GOMILA GOODYEAR

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Goodyear welted is a category of high quality shoe construction that allows a pair to be re-soled multiple times without damaging the upper leather. The machinery used in the process was invented in 1869 by Charles Goodyear Jr., the son of the American manufacturing engineer Charles Goodyear. Labour and material intensive, we believe Goodyear welting to be the pinnacle of artisanal shoemaking. 

The Goodyear welted construction is the pinnacle of shoemaking. The primary benefit is a pair’s long term durability and ability to be re-soled. Goodyear welting allows for the easy release of the outsole from the welt, which can be replaced with a brand new sole.

Goodyear welted shoes are made by first attaching a welt, a thin piece of leather or rubber, to the bottom edge of the upper leathers. Both pieces are further attached to a canvas rib that is cemented to the bottom of the insole.

Because of the layers of leather stitched together, a Goodyear welted pair has greater water protection than other constructions as well. This can be further improved by including extra waterproofing elements, such as a Norwegian welt.

There is also the benefit of comfort over time. The construction leaves a cavity between the insole and outsole that’s filled with a layer of cork. Cork is porous and malleable, and with time will conform to the shape of the wearer’s foot for a customized fit. The upper leathers will bend and form to match the wearer’s gait as well, reaching a level of supple strength that only real leather can provide.

When we talk about handcraft shoemaking, materials are the key. The sole, the leather and specially the welting make this footwear unique. A Goodyear welted sole can be made of different materials depending on the purpose of the shoe. Goodyear welted dress shoes for formal or business wear will often use leather soles. These soles are classic, low-profile, and make a sophisticated impact that’s difficult to replace with rubber soles.

Pairs for more day-to-day wear, such as Goodyear welted chukka boots, will more often use rubber soles for extra traction and durability. High density rubber soles have exceptional durability and grip for more intense wear. A rubber sole can also tone down a leather shoe to make it more casual and easier to wear with your daily jeans or chinos.

We primarily use Leather, Vibram and Dainite rubber soles in our collection, both rubber brands that are renowned and trusted in the shoe world for dependable quality. 

The greatest benefits to this construction is the ability to re-sole a pair and keep them in your collection for many years to come. For that reason, the best Goodyear welted shoes will invest in using higher quality leathers that will age gracefully, patina, and stand the test of time.

One of the best ways to understand the Goodyear welted construction is familiarity with other common shoe constructions.

Cementing is most common with sneakers and more cheaply constructed shoes and boots. The sole is simply glued, or cemented, to the uppers of the shoe. Since there are no extra layers of stitching or leather, the sole is immediately flexible, but once the glue fails or the sole wears down the pairs are destined for the landfill. This is acceptable for athletic sneakers but has no place in the leather shoe world.

Blake stitching is the closest relative to the Goodyear welted construction. The soles are still stitching on, but instead of attaching them to a leather welt, the stitching goes directly through the footbed to the insole. Although this construction avoids cementing and is a bit lighter, the resulting pair is much more difficult to re-sole and lacks the waterproofing qualities of the Goodyear welt.

Although each construction can find a suitable place in your collection, we stand by the Goodyear welted collection as the best method in the world of shoemaking for a dependable, elegant pair that’s made to last.

Gomila Goodyear. Combining the historic construction with the wonders of modern technology, to bring you a shoe you will truly love to wear.

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