The Goodyear Welt: The Gold Standard for Shoe Construction

The gold standard for shoe construction is The Goodyear Welt. In this post, we break down the different aspects of construction.

Since the Goodyear Welt was invented in 1869, it has been the gold standard for shoe construction. The Goodyear Welt is the perfect union between attractive, timeless design and durability.

What sets the Goodyear Welt apart is its unique construction, which incorporates an extra piece of leather not used in other designer leather shoes.

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Construction

To help you understand, let’s look at how a simple leather shoe might be made. Most shoes consist of three parts:

The Upper – Leather or canvas that will make the top part of the shoe.
The Insole – The material inside of the shoe, usually made to cushion the foot.
The Outsole – The external bottom of the shoe, which comes into contact with the ground.

In simpler designer leather shoes, the insole is placed in the mold of a foot, also called the “last.” After that, the upper is folded around the insole. Finally, the outsole is added on top of the upper where it’s folded over the insole and affixed.

In the cheapest shoes, the outsole will be affixed with a cementing agent. In other designer leather shoes, the outsole will be stitched into place.

Related Reading: How to Design Footwear | The Future of Footwear Design: Algorithm-Aided Design | The Golden Glossary of Shoe Design

the goodyear welt makers row

The Goodyear Welt

For the Goodyear Welt, an additional component is added: the welt.

The welt is a leather strip that runs along the outsole, helping to better attach it to the upper.

The Goodyear process starts much the same as the traditional method, with the insole being placed on the last. But for the Goodyear, a rib is created — a perpendicular outcropping of the insole made either by sculpting the insole or with a second material, usually linen tape.

Once the rib is crafted, the shoe is attached to the last in preparation for the welting. This happens in two parts. First, the welt, the upper, and the insole rib are stitched together, then the welt alone is attached to the outsole. In both instances, a lockstitch is used, which will prevent a chain reaction if a single stitch is broken.

Benefits

The division between the insole and the outsole greatly helps to facilitate the process of resolving, meaning that you are able to get a great deal more wear out of your shoes.
Goodyear Welt shoes are also much more water resistant than other designer leather shoes, thanks to the extra layer. More impressive is that it does this without sacrificing any breathability.

The Goodyear Welt Makers Row

Drawbacks

Because of the extra material and more labor intensive construction, Goodyear Welt shoes are typically more expensive than the products of other methods of shoemaking. That upfront cost, however, is justified by the fact that these shoes last longer and are easier to repair than other styles, as well as the fact that the style is considered timeless, meaning that it will not go out of fashion.

The Goodyear Welt has become the standard for designer leather shoes. Its high-quality construction and fashionable design make it a must-have for every man. In the near century and a half, since they were invented, Goodyear Welts has remained the ultimate choice for formal footwear.

This guest post was contributed by Randy Weber of Mezlan


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