The Goodyear welt or a Goodyear welted shoe is the term used for a type of shoe construction. When placed alongside other forms – cementing/bonding and the Blake stitch – the Goodyear welt is the most labour intensive and most durable construction method of the three.
So, how to tell if a shoe is Goodyear welted? Goodyear welted shoes do come with a higher price tag than those crafted through other construction methods. However, they do have a longer lifespan as it makes the shoes more durable and means they can easily be re-soled. A Goodyear welted shoe has two stitches; on the inside of the shoe, the upper (the main part of the shoe covering the foot) and the lining are sewn together and a welt (a strip of leather that runs around the outside of the shoe) is sewn to the sole. This stitching method means that the outside and inside of the shoe aren’t linked – offering added water-resistance. The space between the outer sole and the insole is then filled with cork for added insulation; cork’s flexible properties also add to the comfort provided when wearing the shoe.
The sewing machine used for this method of welting was named after American Charles Goodyear Jr. Goodyear purchased a patent for a modified sewing machine in 1869 that improved upon the Blake stitch construction method. The machine was perfected and later patented by Goodyear, and it is considered to have revolutionised shoe and boot making.
How to tell if a shoe is Goodyear welted by look
A Goodyear welted shoe has visible stitching on the top of the welt and the bottom of the shoe. You can see the stitching on the top of the welt on the Barker Victor (pictured in the main image). This shoe has a Goodyear welted 7mm leather sole.
The stitching to the bottom of the sole can be seen above on the Barker Newmarket. It also has a Goodyear welted 7mm leather sole, but is decorated with Barker’s laser script design. There are other types of Goodyear welted soles apart from leather, such as Dainite or Vibram.
Blake stitched shoes are stitched on the inside of the shoe. This method offers less water-resistance than the Goodyear welt, although the shoes can also be resoled. A Blake stitch is visible on the inside of the shoe.
Cementing is a cheaper and quicker way of attaching the sole, resulting in a lower price for the finished shoe. There is no welting involved, the sole is simply attached to the shoe with an adhesive.
Check out our range of Goodyear welted shoes or contact our shoe experts for more advice on finding your ideal pair.