Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.
Jermyn is correct above. Crat, there is certainly a lot of confusion with terminology, and it has only really been cleared up in the last couple of years. Even here in Style Forum, there are older threads in which DWF, Ron Rider, and some other experts are debating what sounds true based on terminology, vs. what is actually true when it comes to shoe construction.
Patrick, you are correct with what you said as well.
The facts are actually fairly simple.
Goodyear-welting and Hand-welting are mutually exclusive. Jermyn's analogy of the automatic vs. manual transmission is fair.
The crucial difference lies with how the insole is prepared for inseaming. Goodyear-welted shoes use a thin leather or alternative material (leather or fiberboard) insole, and canvas gemming is applied to the bottom. The gemming serves as the foundation for stitching the upper and welt.
In hand-welted shoes, a thicker leather insole is used (thicker by necessity because it has to have enough thickness to carve a holdfast from). The hold fast is used for inseaming as described above.
I know we all know the difference between these types of constructions at this point, as everyone in this discussion is well versed in shoes.
Therefore, just remember that Goodyear-welting is nothing more than the Industrial Revolution's impact on shoe making. A welted shoe is using a centuries old method of shoe construction. Goodyear-welting was invented during the latter half of the 1800's as a method of using machines to replicate what had been done by hand. Charles Goodyear didn't come up with a genius new way of making shoes, from a certain point of view. Rather, he cheapened a tried and true method by weakening the components of the shoe to allow for machines to be employed.
The manufacturers that call their shoes hand-welted Goodyear are either confused on history, terminology, or both. OR, they are using the term Goodyear as a catch-phrase because of it's "reputation" to serve as a selling point for their shoes. Nobody can argue that Goodyear-welting is considered the "gold-standard" in shoe making these days. Thus, they may be using the term to attract people who don't know much about shoes but they know that Goodyear-welting is the standard that all other shoes are compared against (by the general public who isn't well versed in these matters).
+10 for MoneyWellSpent
My understanding of the Goodyear process is that originally, it is as you described pB. The machine would cut its own holdfast from the insole (by slicing the insole and rotating the flap up to allow it to be stitched too), then the shoe was lasted and the welt stitched as normal. Over time, the canvas rib beat out the original process due to cost factors (one would assume). You then have hand welted shoes which use a different method to create their holdfast, using a thicker insole and carving a pair of grooves, which are then used to attach the welt. There are some fantastic photos of this process throughout the forum, but most notable in Nutcrackers Japanese shoemaker thread.
Happy to be corrected if need be, but this is my understanding of the progression of the process.
EDIT: Beaten to it, it looks like. Good explanation by MWS on some of the nuances.
Crat, in addition to my post I just submitted, I would also reference this photo above as being a gemmed Goodyear-welted shoe in the same way that the JM Weston photo is (from my original post). This photo from Bontoni, is showing the original method for Goodyear-welted insole preparation. It is a thin leather insole, with a cut and turned leather feather, reinforced by canvas.
See this video which is showing the exact same thing:
This method has largely fallen out of favor and has been replaced by the canvas rib that pretty much all English and American Goodyear-welted shoe manufacturers employ. I will remember going forward that Bontoni apparently uses the "old" Goodyear-welted method in addition to JM Weston.
This is correct. The issue is (and it is what really grates on DWF's nerves) is that most people assume now days that Goodyear-welted shoes were the original method of welted shoe construction, and that hand-welted shoes are a newer "niche" way of making shoes that are just very expensive. In reality, is the other way around. Hand-welting is centuries old. Goodyear-welting is far newer by comparison, and is simply using machines to replicate an old-world hand crafted way of doing things properly.
I think my brain is full now.
It's also interesting how deep this rabbit hole goes. It is actually even more convoluted than most realize. Charles Goodyear, Jr. didn't really invent much (if anything). Also, there isn't really one machine that is called a "Goodyear" machine, contrary to popular belief. Rather, Goodyear-welting is a system for making welted shoes with machines.
Christian Dancel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Dancel) is probably the most influential inventor of machines that are used in Goodyear-welting, but a quick glance at the patent holding for the Goodyear Shoe Machinery Company will reveal that while Goodyear's company holds the patents, the inventors are always other people.
Skim through these for some interesting light reading: https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p...dyear
Indeed, and yet the prevalence of false information persists.
I found this blurb on Grenson's website rather amusing: http://www.grenson.co.uk/en_us/how-we-make-our-shoes
Not only do they say that Goodyear-welted shoes "last longer than any other type of shoes", they also say that Goodyear-welted shoes were invented in England!
Ok, so I received a shipment of GlenKaren shoe products made by our very own Glenjay. I ordered the Cleaner/Conditioner, Black Cream Polish, and High Shine Paste. Now, I have only used these products once, last night on two pairs of shoes so these are initial thoughts and reactions. Out of the box, I was surprised how much product you get. The jars are larger than you expect, packed with product. His site www.Glenkarencare.com says it has 3oz of product in the jar, but I guess I didn't really think about it.
Opening up the jars, the citrus smell is quite awesome, and it even has freshened up the smell of the old leather bag I keep all of my supplies in. I began with using the cleaner/conditioner on a very beat up pair of shoes to get rid of a lot of scuffs and dirt. I know all shoe polish manufacturers say a little goes a long way and whatever, but hot damn, literally you can spread about a pinky toenail size amount over about 2/3rds of the shoe and it picks up a lot of old wax. It doesn't feel like renovateur at all. It is much more a liquid and something I had comfort in was it doesn't feel like just a polish like renovateur does. While spreading it seems to renew the layers of polish that were on the shoe along with pickup old dead polish. Also, it seems to "plump up" the leather a bit. The creases soaked the coconut oil in much like what I like about Lexol. I also, applied a very small amount to the caps of my shoes, which were heavily bulled. I noticed it picked up a lot of those layers and made it somewhat, dull. I will return to this, so bear with me.
Reading Glenjay's site on how to use the products as well as private messaging him for clarity I learned that he recommends you let the cleaner/conditioner, and polish sit for 10 minutes, then brush, let it sit again for 10 minutes and brush again. Also, he recommended that you don't use the cleaner/conditioner and the polish in the same sitting as it might add too much oil to the leather and make it resist a shine. At this point I just used the cleaner/conditioner on the shoe and let it sit, while just using the black polish on another pair of shoes that I didn't feel needed to be conditioned or cleaned as they are new and only worn about 5 times. Using the black cream polish I noticed how the product feels harder than typical cream polishes that most of us use. I know Glen said temperature has a lot to do with this, but to me, it almost felt like in between Saphir Cordovan Creame and Kiwi Paste polish. Very interesting. As I was swirling the polish on I noticed it spreads insanely far, again a little goes a long way isn't a joke. This polish too seemed to plump up the creases a bit. I let the shoes sit after they were covered.
Returning to the first pair that I used the cleaner/conditioner on I rigorously brushed them, yet noticed they were still a bit dull with brushing. I had two thoughts at this point 1) Glen Said to let the stuff sit and brush again 2) This is good! The fact that the cleaner/conditioner soaked in, pulled up some layers, and actually conditioned the leather means (at least to me) that this stuff is doing its job as a conditioner, not just being largely a polish like most other conditioners I feel mask conditioning with beeswax, because well, people want their leather to "look" conditioned. Well, shiny is somewhat at odds with conditioned. So, after brushing to a somewhat hazy state I wasn't discouraged, I moved on to the high shine paste and using Glen's instructions I wrapped my cloth around my thumb and licked the cloth (this shit is actually non-toxic, so whatevz) and I rubbed it in the wax. This wax has a lot of carnauba so it is HARD. When I began circling and swirling on the cap toe I couldn't believe how fast it began to bull. So much faster than regular Saphir wax. Again, I think it is because of the high amounts of Carnauba, barely any solvent. Saphir products seem to be engineered towards "all around" products. Meaning you can be getting many different benefits by only using one product. This also means those benefits are diluted. The high shine paste is ONLY for getting a high shine and because of that it works quickly. On Glen's site it also said it is neutral because you get get a 3 dimensional shine. I never knew what they really meant until using this, but it is true, it is almost like you can see the space between the wax and the pores of the leather. It doesn't look filled in and solid like using a pigmented polish. It is almost like putting a magnifying glass on the surface of a desk. It creates this "space" between the leather and the shine. I finished bulling the toes and the heel counters fairly quickly. Awesome. I think set them aside to dry more and picked up the other pair with the shoe cream dried on them. I brushed the shoe creamed pair quickly to a dull shine. Again, this means there are actually a good amount of oils in the polish and isn't just choking out the leather. With the dull shine I then bulled the toes and heels like I did the first pair and set them aside.
I returned to the first pair with the bulled toes and heels and gave the rest of the shoe which just had the hazy shine from the cleaner/conditioner another brush and walla! A nice glow. I think you need to give the solvent time to dry and the oils to really soak in. Again, I personally like this knowing the product is actually working into the leather.
I then returned to the second pair with the buffed polish and gave them another buff and the same thing occurred, a nice glow.
So essentially I feel that these products have high concentrations of their ingredients and aren't being diluted, or attempting to mask the leather for the sake of the consumer. Because the proportions of oils in the polish and cleaner/conditioner is high it takes a little more time to let them set, brush, set again, and brush to a shine. To me, this gives me more confidence I am not just getting a polish posing as a conditioner, I am getting nutrients in both the polish and cleaner/conditioner. I think from here on out I will use the polish as regular maintenance along with shaping up the toe and heels with the high shine paste, and only once in a while renewing the finish with the cleaner/conditioner and buffing. I think this will suit me well. Again, I have only used this stuff once, so I might change things up, and my opinion might vary, and as always that will be documented here.
All of this being said, does that mean there is no room in my routine for Saphir? Not at all. I think one huge benefit of renovateur (other than now mostly for my beater shoes ) is that if you take a very small amount and swirl it on an already bulled toecap, or heel you can feel yourself pushing the moisture into the wax kind of like when you add water to begin bulling. It renews a high gloss bull job very well, but perhaps that just means there is a lot of water in renovateur and I could potentially achieve the same result with just moisture, or furthermore moisture and some of the GlenKaren high shine paste wax.
Food for thought.
So much fail it's not even funny. Made me angry, kinda.
I have mixed feelings about your review PB; it was excellent, but now I have to spend even more money.
A few years from now when Saphir has gone out of business, and GlenKaren is what everyone buys, we'll be able to say we knew Glenjay when...
Very informative, MWS.
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