Goodyear Welted Construction Guide
All Huntsman dress shoes and boots are crafted using the traditional Goodyear Welted construction method to ensure the highest level of quality, finish and longevity. With proper care, our shoes have the potential to last a lifetime.
Since 1869, when Charles Goodyear Jr. invented the first Goodyear Welt machine, the Goodyear Welted method has been the gold standard in shoe construction. Today, there are three primary methods for shoe construction: cementing (commonly used for mass production), the Blake Welt (simpler construction) and the Goodyear Welt. Even after 150 years, shoe makers still consider the Goodyear Welt to be the finest method of shoe construction.
In simple terms, the Goodyear Welted construction method attaches the sole to the upper piece of leather to achieve a mechanical join. There are over 120 handcrafting processes that are involved in making a pair of high quality shoes using this method. There are four key phases:
- Clicking/cutting: In this phase, the leather is carefully selected and is cut with specialised knives to create the form of the shoe. This step is critical to ensure that the highest quality leather is chosen.
- Closing: The various pieces of leather cut are prepared to ensure consistency and then stitched together to form the upper.
- Lasting: The finished shoe upper is pulled over the wooden last to create the form of the shoe. The welt, which is the hallmark of the Goodyear Welted method, is a strip of leather that is stitched to the upper and the insole. After this, the outsole is also stitched to the welt using a stitching method known as lock-stitched.
- Finishing: The edges of the sole are carefully trimmed, the bottom sole painted and polished and the final painting and burnishing of the upper and polishing is completed.
Because welted shoes are stitched together by skilled artisans, rather than glued or cemented, they can be disassembled in the future for repair or replacement.
Advantages of the Goodyear Welt
- Goodyear stitching ensures perfect adherence of the insole, sole, welt and upper, giving the shoe robustness
- The sewing method provides it with enhanced solidity and the potential of a lifetime of wear
- The midsole, which is filled with cork, provides a comfortable support for the foot
- More durable and far more water resistant and also allows more air in and makes them more breathable and cool in the heat and warm and dry during the winter
The lock-stitching method means that the stitch will hold even if a portion of the stitch comes undone
The only disadvantage of the Goodyear Welt is the high-level of craftsmanship and time required, which translates to a higher cost when compared to mass produced cemented shoes. A Goodyear Welted shoe is a truly a worthwhile investment for every man.