History of the Goodyear Welt

April 22nd, 2016
History of the Goodyear Welt

When you hear the name “Goodyear,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably tires. In fact, the Goodyear name has been inextricably tied to fine footwear for generations as well.
A Goodyear welt is a stretch of material – either leather, rubber or plastic – that is sewn along the perimeter of a shoe’s outsole. It is attached to the upper part of the shoe’s canvas and then cemented to the insole of the shoe. It acts as an attach-point, or an anchor, where both major parts of the shoe – the outsole and the insole – connect. The space that the welt surrounds is usually filled with cork, and then everything is stitched and cemented together.
Years ago, the Goodyear welt was used in the hand construction of high-end shoes. The reason the price tag of high-end shoes tends to be much higher, both many years ago and today, is that construction requires skilled craftsmen who work by hand.
Charles Goodyear Jr. invented the welt method more than 100 years ago, and in doing so transformed the world of quality shoemaking. He eventually patented a sewing machine that ultimately replaced hand-stitching the Goodyear welt in shoe construction. When the sewing machine became available in factories, many shoemakers staged a protest to declare that they would not be replaced by the machine. Luckily, a skilled craftsman is still a vital part of the high-end shoemaking business – the shoemakers were assuaged and work in Goodyear’s shop continued.
The Goodyear welt allows shoes to be constructed so sturdily that they are able to be re-soled a number of times. While cheaper construction may leave you needing new shoes in a few months, handcrafted shoes, like ones that use the Goodyear method, can be resoled a number of times and can last you a lifetime. This just goes to show you what spending a bit of extra investment in your apparel up front can get you in the long run.
At Squire Fine Men’s Apparel, we believe in offering only well-crafted products that offer a prestigious look only high-quality craftsmanship can provide. Take a look at our website for some truly unique and well-crafted pieces to add to your collection today.

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