How Can You Spot a Goodyear Welt?
When shopping for handcrafted leather shoes, you have likely discovered a wide range of pricing. This is because factors like quality of leather, supply and demand, and brand name can all drive up the value of a shoe. However, one of the most important components that determines a shoe’s price is the method used in its construction. While the Goodyear Welt is known as a superior construction method, we’ll go over a few other common methods and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
What is a Goodyear Welt?
The Goodyear Welt is the oldest, most durable, and most labor-intensive construction method. The welt is a strip of leather that runs along the perimeter of the outsole. The Goodyear Welt construction method consists of stitching the upper leather, lining leather, and welt to the ribbing that is already bonded to the insole. Then, the welt is stitched to the leather or rubber sole. This two-level stitching securely holds the sole in place, improves the shoe’s water resistance, and makes it easy to replace the sole without damaging the upper. This process is time-consuming and requires expert-level craftsmanship, thus the Goodyear Welt is considered the most superior method and is always used in the creation of Adelante’s high-quality leather boots and many of our men’s and women’s shoes.
How Does the Goodyear Welt Compare to the Blake Stitch?
Although the Goodyear Welt is the most durable construction method and works very well for boots, it may not be as suitable towards other shoe types. This is where the Blake Stitch comes in. The Blake Stitch uses a “single stitch” construction method, where the upper is folded underneath the insole, then stitched into place to connect the insole, upper, and outsole of the shoe. Although this method is simpler and cheaper than Goodyear Welts, it is also less water resistant because it allows direct access to the foot from the exterior. However, while Goodyear welting has several layers to build up the tough exterior, Blake stitching requires fewer layers, allowing for a more flexible sole. Due to the interior stitching and lightweight sole, this also allows loafers and other Blake stitched shoes to have a sleek, elegant appearance.
When Should Cementing be Used to Construct a Shoe?
Cementing is the cheapest and most common method of attaching the sole of a shoe. Once the upper is shaped and completed around the last, the sole is attached with a strong adhesive and no welting is used. While this is the preferred method for constructing some casual shoes, like sandals, it is not preferable for constructing boots and other sturdier shoes. This is because cementing completely prevents the ability to resole, and the entire shoe must be replaced once the sole begins to wear down. If you do choose to buy cemented shoes, you should be prepared that they may wear through quickly.
The Bottom Line
While each construction method has its advantages and disadvantages, there are certain methods preferable for certain shoe types. At Adelante, we recognize that the method used to construct shoes is the most important indicator of their quality, which is why all of our leather shoes are handcrafted using optimal construction methods. In addition, we always use the superior Goodyear Welt in our leather boots and sturdier shoes to ensure the sole will never separate, the bottom is watertight, and they are fully resoleable. If you’re looking for a new pair of high-quality leather boots, check out our men’s and women’s collection today!