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March 25, 2020 4 min read

Boot-Making 101: What is Goodyear-Welt Construction?

 

It’s safe to say we’ve all heard the phrase “they don’t make 'em like they used to” in some context or another. Many of our everyday luxuries are made in a way that’s more cost-effective for the business and gets to the target population at the snap of their fingers.

At Ranch Road Boots, we see the value in taking our time and working alongside generations of expert leather craftsmen to give every one of our customers a perfectly hand-crafted pair of boots at an exceptional value to wear on all of the adventures life has to offer. That’s why we trust in the Goodyear welt construction process for our boots.

So, how do we do it? We’re glad you asked! Let us take you through step-by-step, how your next pair of handmade leather ranch boots stand out from the rest, ready to face the test of time.

 

RANCH ROAD BOOTS - BEHIND THE MAKING - GOODYEAR WELT BOOTS


Goodyear Welt Construction 101

The  Goodyear Welt process has withstood the test of time and is touted as the oldest, most labor intensive shoemaking method. Though the hand-welting technique itself has been around for centuries, the welting machine was not perfected until 1875. Charles Goodyear Jr. (son of weatherproof rubber creator Charles Goodyear) used his inherited funds to enlist the help of the welting machine’s original inventor, Auguste Destouy and a second mechanist, Daniel Mills, to create a better machine than the first. Their combined efforts led to the creation of the Goodyear welt machine still used by cobblers around the world today.

Today, Ranch Road Boots works hand in hand with Spain’s most skilled artisans to make luxury leather boots in small batches. It takes roughly 48 hours from start to finish to make one pair of boots, with most steps done by hand! 

Let’s dive into what it means to have a pair of boots crafted with Goodyear welt construction.

 

Terminology

Last: The mold that determines the shape of the boot. This is the craftsman’s “canvas” from which the boot will be constructed.

RANCH ROAD BOOTS - BOOT LASTS - LEATHER BOOTS - GOODYEAR WELT - BOOTMAKING - MADE IN SPAIN

Upper: The boot structure above the sole, made from the finest leather available.

RANCH ROAD BOOTS - UPPER LEATHER - GOODYEAR WELT - LEATHER BOOTS - MADE IN SPAIN - HANDCRAFTED

Insole: The innermost part of the boot that your foot rests directly on.

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Midsole:The layer of boot between the insole and the outsole.

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Outsole:The layer of the boot that comes in contact with the ground.

RANCH ROAD BOOTS - OUTSOLE - GOODYEAR WELT CONSTRUCTION - LEATHER BOOT MAKING

Welt: A piece of leather running along the outsoles perimeter, bringing the pieces of the sole together.

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The Steps: Ranch Road Boots Style

  1. Boot Lasting: In this boot-making step, the upper part of the boot is stretched over the last and the insole is attached.
  2. Welt Stitching: Using a Goodyear welting machine, the chosen thread for the boot style is used to connect the welt, the upper, midsole and insole. The welt is then attached to the outsole using another separate thread pattern. Using two-level stitching makes the boots resoleable and therefore, able to last a lifetime.
  3. Cork Filling Boot Beds: Simply put, a cork filling is added between the insole and the outsole of the boot for a comfortable footbed.
  4. Wood Pegging: The upper, insole, midsole and outsole are all secured together by small wooden pegs. This is a highly durable alternative to gluing the layers together, as seen in many boots manufactured in mass production.
  5. Rounding & Shaping: A sanding machine is used to smooth down the outer surface of the boot and bring its shape to life. 
  6. Hand Staining: Spain’s skilled artisans hand-stain the sole of the boots specific for that boot style. The sides and bottoms are stained and sometimes more than one color stain is used to bring out the beauty of the boot style.
  7. Polishing & Finishing: The boots are polished and any finishing touches are added to the boots, giving you a perfectly crafted pair of boots with quality that shines through.

 

Go behind our boot-making process, check out our Behind The Making video:

 

 

Goodyear Welt Construction: Quality You Can See

To really understand the unique nature of what Goodyear welt construction is, let us familiarize ourselves with other popular methods of boot construction. 

It’s true that the Goodyear welt method of sewing is renowned as the most prolific boot construction method. Some popular contenders are the blake stitch method and cementing method. 

As discussed by Primer Magazine, the method used in the boots you buy is often reflected in the price tag and longevity and at the end of the day, these contenders don’t hold their value like the Goodyear welt method does. 

For example, the blake stitch is a single stitch that is less water-resistant and harder to resole than the Goodyear welt. Cementing is a great example of “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” in that it’s a quick, cheap method to attach the sole to the rest of the shoe. This method often compromises durability and guarantees the inability to ever resole the boot, leading to more waste and cost than necessary. 

Meanwhile, a boot constructed with Goodyear welt stitching makes the boot more water-resistant, supportive, and resoleable. These premium leather handmade mens boots and luxury ranch boots for women are in it for the long haul.

Normally, the one con to Goodyear welt constructed boots is the cost. With our honest pricing, you better believe we have you covered. We sell direct to the consumer to avoid costly overhead, so you spend two timesless than buying from traditional luxury designers, giving you premium luxury without the premium price.

Ranch Road Boots takes pride in choosing high-quality leather only available in limited quantities to craft our boots. Made in small batches with the prolific Goodyear welt construction, we’re confident that whichever boots you choose have been handcrafted to be the most perfect pair of boots possible.

 

RANCH ROAD BOOTS - GOODYEAR WELTED BOOTS - LEATHER BOOTS - PRESIDIO SHORT - HANDCRAFTED

You can rest assured knowing that with proper care, these boots will always stick around to see you through all of life’s journeys. 

Let us know how your Goodyear welt crafted boots work for you in the comments below!




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