The Goodyear welt is a method of shoemaking that has been used for centuries and is still widely used today. In 1872 Charles Goodyear Jnr, the son of the American manufacturing engineer Charles Goodyear. invented a machine capable of stitching the welt to the insole, thus revolutionizing the quality of footwear worldwide. Although he didn’t actually come up with idea of manufacturing shoes in this manner, he was commissioned to the design and engineering of the machine and hence the process was named in his honour.
The Goodyear welt construction offered several advantages over earlier methods of shoemaking. It provided a durable and weather-resistant bond between the sole and the upper of the shoe. Additionally, it allowed for easier resoling and repairs, as the sole could be replaced without damaging the upper part of the shoe. Traditionally shoes were primarily made using methods such as pegging or sewing the sole directly to the upper.
The welt refers to a strip of leather that is sewn around the perimeter of the upper of the shoe, onto the insole. The outer sole is then sewn to the welt.
There is another method that is similar to the Goodyear method but forgoes the welt. This is called Blake Stitched and this method has the sole stitched directly to the upper.
In between the welt and the insole, the outer sole is filled with cork which provides insulation, protection, and most importantly, comfort. The cork takes an impression of your foot kind of like memory foam. This provides unparalleled comfort and support when compared to cheaper forms of manufacturing.
A Cheaper made shoe uses fewer steps in the construction which in turn results in a shoe that looks less impressive and breaks down faster with expensive repair options. Inexpensive leather, if they use leather all, and a process called cementing which means the sole is glue together.