Goodyear Welting - What is it exactly?
A brief run through on what Goodyear welting is and why is makes a difference to shoes
The 'welt' is a strip of leather that is sewn around the bottom of a shoe. The stitching in the welt attaches it to both the insole of the shoe and the upper. The welt is folded out to form a point of attachment for the outer sole which is then attached using a heavy duty lock-stitch seam.
The stitching runs around the outside of the sole (so that the part under the foot is not pierced) in order to maximise the sole's water resistance.
Picture taken from The Shoe Snob Blog
In the construction of a welted shoe there is a thin cavity between the insole and the outer sole. Many companies and brands fill this space with cork, as it is a lightweight material, is insulating and also will mould itself to the shape of the wearers foot, most importantly though, cork allows the leather of the shoe and the foot to breathe
There is a downside to Goodyear welting, as it can add bulk to a shoe. This is due to the fact that in order to be goodyear welted a shoe must be constructed with edges for the welt to be attached via the stitching process. This of course is a negative in terms of aesthetics and has no bearing on the overall quality of the shoe and the durability of the construction.
Goodyear welting has a number of advantages however, as the shoe can be repairer more easily, goodyear welting is also more weather resistant than the standard adhesive soled shoe and also with the cork filling the wearer may find the shoe more comfortable.