What are Goodyear welted shoes?
Goodyear welted shoes are a type of high-quality, durable footwear construction method that has been used for centuries. The technique is named after its inventor, Charles Goodyear Jr., who developed the process in the mid-19th century.
The Goodyear welt construction involves stitching the upper part of the shoe (the part that covers the foot) to the insole using a strip of leather called the welt. The welt is sewn to both the upper and the insole, creating a strong and flexible bond between the two.
Additionally, the sole of the shoe is attached to the welt, either by stitching it directly to the welt (known as a “welt sole”) or by gluing it and then stitching through the welt (known as a “storm welt”). This double-stitching process makes Goodyear welted shoes highly durable and easy to resole, which is one of their most significant advantages. When the sole wears out, it can be removed and replaced without damaging the rest of the shoe, extending the lifespan of the footwear significantly.
The benefits of Goodyear welted shoes include:
- Durability: The construction method results in a shoe that is more resistant to wear and tear, making it a long-lasting investment.
- Comfort: The stitching technique creates a flexible and comfortable shoe that molds to the foot over time.
- Water resistance: The welt construction helps to keep moisture out, especially if a storm welt is used.
- Re-craftability: As mentioned earlier, the shoes can be resoled multiple times, making them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.
- Elegance: The visible welt adds a touch of elegance and traditional craftsmanship to the shoe’s appearance.
Due to the labor-intensive process and higher-quality materials used, Goodyear welted shoes tend to be more expensive than other types of footwear. However, many people consider them a worthwhile investment due to their superior construction and longevity.