Goodyear Welted Shoes
The Goodyear welt is a method of attaching the sole of a shoe to the upper.
This currently used method is built upon the earlier inventive work of shoe
manufacturer Christian Dancel (1847-1898). The upper is temporarily drawn over
the last and a strip of leather (the welt) is stitched to the upper and inner
sole. The sole is then hand-stitched through the Welt to complete the process.
This construction allows multiple sole replacements, extending the life of the footwear.
Goodyear welts are characteristic of high-end handmade British shoes.
A welt is a strip of leather, rubber, or plastic that is stitched to the upper and insole
of a shoe, as an attach-point for the sole. The space enclosed by the welt is then filled with
cork or some other filler material (usually either porous or perforated, for breathability),
and the outsole is both cemented and stitched to the welt. This process of making shoes is
referred to as Goodyear Welt construction, as the machinery used for the process was invented
by the son of Charles Goodyear. Shoes with other types of construction may also have welts for
finished appearance, but they generally serve little or no structural purpose.