The main identifying feature of a Goodyear shoe is its bottom. This comprises of two soles separated by a layer of granulated cork and joined together by double stitching. Stitching first joins the welt to the underside of the insole, and then the sole is stitched to the welt.
There are therefore no stitching holes inside the shoe, which gives it perfect insulation from cold, heat and ground dampness, and great comfort and support. This production system makes it somewhat rigid when new, although this rigidity is lost immediately. With use, the foot adapts to the insole, leaving the user’s imprint inside the shoe and providing exceptional comfort.
The Goodyear Welted method, the origins of which can be traced back over three hundred years, is widely regarded as the best way of putting together the components in a premium quality leather shoe.
The name Goodyear Welted comes from the long strip of leather - called the welt - that is stitched to the upper and the insole of the shoe. The outsole (sole) is attached separately to the welt. This unique construction gives Goodyear Welted shoes their superior performance properties.
The more a Goodyear Welted shoe is worn, the more comfortable it becomes as the leather components gradually mould to the shape of the foot. And because the components are stitched rather than glued together, all the natural properties of the leather are retained, giving improved thermal insulation, durability, flexibility and shape retention, as well as the best possible breathing conditions for feet.
It is also possible to re-sole a pair of worn Goodyear Welted shoes or boots by stitching new soles to the existing welts, thereby increasing their life expectancy.
Blake Stitched shoes
Blake-stitching is often used by Italian shoemakers as this method can make for a very light, thin-soled shoe. However, Blake-stitched shoes are not as durable, water resistant, or as easily repaired as a welted shoe. They are however, considered superior to a cemented shoe which is simply glued together.
Blake-stitched shoes have an upper, an insole, and a sole but they do not have a welt. The insole and upper are attached to the last. Then the sole is glued on and a single row of machine-stitching is used to stitch through and attach the sole, the insole, and the upper.