The Goodyear Welt Construction Process for Mens Dress Shoes

Published: 25th February 2008
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This article considers the process of shoe construction known as 'Goodyear Welt'. This process is the traditional method for the manufacture of mens dress shoes and it takes its name from the inventor who came up with the original hand sewn method. The benefit of a dress shoe which is made using the Goodyear welt construction is that the system allows for a constant flow of air to flow through the shoe, which keeps the shoes ventilated, durable and strong.

So how are these dress shoes constructed? Essentially, the upper part of the dress shoe is shaped over the last and fastened on by sewing a leather strip (also known as the 'welt') to the inner and upper sole. As well as using a 'welt', a thread 12 strands thick is used to hold the material firmly together.

The welt obviously forms a cavity which is then filled with a cork material known as 'Flexofil'. This highly unique material is supplied by Livingston & Doughty Ltd and has become world-renowned due to its high flexibility and resilience (leading ultimately to a more comfortable pair of dress shoes). The final part of the dress shoe is the sole which is then attached to the welt of the dress shoe with a high power adhesive.

The very nature of this shoe construction means that Goodyear welted dress shoes take much longer to manufacture than cheaper alternatives. Factories commonly hire scores of highly skilled and trained operators to create dress shoes of comfort, strength and durability. However, Goodyear welted construction is the chosen method for some highly reputable brands in the UK dress shoe industry, for example Loake Shoes, Grenson Shoes, Barker Shoes and Churches.

For a fine selection of mens dress shoes, visit ShoeNet (the partner site to Livingston & Doughty) at Every pair of shoes is shipped free using DHL to all UK addresses and comes with a free spare pair of laces and a shoe horn.

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