Have you ever gone into a shoe store and had someone tell you a bunch of terms you didn’t understand about the shoes? Did they tell you a Goodyear Welt is the best or that a Blake Stitch will irritate your feet? Well, these may not be true. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge before you start looking for a shoe.
Everyone wants to protect their feet while looking good. When it comes down to how shoes are made there are 3 types of construction. None of them are better than they others, but they all certainly have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are the kind of person that goes through soles faster than most people you may want one type. If you need something more waterproof you’ll probably want a different style.
Download this episode of Real Men Real Style to learn how footwear is made, and find the type that will suit your lifestyle.
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3 Types of Show Construction:
- Goodyear Welt
- Blake Stitch
- Upper is the section that is the leather portion covering the foot.
- The insole is the material inside the shoe that touches your foot.
- Outsole is on the exterior of the shoe, that touches the ground.
- Welt is found on higher end shoes. It's the strip of leather that runs around the border of outsole.
- Last is a 3D model of a foot used to maintain shape of shoe during construction.
- Cementing is the most common construction.
- Uses an adhesive to connect the sole to the upper.
- Best used with a rubber sole, not leather.
- Advantage: Inexpensive.
- Disadvantages: Will fall apart and generally not worth getting resoled.
- Goodyear Welt is a stitching along the outside of the upper.
- Bottom of the upper is shaped over the last and stitched on the outside.
- Makes resoling much easier.
- Advantages: Considerably waterproof, most cobblers can resole, and the shoe can be sewn yourself.
- Disadvantage: Much more expensive, and don’t have much flexibility
- Blake stitch is stitched on the inside of the shoe.
- Requires specialized machines to resole.
- Advantages: Get advantages of Goodyear Welt at a lower price, can get resoled, upper and lower connect looks better, and much more flexible.
- Disadvantage: Is not as water resistant as Goodyear Welt, it has to be sent to special shops to be resoled which is more expensive, and the interior stitching can irritate some people’s feet.
It’s important to know the shoe construction for your particular needs and wants.