you are trying to make a better shoe...or even the best shoe you can (at any price point)...if you continue to GYW.

Innocence (and even ignorance) can never be regained once you eat the apple of the knowledge of good and evil. It's sophistry, pure and simple.

IMPO....
If you "don't have a dog in that fight", why are you bashing a whole industry then? Why are you bashing people who dedicate their lives to have a GYW business running, despite it being an extremely tough industry with low margins and fierce competition? Why are you bashing the folks that spend nights and weekends in the factory (yes, there sure are those, out there, in the "real world") to solve some small issue that will make their shoes look a small notch better than before? Why is that ok?

The problem with your argument here is that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who have been walking in their Goodyear welted shoes for 10-15 even 20 years time, thousands upon thousands of wears in often harsh conditions, and so on. If it's "a wish-and-a-prayer construct that may become something similar to a shoe", they sure as hell prayed to the right Gods... (and please stop bringing up these shoe collectors who "never wears their shoes", they are so very few persons that they are totally irrelevant.)

Regarding why makers just don't hand welt their shoes instead of GYW "at any price point", is this a serious question? You are fully aware of the costs that hand welting incurs, so I don't get if you are just trying to be provocative or what the point is. Take a €200 shoe, if one were to hand welt that in say the UK, the rest of the shoe would have to be made of disposed plastic bags or something to keep the same price level, and I'm not sure that this shoe would last that long, be it on wet concrete or not. Which shoe would be the best for the wearer? Best for the person who already think that €200 is an astonishing amount to spend on a pair of shoes, but who finally took the plunge to get their first pair of welted footwear, since they DO last long if cared for, they CAN be resoled, they ARE made in relatively good circumstances of materials from animals that lived at least decent lives.

I cherish everyone who take that decision, I'm not a fool thinking that we could live in a world where everyone walked around in their hand welted locally made bespoke shoes (you have constantly avoided, also before, explaining how you actually think things, realistically, should be when it comes to this matter? I would honestly really like to know!).
You talk about "ignorance" and "seeing the bigger picture". That is seeing the bigger picture, if anything.

IMO...
 
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DWFII

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So, it's all about the bottom line--price. Which, in anyone's world, is not the same as "better or best they can." Unless you're really talking about better profits.

Which kind of makes my point.
 
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acapaca

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So, it's all about the bottom line--price. Which, in anyone's world, is not the same as "better or best they can." Unless you're really talking about better profits.

Which kind of makes my point.
Is it your idea that all GYW makers could...let's say, for argument's sake, 'do the right thing' and handwelt the shoes...if they were just willing to give up some of their profits? Or at least, that they could have held firm on the handwelting in the first place, were it not for the chasing of profits, in which case we wouldn't be in the shape we're in now, where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting the gemming and glue?
 

DWFII

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Is it your idea that all GYW makers could...let's say, for argument's sake, 'do the right thing' and handwelt the shoes...if they were just willing to give up some of their profits? Or at least, that they could have held firm on the handwelting in the first place, were it not for the chasing of profits, in which case we wouldn't be in the shape we're in now, where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting the gemming and glue?
I don't think any of the GYW makers could shift back if they wanted to--their shareholders wouldn't allow it and more practically their SOPs couldn't be altered enough to make it practical. Not to mention the fact that people who welt by hand and last by hand are few and far between anymore. They were mostly all pensioned off and never passed their knowledge onwards. In some instances the materials are no longer there either. it would upset and probably destroy whole national economies to even try.

As for your next line of reasoning, the answer is "yes." But at the same time there was a huge fascination with anything mechanical and new during and after the Industrial Revolution. It was probably unavoidable, given human nature.

But none of that is the point, the point is the sophistry, the equivocation, the rationalization. The deceptive advertising and the self-serving defensiveness. And above all the self-deception that frantically dismisses the whole issue of 'better' or 'best' with arguments that, fundamentally, are all about profit margins and the bottom line masquerading as "affordability." .
 

clee1982

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well lots of small ish chinese factory moved from blake to gyw to hw in less than a decade, so at least it's getting pretty easy to buy sub $1k hw these days...
 

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