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what makes a good shoe and why they cost so much

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    .......i've noticed on some GY welted shoes w/fiddleback, the GY thread can be seen going around the front of the shoe, but not along either side of the waist. does this mean the shoe is not sewn on the waist?

    In most welted shoes the sole is stitched from (heal) breast-to-breast. Some soles are stitched all the way round (360 degrees). There are other manufacturers,, St Crispin springs to mind, who stitch the sole from ball (of the foot) to ball and fix the waist with wooden pegs.

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    .......there are also ones where the waist area is sewn through the sole appearing like an unchanelled GY or blake welt.

    You might be confusing that with Italian shoes in Blake-construction.

    Some manufacturers leave the stitching exposed in the waist, then channel it underneath the sole (where it comes in contact with potential wetness of the road).

    This example here is Ferragamo:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. thizzface

    thizzface Senior member

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    Usually on a fiddleback the waist is also beveled and the inseam is set a bit more under the insole. This results in the stitching being well under the edge of the vamp/insole. It is meant to be hidden. I believe the standard is about five stitches to the inch in the waist...double that or a little more (tighter) in the forepart. Unless the welt itself is channeled you will see the stitching in the forepart.

    is this case, how is the stitching done from "well under the vamp/insole" is this done from the inside of the shoe, resulting in something more like a side channelled blake stitch?
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    is this case, how is the stitching done from "well under the vamp/insole" is this done from the inside of the shoe, resulting in something more like a side channelled blake stitch?
    No. I don't fully comprehend how a machine-stitched shoe could have a true fiddleback and beveled waist...at least not in the manner I think it should be done. But I am not familiar with every machine that is used in a factory. A hand-welted shoe with a hand-stitched outsole, on the other hand, is pretty straight forward. A curved awl is used to pierce the welt and the outsole. Because it is curved it can reach under the vamp to hole the welt. From there is it simply a matter of following through to pierce the outsole...emerging in a channel that will later cover the stitching. Additionally, as mentioned, the outsole, in the waist, as well as the welt in the waist are thinned somewhat and when the sewing is completed, they will be burnished such that they cozy up to the vamp and into the arch of the shoe in a way that the forepart is not/cannot be made to do. It is hard to describe to anyone who is not intimately familiar with the nuances of shoe construction. But while there will certainly come a time (if it has not come already) when the sleek, elegant, contrasting "lines" of the beveled waist become passe to some, it is not a technique that is done on more mundane shoes. Even among bespoke makers it is not always done with perfect grace. Leaving the stitches exposed, especially on blake construction displays, in my opinion, an indifference to the consequences of choice. Exposed stitches will wick moisture up into the interior of the shoe even if the exposed stitches are in an somewhat sheltered area--the waist. Besides which it is ugly. And if, for the sake of economy, threads are used that will wick moisture, this will encourage (almost guarantee) rotting of the thread...which is one reason that, once upon a time, shoemakers were very particular about the wax they used to coat their threads and how it was applied.
     
  4. entrero

    entrero Senior member

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    How many times can your shoes be resoled and what aspect of shoe making would contribute to more resoling??
     
  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    How many times can your shoes be resoled and what aspect of shoe making would contribute to more resoling??
    All things being equal, a hand-welted shoe can be resoled an infinite number of times. In other words, if the shoe is not outrageously mistreated, and the insole is intact and reasonably supple, and the upper is not cracked out there is nothing to prevent resoling...even by a shoe repair shop. But...just as there is rtw and RTW, and bespoke and Bespoke, there is shoe repair and Shoe Repair. Some shops do good work...respecting the lines and shapes of the original shoe...and some are so heavy handed as to literally butcher anything that comes within their purview. While not a direct aspect of shoemaking, the quality of work done by your cobbler probably has as much to do with how many future resolings a shoe can expect than any other factor. Beyond that, the basic techniques of construction are critical. Hand-welted, when done well (or even adequately), is superior to any other method of construction and creates a structure and a platform for resoling that is more stable and more enduring than any other method.
     
  6. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    DWFII, what is the purpose of heels that look like this? To account for pronation/supination? http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t...o/P1030804.jpg (these are the soles of the stock alden 405 - aka the indy boots)
    Sri, Jeeze, it's been a while since I've seen a pair of those--they're called Thomas heels," if I recall correctly. And yes, they were designed to mitigate pronation. They were originally conceived as a corrective heel but there was a time when it seemed every manufacturer was putting them on their shoes and every customer wanted them.
     
  8. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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    Alden is the only RTW maker today that I am aware of still making a pair of shoes with those heels.

    ^ Would there be any negative effects if I wear a pair of shoes with those heels, but don't really pronate much?
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Alden is the only RTW maker today that I am aware of still making a pair of shoes with those heels. ^ Would there be any negative effects if I wear a pair of shoes with those heels, but don't really pronate much?
    Not that I'm aware of.
     
  10. entrero

    entrero Senior member

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    I recently went on a pilgrimage to one of the most exclusive shoe shop in my area and gathered some insightful information about their resole service.

    They do half resoling with Rendenbach "mahogany" finished soles. For full resole service, the shoes are send to their original maker because it can be only done on the original last.

    Half resole is more cost-effective, but by doing that I also get denied by the original manufacturer for full resole. Shocker note: full refurbishment by EG @$315 [​IMG]

    Dear DWFII any advice?
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I recently went on a pilgrimage to one of the most exclusive shoe shop in my area and gathered some insightful information about their resole service. They do half resoling with Rendenbach "mahogany" finished soles. For full resole service, the shoes are send to their original maker because it can be only done on the original last. Half resole is more cost-effective, but by doing that I also get denied by the original manufacturer for full resole. Shocker note: full refurbishment by EG @$315 [​IMG] Dear DWFII any advice?
    If you are like most of the people here and wear your shoes infrequently and (wry humour alert!) only on paths strewn with rose petals you can probably get an adequate...even excellent...resole job locally. Almost any competent shoe repairman can replace the sole, refill the forepart and shine your shoes. I would ask to see examples of the cobbler's work, however, and compare it to the original...and your expectations. If you wear one pair daily, most of the week, and wear them hard, if you put off getting them repaired until the hole in the bottom is mirrored by the hole in your socks, you probably ought to have them "recrafted." Once upon a time half soles were a reasonable solution, and they still are provided the repairman has the skill and knowledge to not inadvertently incorporate a metatarsal bar into the repair job. This can happen when not enough care is taken splicing the half sole to the waist of the old sole. I can't count the number of times I've seen that telltale thickening just behind the treadline...sometimes the splice will be half again thicker than the original sole in that one area. Beyond that, Rendenbach soles are good leather, if a little brittle. They are tanned with acorn caps and are left in the tanning pits for the better part of a year. Hope that helps... Yr. Hmb. Svt.,
     
  12. Pharaoh34

    Pharaoh34 Well-Known Member

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    This is a great thread. Tons of info...
     

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