We use both Goodyear Welt and Blake construction.
The Goodyear welt process is the traditional method (mostly English shoemakers) for the manufacture of men’s dress shoes. The benefit of a dress 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. There are even claims for added ventilation.
Essentially, the upper part of the dress 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 cork fills the space between the ribs on the two sides of the insole. This layer of cork molds to the wearer’s foot and adds comfort to the shoe.
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 very nature of this shoe construction means that Goodyear welted dress shoes take much longer to manufacture than cheaper alternatives.
The Blake construction – The advantages of Blake construction are the sole flexibility, sleeker looking shoes and ease of construction. Italians are famous for using this type of shoe construction.
This construction is simpler than a welted construction. A single row of stitching attaches the insole to the upper and the outsole. The stitching is located inside the shoe and done by a machine invented by Reed Blake. (Where the name came from)
Shoes with Blake construction tend to be more flexible than Goodyear welted shoes since they have fewer layers but since there is a row of stitching through the insole the possibility of moisture wicking from the ground is greater.
You can usually see the stitching when you look inside the shoe – it follows the shape of the shoe, around the edges. However, some Blake shoe designers have the stitches covered by a lining.
Properly constructed and quality welted shoes can last 10-15 years if properly cared for. Actually , they can outlive you.
– Remove dirt with a shoe brush, and clean with a damp cloth
It’s always a good idea to let your shoes dry naturally after cleaning – resist the temptation to put them near a heat source, as this will dry and crack the leather.
– Once dry, remember to polish them. Polish will moisturize the leather of the shoe and keep it supple and looking great for longer. A good shining cloth is fantastic for applying creams and polishes, and will gently buff the leather.
Most importantly, avoid cheap wax polishes with silicone of fluorocarbons, which prevent heat transfer, paraffin which burns the skin or paraffin wax which clogs the pores.
– Once you take off your shoes, it is advisable you put the correct size shoe tree in them. Also, if you’re storing your shoes for a period of time, they should be cleaned and dry before doing so. Use a shoe tree to help it retain its shape or use shoe boxes or a breathable shoe bag to protect the shoes from dust. Wooden shoe trees are preferred as the wood is able to absorb moisture and odor from the shoe
– A shoe horn should be used when putting the shoe on regardless the type of shoe it is, This will stop the back heel end breaking down, prolonging the life of your men’s leather shoes
Shoe material will compress when you walk, so changing to a different pair gives shoes time to spring back to their original state. The leather will also absorb moisture from your feet, so giving them time to dry out is always a great idea.
The 2 Day Rule
The same pair of shoes should never be worn two days in a row. They should be rested at least 24 hours before being worn again
Goodyear Welt and Blake constructed shoes can be resoled. Be sure to use only qualified cobblers that have the proper tools needed to resole your type of shoe.
Suede and nubuck is calf skin that has been turned, scraped and brushed. This type of leather can be damaged by using an ordinary crepe rubber which shines them and irrevocably flatten’s the nap. It is preferable therefore to always clean them using a special suede cleaner brush.Try not to wear suede or nubuck skin shoes in the wet
Also leather soles can be very slippery, especially in the wet when new, so please take utmost care at all times
Following these simple steps can prolong the life of your men’s shoes and keep them looking as good as the day you bought them.