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Guest Edwin
Also it appears the heel is really made of leather laminates? English shoes mostly have wood in the heel.

 

Most, if not all shoemakers worth their salt uses stacked leather heels. I wonder what English shoes you're referring to that uses wooden heels?

 

I took a look at the photo you linked to, and while it's definitely hand stitched, I can't see if it is using a carved rib or a canvas ribbing. Do you have better photos of their work?

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Guest Edwin

I'll add that after looking at the photo in detail again, that it seems that the "heel stack" seen is just a padding used to hold the shoe to the lasting stand while inseaming.

 

The heels are usually only put on when the outsoles have been attached.

 

Sagara makes beautiful shoes!

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Edwin, you can see a few more pics here

http://www.bespokema...nd-pull-up#more

 

I went to this (in)famous cobbler in Ikano and that guy kept telling me to replace the heel to keep the "balance" of the shoe, etc. I said I'm not going to let him replace the fine stacked leather heel on my Church's Custom Grade with a chunk of rubber, when he said it's just a little bit of leather and a lot of wood. I said yau mou kau chor, it's all leather. He said if I would allow him to peel back the heel a bit? I said you glue it back afterwards. He took these pincers and peeled back the little bit of heel that is leather/rubber to reveal wood beneath. It is this wood that is the reason for the clog-like sound these shoes make on tiled surfaces. So I know my Loake 1880 also has wood in the heel because it sounds like a clog also.

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It is this wood that is the reason for the clog-like sound these shoes make on tiled surfaces. So I know my Loake 1880 also has wood in the heel because it sounds like a clog also.

 

So perhaps that's why some of my shoes don't make such sonorous sounds when I walk on the tiles in my office. I always thought it had to do with how hard the rubber part (or the entire rubber heel sometimes) of the heel was.

 

Some are really silent, some are quite loud. The pair of Cheaneys I bought from P Lal are silent. So are my EGs and the pair of Vass I sold. My navy suede wholecut Meermins are loud.

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Edwin, you can see a few more pics here

http://www.bespokema...nd-pull-up#more

 

I went to this (in)famous cobbler in Ikano and that guy kept telling me to replace the heel to keep the "balance" of the shoe, etc. I said I'm not going to let him replace the fine stacked leather heel on my Church's Custom Grade with a chunk of rubber, when he said it's just a little bit of leather and a lot of wood. I said yau mou kau chor, it's all leather. He said if I would allow him to peel back the heel a bit? I said you glue it back afterwards. He took these pincers and peeled back the little bit of heel that is leather/rubber to reveal wood beneath. It is this wood that is the reason for the clog-like sound these shoes make on tiled surfaces. So I know my Loake 1880 also has wood in the heel because it sounds like a clog also.

 

Thank you, we learn something new every day. Time to put the test to da family and we shall see who has been naughty and who has been nice.

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Edwin, you can see a few more pics here http://www.bespokema...nd-pull-up#more I went to this (in)famous cobbler in Ikano and that guy kept telling me to replace the heel to keep the "balance" of the shoe, etc. I said I'm not going to let him replace the fine stacked leather heel on my Church's Custom Grade with a chunk of rubber, when he said it's just a little bit of leather and a lot of wood. I said yau mou kau chor, it's all leather. He said if I would allow him to peel back the heel a bit? I said you glue it back afterwards. He took these pincers and peeled back the little bit of heel that is leather/rubber to reveal wood beneath. It is this wood that is the reason for the clog-like sound these shoes make on tiled surfaces. So I know my Loake 1880 also has wood in the heel because it sounds like a clog also.

 

Wow, that's a revelation. I honestly didn't think that Church's would use wooden heel stacks. We do learn something everyday!

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I don't think canvas ribbing was used. When they are used, they tend to be very obvious, like this Edward Green

 

Agreed! Very nice work in that case! Good to see other Asian manufacturers living up to standards and debunking the myth that only Europe makes good shoes.

 

Some notes on the term Goodyear welting though; it is usually used for Goodyear welted shoes, i.e. when the welt is stitched down with the machine. The term Goodyear is inherited from the inventor of the machine.

 

In this case, I would say that that particular pair of Sagara shoes are hand-welted, a superior technique when used with a carved leather rib.

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Agreed! Very nice work in that case! Good to see other Asian manufacturers living up to standards and debunking the myth that only Europe makes good shoes.

 

Some notes on the term Goodyear welting though; it is usually used for Goodyear welted shoes, i.e. when the welt is stitched down with the machine. The term Goodyear is inherited from the inventor of the machine.

 

In this case, I would say that that particular pair of Sagara shoes are hand-welted, a superior technique when used with a carved leather rib.

They are 50 years behind Northampton.

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Stumbled propituously across this post by DWFII

 

 

Originally Posted by sklim8 go_quote.gif

 

DWFII

In any event, if I may ask a question, why does GYW machines choose to use inferior materials? Can you not almost emulate hand welted if you use the GYW machines but the same materials that hand welting technique uses (am I making sense)? Because it seems that while there may be differences in machine made vs. man made, you seem to focus more on the material used when it is machine made, vs. man made.

 

The short answer is that making shoes is a business. And when you start talking about factories, job one is profit maximization and a lot of that comes down to cost control. If they don't need to use high quality materials, it doesn't make economic sense to do so.

 

Now for the long answer...

 

The original Goodyear machines did try to come close to handwelted quality.

 

Handwelted relies on very good quality vegetable tanned leather for insoles and of sufficient thickness that a channel can be cut into the substance of the insole to create a "holdfast"--essentially a ridge through which the awl is driven and on which the stitches are tightened.

 

So, to begin with, the the original machines used essentially the same quality insoles as Traditional handwelted bespoke makers were using. Two opposing angled cuts..."channels"...were made, by another machine, and the leather turned 90 degrees to the natural "lie" of the fiber mat. These two "flaps" of leather were cemented to each other to create a facsimile holdfast.

 

But bending the leather like this put a severe strain on the fibers and, additionally, the channels had to be cut so close to each other that the result was often pretty weak.

 

The solution was to reinforce the leather holdfast with canvas or linen.

 

Eventually it was decided that the linen all by itself could hold the stitches almost as well as the linen and leather together.

 

So the machines were redesigned to utilize a linen holdfast known as "gemming." The gemming was manufactured in rolls that could be applied by another machine which positioned and cemented the gemming to the fleshside surface of the insole simultaneously.

 

About this time it became obvious that a really high quality insole leather was no longer needed...the cement would adhere the gemming to a mediocre insole just as well as to a quality insole. And at the same time, since a channel was not being cut into the insole, a thinner insole could also be used.

 

All of this saved the factories money. Lots of money--both in terms of eliminating jobs that required skilled shoemakers and in terms of the cost of materials.

 

And once the shift to Goodyear construction was made the degradation of materials and techniques became inevitable. AFAIK no company that began life as a high quality handwelted shoemaking firm and subsequently shifted to Goodyear techniques has ever reverted to past procedures or materials.

 

Today, leatherboard and fiberboard---both composites on the order of particleboard or cardboard--are routinely substituted for components that were traditionally made of leather on the highest quality shoes, ie., leather insoles, heel stiffeners and toe stiffeners, and heel stacks.

 

Finally, it is my opinion...and it is an opinion...that the difference between a $100.00 shoe and a $500.00 shoe is insignificant. In all likelihood the materials used are not substantially better or worse and the techniques of manufacture are for all intents and purposes, identical.

 

Above $500.00, it is a crap shoot. And above $1000.00 per pair the biggest drawback is probably the Goodyear technique itself. Because when you come right down to it, the basic principle holding the shoe together is adhesive--it is cement construction, for all the misleading hype.

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The local denimhead community over here has known about Sagara for some time. Notwithstanding the whole gemming debate from SF, I've seen the pics and the leather quality + finishing just didn't pack enough oomph for me to wanna order a pair.

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OK, time for a proper post.

 

Yes, I agree that in reality, construction doesn't play as big a role as many menswear geeks might want to acknowledge. As kotmj points out, the truth is, construction techniques and materials have been continuously downgraded over the years to keep volume and margins up. So what we are left with is an internet-derived shorthand for quality.

 

'Goodyear welted' thus becomes a symbol of quality construction, regardless of the actual construction and materials used in the shoe. 'Shell cordovan' is another internet watchword for quality, regardless of the appropriateness of using shell hides in certain styles. Fiddleback waists, elaborately painted soles, and other devices also become shorthand for quality, ignoring the actual quality at play. So, how important are quality, tradition, and artisanal standards to us iGents, really?

 

As an aside -- kotmj, if I understand correctly, the welt and the gemmed linen are attached by a stitch, is that right? So the welt and the insole are never actually attached by a stitch?

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I don't think modern gem tapes are made of linen. Linen is such an expensive material. It may be cotton or synthetic. I think the gem tape is attached to the insole purely with glue. So ultimately the welt is not actually sewn to the insole. This is an industry standard, nothing unusual.

 

I'm not even sure if there are real practical drawbacks to this. Obviously, handwelting is more romantic.

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Oh, the drawback is in the lower quality, thinner insole.

 

But in many lower tier English brands the insole has gone to hell anyway -- it's a sueded white stuff of indeterminate composition.

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Agreed! Very nice work in that case! Good to see other Asian manufacturers living up to standards and debunking the myth that only Europe makes good shoes.

 

Some notes on the term Goodyear welting though; it is usually used for Goodyear welted shoes, i.e. when the welt is stitched down with the machine. The term Goodyear is inherited from the inventor of the machine.

 

In this case, I would say that that particular pair of Sagara shoes are hand-welted, a superior technique when used with a carved leather rib.

 

Edwin, so are you saying Sagara shouldn't be using the term 'Goodyear welted' since their shoes are actually hand-welted?


Visit my blog: http://bespokemanblog.com

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The local denimhead community over here has known about Sagara for some time. Notwithstanding the whole gemming debate from SF, I've seen the pics and the leather quality + finishing just didn't pack enough oomph for me to wanna order a pair.

 

We get what we pay for and it's still better than the junk you get from Ecco which is similarly priced. If they up their price to $250-300 I'm sure the materials used will be even better.


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kevin, you have a nice blog. Clean, informative and most people can relate to.When will you be visiting Segara in Bandung?their work looks promising, I wouldnt mind getting a pair of the sand LW's.

 

 

Thank you. Planning to visit next year over a weekend. Maybe around Ramadan to get it on sale.


Visit my blog: http://bespokemanblog.com

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Horween is one of those companies that sells to just about everybody, it seems. The #8 is the colour that has come to be known as "cordovan" colour. It is available in scotch grain. Here's that shell as used by Alden.

 

http://tasselshongkong.blogspot.com/search/label/scotch%20grain#!/2010/03/new-arrival-alden-long-wing-in-rare.html

 

Vass scotchgrain

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vass-Alt-Wien-Cognac-Scotch-Grain-3636-last-EU-42-UK-8-US-8-5-/271050631313?_trksid=p4340.m185&_trkparms=algo%3DSIC.NPJS%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUA%26otn%3D5%26pmod%3D271045332787%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D1874871764561482355

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