Shoe Construction Part 2

This article is the second part of the Shoe Construction series, of which Part 1 can be found here: https://www.weltedshoes.com.au/shoe-construction/

Blake Rapid

Blake Rapid construction

As the name implies, Blake Rapid construction is very similar to Blake construction. The difference? A Rapid stitch on the outside of the shoe connects the midsole (which would normally be an outsole in Blake construction) to the new outsole. It is extremely difficult to tell Blake Rapid apart from Goodyear Welt unless you can see the stitches on the insole.

Compared to Blake construction, it is significantly more waterproof, easier to resole, more durable (will survive more resoles), but heavier.

Compared to Goodyear Welt, it performs very similarly in wet weather, and is very comparable in aesthetic. It is also arguably even more durable, as the absence of a cemented canvas holdfast means there are fewer failure points in its construction.

Rider Boot Shop is known for utilising Blake Rapid construction

Stitchdown

The construction made famous by Viberg, stitchdown is arguably one of the easier construction methods for a shoemaker learning their craft, as it does not require carving a holdfast or a machine to sew a Blake stitch.

Make no mistake, this method of construction is rock solid and will stand up to all kinds of inclement weather, while still being resoleable. The out-turned upper leather can significantly change a shoe’s aesthetic, and serves well on more rugged styles. There are some that argue that the turned out upper increases water resistance, but this author sees very little practical difference between this and Blake Rapid or Goodyear welt.

Stitchdown Viberg. Note the out-turned upper, which transitions into regular midsole around halfway through the boot.

Veldtschoen

Veldtschoen construction is very similar to Stitchdown, but with some differences: there is an additional stitch that connects the midsole, the lining, and a holdfast (either canvas gemming like Goodyear Welt, or a rib carved directly into the insole, making it Handwelted Veldtschoen). In addition, the presence of a holdfast necessitates a filler such as cork, making it heavier than Stitchdown.

Some brands that are known for Veldtschoen construction include Edward Green (single external stitch), and Winson from Indonesia.

(Split welt) Storm Welt

Storm welt with a split welt

Storm welt is a variation of Goodyear welt, where the welt can be seen externally as a kind of “L” shape, which increases water resistance and gives a shoe extra bulk.

An alternative to a split welt, you can also add an L shaped piece of leather on top of a regular welt as seen below.

Alternative Storm welt
Stormwelted Alden – the stitching you see on the upturned section of the welt is decorative only

Some brands that are well known for their storm welts include Alden and Grant Stone.

Norwegian

Norwegian construction. There are alternatives such as having the upper and lining turned out underneath the storm welt, but I really can’t be bothered making more diagrams

Norwegian construction is interesting because of the horizontal welt stitch, which creates an opportunity to showcase the cordwainers skill with decorative stitches such as Norvegese chain stitching.

Makers like Enzo Bonafe and Saint Crispin’s are well known for their Norvegese/Norwegian construction footwear.

Enzo Bonafe’s Norvegese Chain stitch. Not as hard as it looks, but adds significant time to the construction of each shoe. Credit to user Zapasman from Styleforum for the photo

Wrapping Up

You really can’t go wrong with any of the construction methods listed here. There are many who will argue that one is more waterproof than another, but the reality is that (apart from regular Blake construction) most users will see no practical difference between them – this author recommends you choose based on aesthetic consideration first and foremost.

Also, there are many many variations of all these methods of shoe construction, all with differing aesthetic or practical properties. This author recommends not holding it against him for being too lazy to create diagrams for Zeb’s sandwich Veldtschoen, or Antonio Meccariello and Winson’s Norvegese-goodyear hybrid.