Goodyear welt is a very durable and popular construction method to welt your shoes. For newcomers to the shoe world, it can be confusing because all the different terms are bombarding you. You can read about what Goodyear welt is and why it’s so popular.
But the real question is, how do we find out if a pair of shoes that you are holding is Goodyear welted?
How to tell if your shoes are goodyear welted from - Stitches
First of all, the easiest way for you to identify is that you are able to see the welt stitched around the outsole of your shoes. It can be seen from the above and below. The stitching that is visible should be matching in terms of their stitching density. If both have same density, it’s more likely that your shoes are goodyear welted. Shoes that are hand-welted, may not have same stitch density.
But something to be careful is that. Some of the high-end shoes with leather outsoles, or with shoes or boots with certain types of outsoles, such as crepe soles can still be Goodyear welted with invisible stitching. So it is not 100% accurate all the time to guess if the shoes are goodyear welted by only looking at the outsole stitching.
Often, some manufacturers will use faux welt to make the shoes look like that the shoes are Goodyear welted. They will cement or glue two pre-stitched soles together to make the shoes looking like it’s Goodyear welted. Which is a very clever method. These types of shoes, the manufacturers will not say that the shoes are Goodyear welted. If they do, that’s false information that they are providing.
For fake welts, you can identify that the shoes with faux Goodyear welts have non-matching stitching top and bottom of the outsoles. This is a pretty clear giveaway when it comes to fake stitching because real Goodyear welt stitching will have matching stitch distance between the top and the bottom of the outsole just like the photo down below.
How to tell if your shoes are goodyear welted from - Glue
So to elaborate more from the faux Goodyear welts, or fake goodyear welts. The outsoles have to be cemented or glued because they are not stitched together. If they are poorly glued or cemented, you will be able to see the glue residue on the side of the welt. This is not a clear giveaway all the time, but this is a factor to consider when identifying a pair of shoes that is Goodyear welted.
The glue that is used for shoes is incredibly adhesive and usually will not come off with everyday usage. However, it won’t be water-resistant and less durable compared with the stitching method.
Over time, as you wear the cemented shoes longer, the glue will get wet and get weaken and may start to fall off. Meanwhile, with the goodyear welted stitching, the stitches will hold on for a very long time.
How to tell if your shoes are goodyear welted from - Manufacturer
In most cases, manufacturers will state whether the shoes are Goodyear welted or not. Since it’s a very big deal for a pair of shoes to be Goodyear welted (because of a lot of extra steps that it has to go through), the manufacturer will let you know that the shoes are Goodyear welted. When shoes are Goodyear welted, they are on average $100 to $200 dollars more expensive compared to regular cemented shoes. What you are paying for is the machinery and manufacturing skill used to produce fine shoes.
Certain brands of shoes will look like goodyear welted are actually made with blake rapid stitching method. That is a different method of manufacturing shoes from Goodyear welt method, but it’s still very durable and can be refurbished.
How to tell if your shoes are goodyear welted from - Cobbler
Lastly, if in doubt, go to your local cobbler and ask if he thinks that the shoes are goodyear welted. In most cases, your local cobbler will be able to tell if your shoes or boots are goodyear welted.
So are your shoes goodyear welted? Use the above method above to find out if your shoes are goodyear welted.