Posted on April 30 2017
Men’s dress shoes can be meticulously and beautifully crafted. They embody the words classic, timeless, elegant, and stylish.
Have you ever wondered how your dress shoes were constructed? While the brand, the country the shoe was made in, and the leather quality are things that contribute to the shoe’s price, the method it was constructed with is a large factor in determining the features of the shoe. This affects how long it will last, how breathable and waterproof it is, and how much it will cost. Generally, some of the most popular methods of shoe construction are the Goodyear Welt, the Blake Stitch, the Rapid-Blake Stitch, and cementing.
Before we dive into the basics of how a shoe is constructed, lets first understand what some of the parts of the shoe are.
Gotstyle Blog has a great diagram of the parts of a shoe.
The Upper: The entire top part of the shoe that wraps around the foot.
The Insole: A layer of softer material inside the shoe that the foot touches.
The Outsole: The part of the shoe that you see that touches the floor. The tread on a shoe is part of the outsole. It’s purpose is to provide you shoe with grip, durability, cushioning, and water resistance.
The Welt: A thin strip of leather or rubber that is sewn around the outer edges of the shoe.
The Goodyear Welt method is the most expensive method out of the 4 you will read about in this article. In this method, the sole, insole, upper, welt, and an extra mid sole are sewn all together along the perimeter of the shoe.
As a result, this makes a shoe that is sturdier and longer lasting. Because there are many pieces sewn together, this creates a shoe that is much more waterproof than a shoe constructed with Blake stitching. It takes longer to break in, but will feel more comfortable in the long run. It costs more than shoes made with Blake stitching because it is more labor intensive but results in a higher quality shoe. Shoes made with the Goodyear Welt are also some of the easiest shoes to re-sole. As a result of this, when the sole of the shoe wears down, you can easily get it re-soled and therefore extend the life of the shoe.
With the Blake stitch, the out-sole is directly stitched to the insole with a large and long stitch.
This makes a shoe that is cheaper than the Goodyear. It can also be re-soled however, the process of re-soling is more tedious and difficult to do than a Goodyear. The Blake stitch uses less material than the Goodyear and doesn’t have that extra mid-sole either. This results in a shoe that is thinner, lighter,sleeker, and softer. It makes a shoe that is great for the spring and summer. However, some drawbacks of the Blake Stitch is that it makes a shoe with less waterproofing, less durability, and less cushioning than the Goodyear Welt.
Blake Rapid Stitching
Blake Rapid Stitching produces a shoe that is in between Blake Stitching and the Goodyear Welt.
It utilizes the the stitching technique of Blake stitching combined with the extra mid-sole of the Goodyear. The benefit of the additional mid-sole gives more cushion, more waterproofing, more durability, than Blake Stitching. It also produces a sole that is easier to replace.
Cementing is used in lower quality men’s shoes. In cementing, the sole of the shoe is glued and pressed into the upper of the shoe. This results in a shoe that can be made quicker and cheaper. Sometimes, you will see that there is stitching. However, the stitching is usually just decorative to make the shoe look more expensive. The soles of cemented shoes come off after a year or 2 of hard wear. They don’t last very long and once they wear out, you will have to toss it out and buy a new shoe. The shoes are usually made with a composite material that is made of rubber instead of leather.
These are some popular methods in which dress shoes are made. The Goodyear Welt produces a shoe that is made to last a long time. The Blake Stitch makes a shoe that is lighter and more sleek than the Goodyear and the Blake Rapid Stitch marries the qualities of the two shoes. Cemented shoes are inexpensive and don’t last very long.
How was your shoe constructed? Do you like the way it is? Leave a comment below or share this article with your friends.