Goodyear welted shoes are a true testament to the art of shoemaking. Known for their durability, comfort, and style, Goodyear welted shoes are a favorite among footwear enthusiasts and professionals alike. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes Goodyear welted shoes so special, their history, and how to care for them.
What Are Goodyear Welted Shoes?
A Goodyear welted shoe is a type of shoe construction that involves stitching a strip of leather or rubber (known as the welt) to the upper and insole of the shoe. This strip of material is then stitched to the outsole, creating a durable and water-resistant seal between the upper and sole.
The process of Goodyear welting involves a complex and time-consuming process that requires skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. The construction method has been around for over 150 years and is considered one of the best ways to make high-quality dress shoes.
History of Goodyear Welted Shoes
The Goodyear welted shoe was invented in the mid-19th century by Charles Goodyear Jr., the son of the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The process was originally used to create a more durable and weather-resistant shoe for workers and soldiers.
Over time, the Goodyear welted shoe became a popular choice among men’s dress shoes, and today, it is still considered a classic and stylish choice for any wardrobe.
Benefits of Goodyear Welted Shoes
There are many benefits to choosing a Goodyear welted shoe over other types of construction methods. Here are just a few:
- Durability: Goodyear welted shoes are known for their durability and long-lasting quality. The construction method allows for easy resoling and repairs, meaning that a well-made pair of Goodyear welted shoes can last for decades.
- Comfort: The process of Goodyear welting involves a cork filler between the insole and outsole, which molds to the shape of your foot over time, providing excellent comfort and support.
- Water-Resistance: The welt that is stitched to the upper and sole of the shoe creates a water-resistant barrier, making Goodyear welted shoes a great choice for wet weather conditions.
- Style: Goodyear welted shoes are considered a classic and stylish choice for any occasion. The construction method allows for a sleek and streamlined silhouette that is both timeless and modern.
Caring for Your Goodyear Welted Shoes
Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure that your Goodyear welted shoes last for years to come. Here are some tips on how to care for your shoes:
- Clean and Polish: Regularly cleaning and polishing your Goodyear welted shoes will keep them looking their best. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and dust from the leather, then apply a leather cleaner to remove any stains or marks. Once the shoes are clean, apply a high-quality shoe polish in a color that matches the shoes.
- Use Shoe Trees: Using shoe trees is a great way to maintain the shape of your Goodyear welted shoes and prevent them from developing creases. Insert the shoe trees into the shoes after each wear to help them retain their shape and absorb any moisture.
- Rotate Your Shoes: It’s important to give your Goodyear welted shoes a break between wears to allow them to fully dry and air out. Try to rotate between two or more pairs of shoes to give each pair time to rest and recover.
- Store Properly: When not in use, store your Goodyear welted shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in a humid or damp
- place as this can cause the leather to warp or mold. Additionally, it’s important to store your shoes with shoe trees. Shoe trees are inserts that mimic the shape of a foot and help maintain the shape of the shoe. They also absorb moisture and odor, which can help prolong the life of your shoes.
- Clean and Condition: Regularly cleaning and conditioning your Goodyear welted shoes is crucial to maintaining their appearance and durability. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the shoe, paying close attention to the welt area. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe down the leather.
- After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to the shoe. Conditioning helps to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking, which can lead to irreparable damage. Be sure to use a conditioner that is specifically formulated for leather shoes.
- Resole When Needed: Goodyear welted shoes are designed to be resoled, which can extend the life of your shoes significantly. Keep an eye on the sole of your shoes and take them to a skilled cobbler when it’s time for a new sole. It’s important to note that the welt of the shoe can only be resoled a certain number of times before it becomes too thin to support a new sole. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your shoes by many years before this becomes a concern.
Disadvantages of Goodyear Welted Shoes
While Goodyear welted shoes have many advantages, there are also a few disadvantages to consider before making a purchase.
- Price: As mentioned earlier, Goodyear welted shoes are a high-end product and can be more expensive than other types of shoes. The additional labor and materials required to produce this type of shoe, as well as the high quality of materials used, contribute to the higher price point.
- Break-in period: Goodyear welted shoes can take longer to break in than other types of shoes. The sturdy construction and materials used can result in a stiffer shoe that requires more time to mold to the wearer’s foot.
- Resoling cost: While the Goodyear welted construction allows for easy resoling, the cost of resoling can be higher than other types of shoes due to the need for skilled labor and the additional materials required.
- Limited flexibility: The rigid construction of Goodyear welted shoes can limit flexibility and movement, making them less ideal for certain activities such as running or hiking.
- Heavy weight: Due to the sturdy materials used in construction, Goodyear welted shoes can be heavier than other types of shoes. This may not be a concern for some wearers, but can be a drawback for others.
Goodyear welted shoes are a high-quality, durable, and stylish option for footwear. While they may come with a higher price tag and require a longer break-in period, the benefits of the Goodyear welted construction make them a worthy investment for those looking for a shoe that can withstand years of wear and tear. With proper care and maintenance, Goodyear welted shoes can last a lifetime, making them a sustainable choice for both the environment and your wallet.
In summary, Goodyear welted shoes are a high-quality investment that can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. From the initial purchase to regular upkeep and resoling, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your shoes remain stylish and durable for years to come. With their timeless design and sturdy construction, Goodyear welted shoes are a footwear choice that will never go out of style.