Various sewing processes, I have already introduced various constructions used in classic dress shoes. Goodyear welted and Blake stitched are the two staples, and other constructions can be regarded as extension from them, including Storm welted, Blake Rapid, Bolognese and Norwegese. Today I am not going to compare Goodyear and Blake, but to talk about how we should choose.
Goodyear construction was invented in 1869 to produce shoes that were tough and durable. Shoes at that time, more precisely, boots, were heavy inherently. So the process was not designed to be comfortable or soft.
Although not as famous as Goodyear, Blake construction appeared a little earlier, being invented by Lyman Reed Blake in 1856. This approach is still mainstream in Italy. I think there are two reasons, one may be the climate and the other is aesthetics. In terms of climate, it is not necessary to have such thick and heavy shoes, light and soft are more suitbale. Aesthetically speaking, Italians like slender, while British like rough.
In terms of cost, Blake is cheaper than Goodyear, because in production, Blake process has less steps. Goodyear is a little more time-consuming.
But I think the choice should lie less on price, but more thorough consideration. I have two.
Shoes with Blake construction are slim and soft, so they are suitable for Loafers. What does Blake not fit into? It is the traditional Oxford or Derby style. The counterexample is the pair of Moreschi derby, the thin sole makes the shoes quite “low”, which makes me uncomfortable.
Italian brands do have a preference for Blake, even boots are made with this construction.
Although in terms of production, Blake is cheaper, but the difficulty of resoling is opposite. Resoling Goodyear shoes, under normal circumstances, replacing a new outsole is OK.
If the shoes have been resoled for several times, it may be necessary to change a new welt.
In Blake construction, midsole and outer sole are stitched together, so changing the sole is equivalent to remaking the shoe.
I find cobblers in China still focus on Goodyear resole, and I have not seen anyone resoling Blake shoes.
Each process is not simply better or worse, but has its own suitable style.