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Types of shoe construction and the effects on a wearer

Types of shoe construction and the effects on a wearer

The method with which the sole of a shoe is attached to the upper of the shoe is the most vital part of a shoe’s construction and has 3 major types:

1 – Cementing,

2 – Blake stitch

3 – Goodyear Welt.

The type of shoe construction determines the comfort, durability and the price you pay for a pair of shoes.

The upper is the part of the shoe that is seen above the sole when it is worn. It is essentially everything that covers the upper part of the feet when worn.


The insole is the material on the inside of the shoe the feet come in contact with when a shoe is worn.


The outsole is the material on the exterior of the sole and the part that comes in contact with the ground when worn.


Having covered the basic terminologies that cover shoes and their construction, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different type of shoe constructions to determine which might be the best fit for the wearer.


Cementing is the most common method of attaching the sole of the shoe to the upper by utilizing an adhesive, with no welting stitch involved. The advantage of this method is that this is ideal in shoes with rubber soles as seen in casual shoes like sneakers. This method also allows for cheaper prices of shoes. However, the durability of such a construction is limited and prevents resoling, making it impossible to repair the shoe itself.


Blake welting is the simpler one of the two welting methods. The upper is wrapped around the insole and attached between it and the outsole with a single stitch done from the inside. This can only be done by machine and not by hand. It is the cheaper method amongst welt constructions and allows for repairing if the outsole is damaged. Since the stitch is applied from the inside of the shoe, the outsole can also be close-cut to the upper and the few number of layers that go into making the shoe also allows great flexibility of the shoe itself.


However, the lesser number of layers also make it less water resistant, allowing water to wick through the sole and the stitching applied from the inside of the shoe might also cause irritation for the wearer. It can also only be repaired by machine and never by hand.


Goodyear welting is the oldest method of construction and is the most labour intensive. It is also the most durable amongst the three methods of construction.  It consists of a three-part process: Firstly, the Insole is prepared by creating a perpendicular rib that run across the insole, done by cutting and sculpting the insole or by using a supplementary material such as linen tape. Secondly the shoes is lasted by stretching the outsole over a last, a 3-D model of a foot over which construction is done, and attaching it along with the insole to the last. Thirdly, the actual welting is done by stitching through the welt, the upper and the insole rib. The welt is attached to the outsole using a separate stitch. Lock stitches are used to ensure the chain doesn’t unravel if the thread breaks at any point in the shoe. This can be done both by hand or by machine.


The two levels of stitching make the Goodyear welt method makes resoling the shoe easy, both by hand or by machine. The additional layers also make it water resistant.  The labour intensive construction, however, also makes the piece expensive and the additional layers also make it less flexible for the wearer.

Depending on a wearer’s usage and comfort requirement, one can choose from the three types of construction. While hand-made Goodyear welt shoes certainly have a cache for being a classic, it is common for most men to have an assortment consisting of different types of construction for different uses, with the Blake stitch and Goodyear welting being for dress shoes and Cemented shoes for casual wear.



The Ultimate Gentleman’s Shoe Guide

A solid pair of loafers are shoes every man should own. They are best for someone who needs semi-formal work outfits at work with a balance of comfort and sharp dressing. These might come with tassels or buckles, but the choice of ornamentation purely depends on the wearer’s personal style statement. As a slip-on type of shoe, they are also versatile enough to carry one from day through night.


Dress boots are a pair of shoes every gentleman needs for events that will get one messy. These are for outdoor workplace events which require formal looking shoes which can take a bit of wear and tear and will allow increased mobility for the wearer. Treating them meticulously with mink oil and leather conditioner will ensure long-lasting durability of these worthy investments.


Leather dress shoes are an essential part of any gentleman’s wardrobe. Be it a formal workplace event or a social gathering, a well-constructed pair of leather dress shoes are vital to complete the look. While an expensive pair of Italian dress shoes will definitely look great, any well-constructed pair of dress shoes by expert craftsmen will do the job just as well.




Handmade shoes and what makes them truly luxurious



While mass-produced shoes have obvious monetary reasons as to why they have a market, the cache that handmade shoes have as a product of luxury Is unparalleled.


The quality of product used in handmade shoes as compared to mass-produced shoes are vastly different, with expert craftsmen ensuring the evenness of material and quality before constructing the shoe. This is especially the case in leather shoes, whereby the highest grade of leather Is used to make handmade shoes. By ensuring imperfections in the leather are avoided in the construction, it allows for a longer lasting pair of shoes.


Handmade shoes look into the comfort of various parts of a shoe such as the heel, toe and the waist. Different parts of the shoe have different types of construction to ensure optimal comfort for the whole foot. A handmade shoe also allows for a completely made-to-measure set of shoes to fit your feet just right.


Handmade shoes are built to last as they are much more labour intensive in the construction methodology and the lock stitching all around the shoe. It takes much longer to produce handmade shoes due to this which make them truly luxurious as each piece received personal attention from a master craftsman. A pair of handmade shoes is known to last at least four times longer than a regular pair of mass-market shoe.


Handmade shoes also have the advantage of hand done design details that cannot be attained by machine made shoes which almost act like the craftsmen’s signature. They are also more personal as the service offered by handmade shoe manufacturers extends past the initial purchase. Repairs are also taken care of by the same service providers.


With all these advantages, handmade shoes and their more expensive price range become entirely valid as they remain a worth investment to anyone who knows quality when they see it.

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