You’ll probably be surprised, but the term “Goodyear welted” isn’t directly related to a famous tire manufacturer. Goodyear Welt is a type of shoe construction that has been used by the best shoemakers in the world for over 100 years. This design was invented in 1869 by Charles Goodyear Jr., the son of Charles Goodyear., the inventor of vulcanized rubber used in tires. So, that’s probably the only connection to this tire manufacturer.
Goodyear welt is a strip of leather that is sewn around the edge of the shoe. It is fastened with seams to the insole and the upper of the shoe. The welt is formed so that the outsole of the shoe can be sewn to it. It might seem like an unnecessary and complicated thing, but it has a lot of advantages, compared to other shoe construction methods.
Goodyear welted shoe benefits
So, what are 5 the benefits of a Goodyear welted shoe?
Because the leather of Goodyear welted shoes has to be stitched to the welt as closely to its edge as possible, shoemakers have to use quality calf hide, because working with an inferior calf hide will surely cause it to break along the seam. This means that purchasing a pair of Goodyear welted shoes will ensure you that the upper leather is of good quality and ready to be used for an extended amount of time.
Everyone who knows about Goodyear welted shoes can instantly recognize their unique design, where the upper, in correspondence of the stitching, curves inwards in respect to the edge of the sole. This particular feature makes these shoes easily recognizable by all Goodyear welted shoe lovers.
3. Water resistance
The seams are made on the outer part of the sole (do not touch the foot), which maximizes the water resistance of the shoe. By comparison, in Blake’s shoe construction, which is often used in the manufacture of formal shoes, the seam directly connects the outsole to the insole. Therefore, when sewing Blake shoes, you can feel the seam inside the shoe, and moisture can get inside the shoe more easily (through the seam).
The Goodyear Welt shoe has a small gap between the insole and the outsole which shoemakers usually fill with cork or felt. These natural materials are lightweight, well insulating, adapt to the shape of the foot and, most importantly, allow the foot to breathe. That’s why the longer you wear Goodyear welted shoes, the more comfortable they become.
The Goodyear welt construction makes it very easy to resole a shoe, thus extending its lifespan. The welt acts as a buffer between the insole and the outsole, so it’s quite easy to remove the old sole and attach the new one. Removing the old sole and attaching a new one can be done by machine or by hand.
The only negative (although, very debatable) aspect of Goodyear welt construction is that it adds more volume to the shoe. The outer edges of the shoe have to be made slightly wider to accommodate all the required seams and materials. But is is a bad thing? We definitely don’t think so, because that’s what makes Goodyear welt shoes stand out.