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What exactly are: Welted soles?

What exactly are: Welted soles?

In a nutshell

Welted shoes are made in the most traditional fashion—by attaching the sole to a welt (a strip of leather that runs around the outside of the shoe) rather than the lining. This seems minor, but it makes shoes that are more durable, waterproof and lasting.


The most common type of welting is done on a Goodyear machine, which was invented in 1869. It's a manual process and time-consuming compared to modern production methods, which often just use adhesives. The results are worth it—shoes with welted soles are durable and flexible, but also more expensive than those made with adhesives.

How to wear them well

"Welted soles tend to be a little thicker and wider than normal soles, so they ground an outfit and are particularly good smart-casually; they look great with jeans. They also look more sturdy, which feels appropriate in wetter weather," says Thread’s style director, Shaunie Brett. "People in the know will be able to spot your welted soles, so roll the cuff of your trousers to show them off."

Photographed: Tricker's brogues (£375), Grenson brogues (£230)