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The Manly Art of Thrifting Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by PointDexter2014, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Chogall, I was saying the insole is not the footbed. I think that for shoes w/ cork it's both the cork and the thin (relative to a shoe w/o cork, as bespoke shoes often are) footbed that compress.

    DieWW, I think you're right that few shoes discussed here use thick leather and instead use cork. Afaik, only custom shoes use thick insoles. But I wouldn't say the point is moot. Cork probably rebounds better than leather, but I'm sure it still takes lasting impressions. The used shoes I've had that use cork had imprints in them when I got them (even old Florsheims of my grandfather that hadn't been worn for years). And I don't know how much they've changed from my wear if at all.

    What he said about leather workers stamping permanent impressions certainly drove the point home to me about leather, whether used for a thick or a thin footbed. I used to do leather tooling for a hobby as a teenager. That was 25 yrs ago, and that stuff all looks like it did right after I stamped it then.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. lalaland

    lalaland Well-Known Member

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    Well, that answers that! :)
     
  3. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Emptym, I agree cork forms a lasting impression. I just don't know if it doesn't reform with enough wear. My guess is that it does, but it's just a guess.

    I buy that leather doesn't reform, but saying that a lasting impression on a pre-worn insole can cause medical problems seems iffy to me. Partly because I somewhat doubt anyone has studied this, and partly because - as you know - drawing out a causal relationship over a long time frame is very difficult.

    The claim about foot diseases is probably easier to make because 1) people have presumably studied this and 2) the outcome from the "treatment" (here being wearing used shoes) happens in a much shorter time period (I assume).
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  4. tielec01

    tielec01 Member

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Some solid gold in this thread:

    One million points to the person who can show us what an 'unnatural' shift in bone alignment is. I hear that it can only be fixed by a vigorous Reiki massage program, followed by an astrological cleansing.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DWFII [​IMG]


    I'm not going to pursue this because you're right, no amount of facts will change people's minds once they've decided.

    But I will say this...what you're proposing is indeed based on "feelings"; what I'm telling you is based on many, many years of experience and knowledge.


    Oh dear; perhaps your (considerable) competence in shoe construction doesn't quite make you an expert on human physiology or microbiology DWF. Certainly, one's mind remains open, has anyone here read any papers recently on people being crippled by unnatural shifts in bone alignment?
     
    2 people like this.
  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I was saying that the insole is the footbed.

    Even my seven years old all leather flip flops does get imprints on the insole.

    I have handled bespoke shoes with half length sock liners and can tell you that insoles do get deformed or been pressed into the shape of the owners feet.

    No science. Just experience.
     
  6. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    DWW, I think you're right that cork shifts to some degree. In fact, I imagine leather insoles/footbeds will reshape to some degree, but I think they would only compress in areas that haven't been compressed.

    TL0, DW hasn't made shoes in a vacuum for 40 years. He's made them for people. People have bones and diseases. As a good shoe/bootmaker, he would be expected to know things about things closely related to shoe/bootmaking.

    Chogall, I think the first part's disagreement is caused simply by how we're using the terms. In fact, it seems as though DW was using it differently from how I was even. (He seems to have been saying the footbed is the impression of the foot that forms in any material.) In any case, my point when distinguishing the two was that the part where the foot rests in the shoe gets formed to the foot and one can insert another layer of something (ex: gel by Dr. Scholls or leather and foam by Tacco) but the part that lies underneath that insert will still be formed to another's foot.

    So I think we agree on the rest (flip flop, etc.)
     
  7. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    That has been my understanding of the term "footbed." Your foot forms it's own bed in whatever medium it is provided, be it a heavy leather insole in a hand-welted shoe, a thin leather insole with cork underneath it in a Goodyear-welted shoe, and so on. Hence, two people with the same pair of shoes, will have different footbeds.

    DWF doesn't deal with Goodyear-welted shoes, so his (highly relevant) experience is applicable to hand-welted shoes with thick leather insoles that a hold-fast can be carved from for inseaming (as opposed to the gemming that is stuck to the bottom for Goodyear-welted shoes). The insoles of hand-welted shoes are best cut from the shoulder area, and are quite thick (~9 irons, but upwards of 10-11 irons as well, which is close to 1/4 inch). The best shoulder leather for insoles has a very long loose fiber character, as opposed to a densely compressed fiber character.

    The footbed that results from Goodyear-welted shoes, I would be willing to bet a lot of money on, has absolutely nothing to do with the leather insole. The leather insoles in high quality Goodyear-welted shoes are very densely fibered cuts (not sure where they are cut from), and are probably around half of the thickness of a hand-welted insole. I'd be willing to bet that if you were to lay an insole from a Goodyear-welted shoe flat on the floor and stand on it for a prolonged period of time (not that anyone would ever do this), it would form very little if any impression. Rather, the cork underneath it is what is being shaped. I agree with everyone above that the cork will be somewhat willing to reshape with a new wearer, and for that matter, when the cork is replaced during resoling, you may be able to form a new footbed to a certain extent. However, I think that the insole in a Goodyear-welted shoe does form a bit of a "memory" of sorts, in that it "hardens" in place to the shape of the wearer's foot over time and contact with salty perspiration (think of it in a similar way that a belt ends up with lasting impressions in it and it starts to take on a permanent curve after being worn for a long period of time). But, I don't think that's a result of the fiber character that is desirable from hand-welted insoles. Rather, it is the entire piece of leather that is bending and shaping instead of just the fibers themselves. Since Goodyear-welted shoes have a void underneath them that is filled with cork, the insole will have more room for movement. Thus, I don't think that the original wearer's impression will ever be completely removed, even with replacing the cork. In well made hand-welted shoes, there is little or no void under the insole, so the hard outsole is butted up against the bottom of the insole, not allowing movement.

    I think DWF's description of what happens with hand-welted leather insoles makes perfect sense. Similarly, the notion that having your foot improperly aligned inside the shoe due to unnatural positioning probably has a lot of merit. I can't vouch for the bones of the feet, but I can vouch for the same concept when it comes to knees and hips. Osteoarthritis starts to manifest in middle aged people after accumulated years of improper walking or gait. Also, years of accumulated impact on the joints starts to manifest as Osteoarthritis in middle age (genetics do play a role in how soon it can start). In people with sports injuries, it can set in far quicker. Once you start to feel pain in a knee or hip, it is often too late to do anything about it, because it has been a slow process that has taken decades to set in. Poor posture doesn't bother you when you are young either, but when you are old, accumulated effects start to set in and cause back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  8. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    While bunions and Haglund's deformities are more extreme cases of foot issues that result from improper shoes, they are nevertheless examples of how the foot can respond to long term issues. I realize that an impression in an insole seems like a much more minor thing to consider, but it's food for thought.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haglund's_deformity

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunion

    I had a pair of penny loafers a while back that I loved the look of (I bought them new). As I broke them in, they started to feel slightly loose. Subconsciously, I started to "grip" the inside of the shoe with my toes slightly, by curling them a little when I was walking so that my heels wouldn't slip when I was walking fast. By the end of the day (just walking around the office), my feet would be in pain simply because of an "unnatural" habit of how I was positioning my toes during walking.
     
    1 person likes this.

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