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Technique Goodyear welting

The welt is a leather strip that runs along the edge of the outsole. On Goodyear-welted shoes, the welt is first stitched to the outsole, before stitching the shoe upper to the welt. This creates a very strong bonding where no piercing is done through the insole. Because the welt acts as a buffer between the insole and outsole, the lifespan of the shoes can be greatly extended.

Technique Goodyear welting

goodyear welting

The welt is a leather strip that runs along the edge of the outsole. On Goodyear-welted shoes, the welt is first stitched to the outsole, before stitching the shoe upper to the welt. This creates a very strong bonding where no piercing is done through the insole.

The main advantage of the Goodyear method is that it allows the shoes to be easily resoled over and over again. A cobbler can cut through the final stitch that runs along the welt to remove a worn-out sole and attach a new one, without causing damage to the sensitive leather.

Because the welt acts as a buffer between the insole and outsole, the lifespan of the shoes can be greatly extended. The welt construction also adds stability and strength to the shoe, and increases its water-resistance.

The invention of the Goodyear welt process and sewing machine in 1869 provided a modern and more efficient alternative to traditional shoemaking, which was entirely done by hand. But it is a manual, expensive and time-consuming method, which requires skilled craftsmanship, and is used today only for high-quality footwear.