The Sustainable Welt

Posted by Lee Fleming on

When it comes to living sustainably we’re constantly faced with daily decisions on how we can reduce, reuse and recycle. A focus on our need to purchase new products has seen a change of heart in recent years and the option of rediscovering what we already own has a positive impact on the world we live in.

With renovation on the mind Barker’s traditional shoemaking process includes the Goodyear welt construction on all shoes made at our Earls Barton factory.

Invented in 1869 by Charles Goodyear Jr., son Charles Goodyear (inventor of vulcanised rubber), the Goodyear Welt allows the outsole to be stitched, either by hand or machine, outside the edge of the insole and because the sole is not directly stitched to the upper it can be easily separated and re-soled.

This is completed in the Making Room and an important part of the Goodyear Welt process is ‘Welt Sewing’ where the highly skilled ‘Welt Stitcher’ sews the welt to the rib that has been attached to the insoles. The bottoms of the shoes are filled with cork and wooden shanks to provide breathability, insulation and support beneath the insoles.

The soles are then stitched to the welt which allows for the soles to be removed for refurbishment without affecting the uppers. After the soles have been attached the shoes undergo a process called ‘Bottom Levelling’ which rounds the soles to the shape of the last.

A key benefit of the Goodyear Welt is that after years of wear the owner can have his or her shoes re-soled effortlessly which is completed by the Barker Refurbishment department, led by our master repairer Nigel.

By investing in a pair of Barker Goodyear Welted shoes you’ll be rewarded in long serving, comfortable footwear that can be refurbished several times resulting in prolonging the shoes lifespan significantly.

For more information on the Barker Refurbishment Service: