It is a well-known fact that welted shoes last much longer than shoes made using other types of construction methods. Welts are the pieces of leather where the sole of the shoe attaches to the upper leather. Most cheaply made shoes don’t have welts, the sole is just cemented directly onto the bottom of the upper, so when the sole wears down the shoe has to be thrown out.
Quality shoes, however, have their soles stitched to the upper so a cobbler can easily replace the sole. The two most common shoe construction methods in the industry are the Goodyear welt and the Blake stitch.
THE GOODYEAR WELT
Due to its longstanding heritage, little needed maintenance, waterproof durability and clean aesthetic, the Goodyear welt is arguably the most prolific construction method within the leather footwear industry. The Goodyear welttakes its name from Charles Goodyear Jr., an American inventor who automated the previously hand made welting process in 1869. This very same method is still used by cobblers around the world today.
The first step in constructing a Goodyear welt is to stretch the upper over a last and bring it together with the insole, mid-sole, and welt using what is called a welt-stitch; one of two elements in the Goodyear welt, along with the (rapidstitch)that holds the entire operation together. From there, in a relatively simple last step, the welt is cemented and rapid stitched to the both the mid and outsoles. All Dack’s shoes are Goodyear welted, like the Turner II.
A slight modification of the Goodyear welt is known as the Storm Welt. The Storm welt construction uses a welt similar to that of a Goodyear constructed shoes but wider. The extra width allows the welt to be bent upwards, creating a seal around the junction between the upper and the mid-sole. Aptly named, the Storm welt is generally considered to offer greater moisture protection than a simple Goodyear welt. Dack’s signature Dufferin is a fine example of a Goodyear Storm welted shoe.
THE BLAKE STITCH
Shoes made using the Blake stitch go without a welt altogether. It simply uses a single channeled stitch running straight from the outsole through to the interior to hold the different elements of the shoe together. Some modern shoemakers slip a lining within the shoe to hide the Blake stitch from a bird’s eye view, however the more traditional method was to leave the Blake stitch visible.
The Blake stitch has become less common. While a Blake stitched shoe can be resoled, it needs a specific Blake machine to do so – making it much more difficult and expensive than resoling a Goodyear welted shoe. While fewer layers make the sole more flexible, they also make it less water-resistant. Water can wick up through the sole and begin to pool more quickly and easily. There are also some men who complain about irritation at the bottom of their feet because of the interior stitching.
Our standard shoe width is an F fitting. However, in order to accommodate variations in foot size, alternative width fittings are available in certain styles.
Narrow Fit = D width (USA E Fit)
Standard or Average Fit = F width (USA EE Fit)
Wide Fit = G width (USA EEE Fit)
Extra Wide Fit = H width (USA EEEE Fit)
As a shoe increases in size, the length and width both increase. A size 10F shoe is therefore one size bigger and one size wider than a size 9F shoe. A size 9G shoe is a size wider than a size 9F - in other words the width of the shoe would roughly correspond to a size 10F.
In the table below, the 11D, the 10F, the 9G and 8H would all be roughly the same width.
|Shoe size||D Fit||F Fit||G Fit||H Fit|
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