Fred G. Unn

Super Member
I just noticed the following on Epaulet's site though:
"As Vass shoes are Goodyear welted, they can be easily resoled and recrafted by a competent cobbler. In this way, you easily can get many years of regular wear out of Vass's quality shoes. Which is important, as you are sure to grow very attached to them."

Actually, as far as I know all Vass are handwelted, not Goodyear.


Super Member
Thanks. There's probably a case to be made that the plain cap toe is still more formal, but in practical terms it would be a distinction without a difference, IMO. Assuming the same colour, there aren't any circumstances that I have encountered where I would select the captoe over the austerity brogue on the basis of a difference in formality.
Makes sense. Thanks!


Elite Member
I'm a bit confused by the "differentiation" between Goodyear welt and "handwelt" construction. I was under the impression that Goodyear welting can be produced by machine or by hand. Am I missing some subtlety of shoe construction?
I'm a bit confused by the "differentiation" between Goodyear welt and "handwelt" construction. I was under the impression that Goodyear welting can be produced by machine or by hand. Am I missing some subtlety of shoe construction?
From what I understand, the biggest difference is that on a handwelted shoe, the sole is attached to the welt, which is attached to a "holdfast," which is carved out of the insole. Some aspect of this process is tough to do by machine -- I don't know if it's carving the holdfast, or attaching the welt to the holdfast. In a goodyear welted shoe, the welt is attached to a strip of cloth tape which is glued to the insole. The resulting gap is filled in, most often with cork.

I'm not sure if you could goodyear welt by hand, but as far as I know, the shoemakers who bother to pay somebody to hand-attach a welt also bother to have somebody cut a holdfast.

I think calling hand welting "goodyear welting" is based on the idea that many consumers know the benefits of goodyear welting, and a hand welted shoe has all those benefits and more. I'm not certain. The shoemakers whose work I've been able to read all draw a distinction between hand welting and goodyear welting.
Y-Repp is correct. I have never heard of GYW being done by hand.
Thank you.

And, since I forgot to mention it, those are lovely shoes. From what I've seen of Vass, their restrained finishing style (relative to, say, Edward Green) really suits dark colors like this. Also, the slight contrast between the elegant curves of the pattern and the chiseled last works beautifully. Did you find some place that was offering these, or did you spec them out yourself? If it's the first, they're a great find, but if it's the second, then my already high regard for your sense of taste has just jumped up a notch.


Thank you sir. I did spec these myself in terms of style, last, sole etc. and ordered them through a European Vass reseller. Bit of a happy turn of events with the colour, though, as I had asked for blue museum calf expecting something of the mottled effect embraced by that type of finish, but these came out pretty much uniformly dark midnight blue. I emailed the vendor and asked that he confirm with the factory what material was used, because the solid navy calf I have seen from Vass previously was lighter in tone than these. I was just curious, because when I opened the box I was so thrilled with the way the shoes looked it took me several minutes before the thought entered my brain "But wait... these don't look like museum..." I think these look better with the solid finish, and are certainly more versatile.

To complete the circle, I got confirmation back from the factory that this is indeed Ilcea navy museum, but this particular sample was unusally dark - even moreso after polishing.

So I got exactly what I ordered, only better. Thus concludes another chapter of the shoe diaries. :biggrin:
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