Posted on

Blake Stitch vs. Goodyear Welt: The Shoe Welt Types Showdown

different shoe welts Black welt vs Goodyear welt

Quality shoes are complex: they have a wide variety of construction methods for every aspect of the shoe, and these options all have their pros and cons. You may be considering whether to go with a Blake Stitch vs Goodyear Welt, or you may even be considering something else. In the shoe welt showdown, we are going to look over shoe welt types, and what you need to know when making a decision on the type of shoe welt you want in a pair.

What Is A Shoe Welt?

Put simply, the welt is the layer of material that rests between the insole and the outsole of your shoe. A shoe welt is a structural layer providing support and durability to the shoe’s construction. 

The shoe welt lays between the insole and the outsole and serves a few important purposes. The welt layer is essential in order to create extra support and water resistance. Choosing the right shoe welt type makes for a superior, more durable overall construction. 

In reviewing the Blake stitch vs Goodyear welt, you will need to be familiar with some general shoe terminology.

Shoe Terminology: Insole, Outsole, and Upper

The insole of a shoe is the layer of material your foot makes contact with when you’re wearing your shoes. The outsole is the layer that makes contact with the ground. Another term we will be using here is the upper: the pieces that construct the main portion of the shoe, the portion your foot goes into.

Custom shoes with goodyear shoe welt types

Shoe Welt Types

shoe welt types diagram comparing blake stitch vs goodyear welt

There are three main varieties of shoe welt types when it comes to attachment, but we’re going to look in depth at two today. The third shoe welt type is called cementing, and it’s simply gluing the layers together. It’s cheap, easy to do, and is usually found on more casual shoes that are less well built. Here, we’re going to mainly focus on the Goodyear and the Blake welt. When comparing a Goodyear welt vs Blake welt, both of these shoe welt types are high quality. As with many garments, the more durable options speak to a higher quality product.

What is a Blake Welt (a.k.a Blake Stitch)?

In a Blake welt, the upper wraps all the way around the insole, resting between the insole and the welt layer. A single stitch pushed down through the insole passes through the upper, the welt, and the outsole. It comes to rest perpendicular to the shoe’s layers.

Blake Welt Construction

Industrial and flexible – the Blake welt is more common than the Goodyear. It’s more common because it’s easier to construct. The Blake welt’s industrial construction method requires a specific machine and cannot be done by hand. 

Blake Stitch vs Goodyear Welt: Benefits of The Blake Welt

The Blake welt is simpler to construct compared to the Goodyear. It does require a specific machine to create, but on the whole, it is less expensive than a Goodyear welt. The stitch goes through only a few layers, making it more flexible. Because of its simplicity in construction, resoling is simple as well.

Blake Stitch vs Goodyear Welt: Drawbacks of Blake Welt

On the other hand, because the Blake welt requires a specific machine, resoling can be more expensive, despite the initial construction of a Blake welt being on the less expensive side. In addition, while fewer layers does make the shoe more flexible, it also makes it less water resistant, and in some cases, less durable. Some men say their foot becomes irritated by the interior stitching on the insole, as well.

What is a Goodyear Welt?

Most shoemakers and footwear connoisseurs consider the Goodyear to be the superior among all shoe welt types. Custom and intricate, the Goodyear welt is less common and more complex than even the Blake Welt. Overall, the Goodyear welt is more expensive to construct than other shoe welt types because the design is more intricate. Not to mention, shoes with Goodyear welts are handmade. Because of the intricate hand-construction, the welt is also more durable compared to a Blake Welt. 

Construction of the Goodyear Welt

When we say the Goodyear welt construction is complex, we mean it. There is a three-step system involved in constructing a Goodyear welt. First, the shoemaker prepares the insole by creating a perpendicular rib that extends below the insole into the welt. Sometimes the rib uses material cut and sculpted from the insole material itself, or it can use an entirely different material. The maker then stretches the upper into the shape of the toe, and presses it up against the insole rib. A second rib, made from the upper, rests next to the insole rib.

Blake Stitch vs. Goodyear Welt: Benefits of the Goodyear Welt

A major benefit of the Goodyear welt is that the two separate stitches makes for an easy resole. Also, while they are more expensive to construct up front, due to the extra materials and manual labor required, the lack of necessity for a specific machine makes for a less expensive resole. While the ribs make for a less flexible shoe, it is more supportive, durable, and water-resistant.

Dark aubergine patina chukka boots with goodyear shoe welt types

So Which of the Shoe Welt Types is Right For You?

When picking a welt style, your choice comes down to trade-offs. In the Shoe Welt Types Showdown, we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons, now it’s just down to what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to forego. When it comes to deciding between the Blake Stitch vs Goodyear Welt, keep in mind that if you’re looking for a hardy shoe that is going to last you for many, many years, go with a Goodyear. The Goodyear welt, with its durability, more involved construction process, and resoling capabilities, is widely considered the superior welt.

Therefore, we strictly offer Goodyear welt shoes here at HARTTER MANLY. We want your shoes to last a lifetime and to only fit better with time. Like most elements of a man’s wardrobe, it’s a good idea to have a variety of options. If you’re only looking to invest in one pair of shoes now, take these tips into consideration. Head over to our store and shop our shoe collection, or book an appointment to customize the perfect pair for you.