Welt Guide. Blake vs. Goodyear Construction
One of the hardest choices most shoe buyers face when presented to them for the first time is which welt to choose. Who's opinion do you listen to, who are the experts, and how much does it really matter in the end?
The TLDR on the subject is that it's mostly an aesthetic choice, so it really comes down to personal preference. You're the one looking at your shoes the most, and both look great. Our opinion on the breakdown is below.
Now we'll get into the more complete opinion on these topics of each welt. There are countless opinions, and preferences on the subject. These ones belong to us, so take it with a grain of salt.
Resoling your shoes is important because it protects your purchase and if you value a patina the way selvedge denim enthusiasts cherish their well worn jeans you don't want to lose all that progress simply because the outsole has worn out. That's where your local cobbler becomes your local hero, giving your footwear new tread and new life.
Both the Goodyear welt and the Blake welt can be resoled; however, the Goodyear welted shoes are easier for the cobbler and more common. So you might want to check around with cobblers near you for availability on what can be done.
How weather proof a shoe or boot is can also be a factor, especially important depending on your locale. Most of the weather proof aspect of a shoe comes down to the leather but this is a welt guide, so lets talk welts!
The Goodyear welt connects the upper leather of the shoe with the outsole via a stitch that runs through 5 layers: the midsole, the rib, the upper, the welt, and the outsole. This gives more layers that the water has to penetrate before it reaches your feet.
The Blake welt, also called Blake stitch, connects the upper to the outsole via a stitch that runs through 3 layers: the insole, the upper, and the outsole. So a little bit less layers compared to the Goodyear welt.
Flexibility can be a big component for comfort, and to some degree affects ground feel (consider those layer differences from above).
The Blake welt is a more flexible shoe, and considered more comfortable by some. This is due to two reasons: (1) there are less layers compared to a Goodyear welt, and (2) there is no midsole the welt needs to attach to. So if you are looking for more ground feel and more flexibility you might be swayed towards a Blake welted shoe.
The Goodyear welted shoe while less flexible than the Blake welt is not a rigid shoe or boot by any means. It still allows for comfortable range of motion within the gait cycle; and the natural toebox shape of our shoes allows your foot a hefty degree of freedom over traditional dress shoes.