Italian leather shoes are heralded as the ultimate in men’s shoes… But why is that, exactly? The answer is pretty simple: it’s all in the construction.
You may know what a pair of wholecut oxfords looks like versus a pair of leather bluchers, but how much do you actually know about the construction of your shoes? If you want to know the nitty-gritty details behind the process, the best place to start is by getting to know the parts of your shoes.
Let’s start with what’s on the inside… after all, they say that’s what really counts. The insole is what you see when you peek inside the shoe and the surface your foot rests upon when you’re wearing them. The outsole, on the other hand, is the bottom part of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground when you’re walking.
Simple enough, right? But we’re not done…
Then there’s the upper, otherwise known as the beautiful piece or pieces of leather that you see when you look down upon your Italian leather shoes. The upper can be further dissected into more parts including the vamp, the heel, the eyelets… you get the picture. If it’s covering your foot and you can see it, it’s part of the upper. The welt is what brings the whole thing together. Serving as the connector between the upper and the outsole, this piece of leather running around the perimeter of the shoe effectively creates the “in” of the insole.
Just like most Italian leather shoes, Paul Evans shoes are constructed using Blake welting. Blake welting is a simple and effective way to create a durable shoe with a long lifespan. The main characteristic of Blake welting is the inside stitching. The upper is wrapped around the insole then stitched through to connect with the outsole, creating a strong bond and a solid finish.
Blake welting is largely popular in Italian leather shoes because it makes resoling a breeze for your cobbler, meaning it is worth it to take you shoes in for repair. Most modern cobblers have the necessary machinery for repairing a shoe made with Blake welting, so it’s an easy fix to make.
Using Blake welting also creates a tighter look for the overall aesthetic of the shoe. With the stitches nestled inside, the outsole can be cut smaller, allowing a less defined “lip” of the shoe. Furthermore, with less material hulking up the design, shoes made with Blake welting have a more flexible and comfortable sole.
Now that you know the basics of Italian leather shoe construction, it’s time to take a closer look. Why not do so on your very own pair of Paul Evans shoes? Find your perfect pair here.