What is a Goodyear Welt?

Here at Percy Stride, you may hear us bang on about our footwear being Goodyear welted – but how can you tell? What is a Goodyear Welt construction?And does it really matter?

In its simplest form, a Goodyear welt is a construction technique patented by a man called Mr Charles Goodyear Jr in 1871.

Ever since, men’s shoes that have been made using this method are often deemed as a the best quality shoes.

But what makes a Goodyear Welt construction so ‘special’?

The art of the Goodyear welt construction

close up of goodyear welt on men's handmade shoes

The ‘special’ factor of handmade men’s Goodyear welted shoes lies in where and how they are made. A welt is the ribbon of leather that runs around the edge of the upper and is used to keep the main components of the shoe together.

Constructing a Goodyear welted shoe consists of running a lockstitch through the upper, insole and welt. Another stitch is then used to attach the outsole.

The double-stitch process is what makes the shoes durable, robust and long-lasting.

If you’re proud to be British, then a pair of Goodyear welted dress shoes should go straight in your basket! The town of Northampton still remains the capital of the British shoemakers and holds the industries biggest footwear brands like Churches, Edward Green and Cheaney still choosing factories there. So when you buy a pair of British Goodyear welted dress shoes, you are supporting your homeland.

But that’s not even the best part…

They are easily repairable shoes

fixing a goodyear welt on handmade men's dress shoes

As we’ve mentioned before, buying a new pair of cheap shoes over and over again can end up costing you a considerable amount of money.

Whereas one quality, but more expensive, pair of Goodyear welted shoes can essentially last you a lifetime (providing you follow our tips on shoe care).

But how?

Well, due to the welt creating a layer between the outsole and insole, a cobbler can easily remove and replace worn soles by quickly detaching certain parts instead of breaking the whole shoe.  

A Goodyear welted construction also gives you quality waterproof protection too for all those wet and windy days. So if you were wondering whether a Goodyear Welted shoe is waterproof then they are considerably more waterproof than cheaper alternative constructions.

While Goodyear welted men’s shoes may feel a bit rigid to start with, after a few times of wearing them they will naturally mould around your foot.

Designed for every generation

One of the most appealing aspects of a Goodyear welted shoe is the timeless element it brings to the table. This construction technique was developed back in 1871 and it’s still being used today.

Men's leather Oxford shoes and brogues are still extremely popular, especially with the recent resurgence of gentlemen’s fashion.

You can adjust your style to go formal, smart/casual or even casual. To get the most use out of a pair of Goodyear welted shoes over the course of your life, it’s always wise to look at your staple colour selection in your wardrobe.

If you love vibrant colours, a more daring blue or burgundy pair of Oxford shoes will be on the money. However, if you usually stick to blue, black or grey clothes, always go for a more traditional colour when it comes to your dress shoes.

Still not convinced? Then you might find our previous blog useful: Why the Oxford Shoe Should Be the Pinnacle of Every Gentleman’s Wardrobe.