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Construction Methods

There are three basic methods of shoe construction: cementing, blake welting, and goodyear welting. We use both, Blake and Original Goodyear production methods. Each of them has its advantages, and defines how the sole is attached to the upper.

 

goodyear welt vs Blake stitch

Goodyear Welting

Original Goodyear welting is the oldest, most labor intensive, and most durable of the three methods of construction.

Manufacturing process of a Goodyear Welted shoe

For more than 300 years, the Original Goodyear Welting process has been associated with excellence and superior workmanship. More than 60 craftsmen are involved in the process of manufacturing one of our Goodyear shoes, and they use between 25 and 50 different elements and pieces. All this involves a process with more than 120 handcrafted phases, from beginning to end.

In 1872 Charles Goodyear invented a machine capable of stitching the welt to the insole, thus revolutionizing the quality of footwear worldwide. Due to its longstanding heritage, little needed maintenance, waterproof durability and clean aesthetic, Goodyear method is highly valued in the high-end shoe market.

 

goodyear welt

 

The welt refers to a strip of leather that is sewn around the perimeter of the upper of the shoe, onto the insole. The outer sole is then sewn to the welt, as opposed to being attached directly to the upper like the Blake stitch method.

The cavity created by the welt between the insole and the outer sole is filled with cork, another natural product which provides insulation, protection, and comfort: as you wear the shoe, the cork filler takes an impression of your foot, like memory foam. This provides unparalleled comfort and support when compared to cheaper forms of manufacturing.

Blake Stitching

Experts recognize Blake-stitched shoes by their soles: the insole is sewn directly to the outsole. Blake-stitched shoes such as loafers don’t have cork bottom fillers or any additional layers of insulation.

 

Blake stitch

 

A special sewing machine is used for this shoe production method—this machine directly stitches through the outsole, insole and bottom edge of the shoe shaft, connecting them without using welts.

Blake-stitched shoes don’t feature cork bottom fillers or additional layers of insulation, like Goodyear shoes. Loafers are a prime example of this kind of shoe. As opposed to Goodyear-welted men’s shoes, blake-stitched shoes are assembled in fewer steps.

Cementing

Cementing is the fastest, and most common method of attaching the sole of a shoe. Once the upper is shaped and completed around the last, the sole is attached with an adhesive, and no welting is used.

Slippers fall under this category, as well as some other Men Dress rubber soles, like the Running and Sportwedge rubber soles.

Sole Units

From the formal and classic Plain Leather Sole, to the new casual Running Rubber Sole, each one has its own personality.

Find below a quick cheat sheet of the standard soles available:

 

shoe sole options

 

Choose Between Soles

customize shoe soles

Looking for more sole units?

We have plenty of different shoe lasts, shoe styles, shoe patterns, sole units… etc for you to choose from.

 

ready-to-wear shoes

Shoe Lasts

We construct shoes on a wide variety of Last. Lasts are foot-shaped forms that provide shoemakers with a foundation for building a shoe. The last used during shoe assembly can affect the overall fit of a shoe, as well as the aesthetics and look of the shoe.

Some shoe styles can be assembled using different lasts, and others only with a specific one. For instance, a pair of Goodyear Welted Oxfords can be ordered using 3 different shoe lasts (Zurigo, Monti and Savile) each one with its own unique characteristics.

Heel Options (Higher Height)

For Goodyear production, two heel options are available. The standard heel is approximately 26 mm (1 inch). And with the higher heel you can add up 8 mm (0.34 inch) in height for a total of 34 mm (1.34 inch). The fitting and comfort provided on the higher heel is exactly the same as the standard one.

 

shoe heels

Leather Options

Our calf tanneries come from North West Spain, Germany and Italy.

The types of leather below represent a full array of leather skins. They are all used in luxury shoe production and they differ from the "look" and "texture" point of view.

Painted Calf Leather

Crust calf leather (painted calf) enables artisans to hand paint the pieces with special creams and brushes. The look is very artisanal. Source is Conceria Tolio from Italy (same crust material used by Santoni, Berlutti, Andres Sendra, among many others). Learn more about Conceria Tolio on https://conceriatolio.com/storia/. Raw leathers are then hand painted by our artisans.

Besides the "plain" Painted Calf leather, we also offer it engraved with different textures, like full grain or pebble grain.

Box Calf Leather

The majority of quality men's shoes are made from the hides of calves. Box calf is primarily distinguished by its fineness, pliability, and grain. Box Calf leathers are hand painted by our artisans.

Calf Suede

Also called "Suede" or "Lux Suede". This leather is created from the underside of the animal hide, as a result it is softer, and more supple and can have the appearance of a "furry nap".

Kid Suede

Kid Suede is the most soft, velvety suede leather type which comes from small goat skins. The skins are pretty small which increases the price of leather (consumption per pair). It has a more refined finish with a smaller grain on the surface.

Polished Calf

Polished calf refers to rectified grain calf. This eliminates any skin imperfections. The look is not as natural as a regular, plain full grain, but the look is very good, luxurious. This type of leather is quite expensive because of the post-production processes that it needs at the tannery. Polished Calf Leathers are hand painted by our artisans.

Patent Leather

A type of leather finish whereby the surface is treated to create a highly glossy, shiny appearance.

Nubuck Leather

Lightweight, supple leather made up of the most outer layer of a hide, the surface is buffed to give the grain a light velvety finish called a "nap".

Sartorial Materials

We offer a full array of sartorial fabrics, flannels and velvets. Sartorial patterns like Tweed, Plaid, Tartan, Herringbone, Leopard, etc.

The result of mixing these sartorial materials with classic hand painted leather in a shoe, can be truly astonishing.

Exotic Skins

We offer genuine exotic skins in our Made-to-Order program, including Alligator, Python and Ostrich skins, matching our painted calf base colors.

 

alligator skin

Alligator Genuine Skin

Alligator mississippiensis” skin renders a very attractive and fashionable leather. The leather is strong, supple, durable and very expensive. A bony layer within the skin adds a protective shield, while a dimple on each scale makes a very exotic look.

Hailing from the Southeast USA and frequently harvested from farm-bred gators as well as from wild animals, American alligator skin is a classic, durable and versatile leather. The American alligator’s hide is the soft and more pliable material. This is because the skin of this reptile is less bony than the skin of crocodiles. This softness makes the alligator’s skin easier to work with than the skin of other reptiles, making it easier to work with for cutting, stitching and folding.

 

ostrich skin

Ostrich Genuine Skin

Ostrich leather is one of the finest and most durable leathers. It’s a luxurious leather well know for its softness, flexibility and durability. In spite of its softness, Ostrich leather is unsurpassed for its tactile strength. It is, in fact, one of the strongest leathers available. Naturally occurring oils in the leather contribute to its durability, preventing cracking, even under extreme temperatures and sun exposure.

The main distinguishing feature of ostrich leather is the quill or feather socket markings. The “full quill” area of the leather is the most sought after and therefore the most expensive type of ostrich leather. The quill pattern is the result of large follicles which each contained a feather.

 

python skin

Python Genuine Skin

Snakeskins are very desirable for shoes because of the unique grain, scales, and color patterns. Snakes are skinned in two ways, cut down the belly scales leaving the small scales in the center, “belly” or “front” cut python, and cut down the back leaving the wide belly scale in the center, called “back” cut python. We use the “front” cut python.

The scales were the snakes protection from the elements and are essentially like a callous, dead skin. The size of the scale will vary depending upon the area of the skin cut. The scales have a “lip” open toward the tail will grab and aid the snake in crawling. This lip is your assurance that the snake is genuine.