A selection of our Gents footwear is Goodyear welted, below we talk about what that means and why it is a sign of the highest quality.
The Goodyear welt process is a machine based alternative to the traditional hand welted method (c. 1500 AD) for the manufacture of men's shoes, taking its name from the inventor who devised the original machine (Charles Goodyear Jr., the son of the Charles Goodyear) to replace the earlier completely hand sewn method. The benefit of a shoe which is made using the Goodyear welt construction is that the shoe can be resoled repeatedly, giving the shoe a lifespan of years, sometimes even decades.
The upper part of the shoe is shaped over the last and fastened on by sewing a leather, linen or synthetic strip (also known as the "welt") to the inner and upper sole. As well as using a welt, a thread is used to hold the material firmly together.
The welt forms a cavity, which is then filled with a cork material. The final part of the shoe is the sole, which is attached to the welt of the shoe by some combination of stitching along the edge of the welt and sole, and a high strength adhesive like contact cement or hide glue. The Goodyear welt is highly regarded for a number of reasons including being relatively waterproof by not allowing water to get into the insole due to the welt-sole construction, the relative ease in which the sole can be replaced, and the fact that the shoe can last up to 20 years or longer depending on the treatment and condition of the upper. The nature of this shoe construction means that Goodyear welted shoes take longer to manufacture than cheaper alternatives, and requires the use of skilled labour.