What Is Hand Welted Construction?

Hand welted shoes have become a very rare find among shoe brands these days, with only select high-end shoe makers making shoes using this traditional craft of shoemaking. In a Hand-welted shoe, a thin strip of leather, called welt is stitched to the upper of a shoe via a leather insole. The leather insole forms the base of the shoe. The process of stitching the welt is called Welting and since it's done manually by hand, it's called Hand-Welting. Crafting a shoe using this traditional way of shoe making is a very time taking process and requires a team of skilled craftsmen working on a single pair for more than 40 hours.

What Is Hand Welted Construction and How is it different from Goodyear welted construction?

Hand Welted construction is different from Goodyear Welted construction based on the process where, in Goodyear welt a cotton rib is pasted to the insole, to which the welt is stitched by a machine. Whereas in Hand Welting, a slit is created in the leather insole via which the welt is stitched manually by one our master craftsman.

The slit in leather enhances the strength of the welt stitch compared to an externally attached rib using chemical based adhesive in goodyear welting.

Hand welting provides more control to the craftsman and as a result, a skilled craftsman can create a much closer cut waist and heel than in Goodyear welting. Making Hand welted shoes look sleeker and more classy than any other shoe.

Rib crafted in the leather insole on left Hand Welted shoe, vs. the white cotton rib attached to the right shoe as used in Goodyear Welted Construction.

Image: (Credit - misiuacademy.com) Rib crafted in the leather insole on left Hand Welted shoe, vs. the white cotton rib attached to the right shoe as used in Goodyear Welted Construction.

Once the welting is done, in Hand Welted construction, the outsole/ or simply the sole is now stitched to the welt by hands. The cavity that is formed post welting is filled with natural light weight Cork. This combination of leather insole and cork makes a welted shoe one of the most comfortable shoes ever. The cork filling upon wear provides a balanced amount of cushion and stiffness to your feet and upon multiple wears, the fibres of the leather insole loosen up and the insole gets moulded to the shape of wearers feet.

Image: Trimming away excess cork.

Cork Filling for optimal comfort

Due to the fact that the outsole in a welted shoe is stitched to the welt, unlike in cemented construction, where the sole is simply pasted to the shoe upper, the sole of a hand welted shoe can be replaced by simply undoing the stitches on the welt and attaching a new sole again. And since this re-soling can be done multiple times, a Hand welted shoe can last a wearer for a lifetime.

Image: Our craftsman stitching the outsole to the welt manually using a waxed cotton thread and Awl.

Sole Stitching by Hands in Hand Welted construction

Here are the 5 Reasons You Should Invest In Hand Welted Shoes:-

  • Solidity: Hand Welt stitching ensures perfect attachment of the insole, sole, welt, and upper, making the shoe tough and very less likely to fall apart easily. It would take a solid beating to tear apart a hand welted leather shoe.

  • Comfort: The leather insole and cork footbed in a Hand welted shoe moulds to the shape of the wearers feet, making them more comfortable the more your wear them.

  • Sustainability: An all leather construction and usage of natural adhesives makes a Hand welted shoe completely bio degradable and the fact, that a Hand welted shoe can last for more than 10 years in ones wardrobe, makes them more sustainable over fast fashion shoes made using synthetic material.

  • Beyond the sole: The majority of shoes on the market nowadays are of a disposable nature. When the sole is worn out, the shoes must be discarded because repairing the sole would mean damaging the shoe. The sole of a hand-welted shoe can be replaced multiple times without damaging rest of the shoe.

  • Design: Hand welted shoes feature sleeker shapes and sharp contours on the sole, better design curves and overall shoe shape, since a craftmsman has more control over the shoe in manual shoe making process, than in machine made shoes. This is one element that distinguishes these high-quality shoes from the competition.


Investing in a pair of Hand Welted shoes supports quality and, in many respects, sustainability. As opposed to a pair of fast fashion shoes that barely last six months of heavy use before ending up in a landfill. If only you take care of the leather of your hand welted shoes, they can last you more than 10 years. 

These shoes are built to last and can be re-soled multiple times, making them an investment that pays in dividends. Eventually, the cost of replacing less expensive and poorly constructed shoes mounts up until you’ve spent as much, if not more, on shoes as you would if you bought top-quality Hand Welted shoes.