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What is the difference between Goodyear and Blake soles? Which sole construction should I choose?

What is the difference between Goodyear and Blake soles? Which sole construction should I choose?

If you are looking for durable and high-quality shoes, it is essential to understand how they are constructed. Two common construction methods are Goodyear welted and Blake stitch. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two techniques and how they affect the quality of the shoes.

Goodyear Welted

Goodyear welted shoes are known for their durability and quality. This construction method is named after the American inventor Charles Goodyear Jr., who patented the technique in the 19th century. The main feature of Goodyear welted shoes is the presence of a "welt" – a strip of leather or rubber sewn around the outer sole of the shoe.

One of the advantages of Goodyear welted shoes is the ease of replacing the sole. When the sole wears out, it can be easily detached and replaced without damaging the rest of the shoe. This significantly extends the lifespan of the shoes and makes them economically attractive in the long term. An initial investment in a more expensive pair of shoes can thus provide future benefits.

Moreover, Goodyear welted shoes offer excellent support and comfort. The double sole construction provides extra cushioning, reducing foot fatigue. Additionally, these shoes are often made with higher quality leather, making them more attractive at the time of purchase. The difference in leather quality becomes particularly noticeable over time, as better leather retains its beauty and, with proper care, develops a rich patina.

Goodyear welt
Goodyear welt

Blake Stitch

Unlike Goodyear welted shoes, Blake stitch shoes are sewn without the presence of a welt. Instead, the outer sole is directly stitched to the upper. This construction method is named after Lyman Reed Blake, who obtained the patent for this technique in 1856.

Blake stitch shoes have several unique advantages. First, they are often lighter and more flexible than their Goodyear welted counterparts. This makes them ideal for people looking for comfortable shoes that feel easy to walk in. While Goodyear welted shoes usually require a break-in period (terms like "breaking them in" are often used for brands like Crockett & Jones or Loake shoes), Blake stitch shoes typically feel comfortable much more quickly.

Another advantage of Blake stitch shoes is their slimmer and more streamlined appearance. Since there is no welt, they often have a more minimalist design, which some people find appealing.

Blake stitch

Maintenance Differences

The maintenance of Goodyear welted and Blake stitch shoes differs slightly. Goodyear welted shoes can be more easily repaired because the sole can be replaced easily, thanks to the welt. Blake stitch shoes may require special repair techniques since the sole is directly stitched to the upper.

Goodyear welting


Both construction methods, Goodyear welted and Blake stitch, have their unique advantages and appeal. It is important to consider what is more important to you: durability, comfort, or a sleek design. Goodyear welted shoes offer excellent durability and support, while Blake stitch shoes are lighter and more flexible with a slimmer profile. Whatever you choose, investing in quality shoes is always a wise decision for both style and comfort.

Personally, we almost always opt for a Goodyear welted pair. The advantage of being able to resole multiple times and the quality of the leather used for the upper are decisive factors. Over the years, leather can develop a beautiful patina, so we prefer a pair that can last a long time.

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