What are goodyear welted shoes?

There are various forms of shoe construction, but goodyear welting is in our opinion the best.

The name is confusing as the name goodyear suggests rubber, as per Goodyear rubber tyres. However the name comes from Charles Goodyear who in 1869 developed a machine for stitching the sole of a shoe to the welt without the need for laborious hand stitching.

The welt provides the unique element of goodyear welting. The welt is a thin strip of leather which is stitched to the upper with one row of stitches whilst another row of stitches holds the sole onto the welt. This means that the sole can be replaced without making additional holes in the upper. Eventually the welt or parts of the welt may need replacing but this is relatively easy and inexpensive.

There is another very useful aspect of goodyear welting which no other method offers. The gap inside the welt is filled with a cork based substance which gradually moulds to the wearer’s foot, offers insulation and some extra cushioning. The shoe therefore become very comfortable to wear.

Other forms of shoe construction:

Moccasin, veldtschoen and blake methods of construction are similar to one another in that the sole is stitched directly to the upper leather. This is a secure method of attachment however when a re-sole is required additional needle holes are made in the upper and so weaken it.
These days glues have become very effective and a sole can be stuck successfully to the upper leather without the need for any stitching. However a re-sole is rarely very successful.