Today we're talking dress shoe constructions

Over our interactions with our clients and friends, we often get asked on what the difference is between the various shoe construction techniques. Most commonly, on why 51 Label chose to use Blake/Rapid Stitching as the chosen construction technique for our dress shoes. 

We believe from the get-go of this post, it is important for us to make the following point very clearly, and this is also in respect of the shoe labels out there who have made their choice clear in the shoe construction technique to use.

All shoe constructions have their own places in menswear

51 Label Italian Shoe Makers

There is a space for every shoe construction technique in this world and in the space of menswear. It completely boils down to what you need.

There are of course factors such as cost and time to make, the skills of the craftsmen who are executing on these constructions and also the longevity of the constructions in play.

But it really is about what you need out of a pair of dress shoes. Do you actually have a need to wear dress shoes in the first place, in a world where your workplace might be growing to be more casual? If you do, how often are you going to wear them?

It is all about the context you're in and your needs

51 Label Ambassadors Dressed in Suits and Casuals with Dress Shoes and Sneakers

If we really break it down fundamentally, it's all about the situation you're in and what you need. We, at 51 Label, although we're a shoe label ourselves and pushing our own shoe construction technique may "help" in the building of our business, we only focus on what our clients need and we often let them tell us what they need. That's why from the onset, we set our sights on both dress shoes and sneakers as shoes to make. In addition to that, we wanted to ensure our styles and designs from dress shoes and sneakers are always essential and classic, with of course some occasionally bold seasonal takes to be a little playful as well.

Goodyear-welted dress shoes are not the best for everyone

Goodyear-Welted Construction_Drafted_By_51_Label

Traditionally, we believe that Goodyear-Welted dress shoes are more durable, easily resole-able and generally can last longer than cemented dress shoes. 

But what if you have no need to wear dress shoes on a day-to-day basis? And what if you really need this pair for that one occasion or that one time? The context changes, doesn't it? The need for a pair of shoes drastically changes, doesn't it?

Hence, splashing dollars on a pair of Goodyear Welted dress shoes may not be the most sound idea. You might just be better off buying a pair of cemented dress shoes that would match the wool-blend 2 piece suit that you would be wearing for the wedding, since you might be wearing just that once or maybe a few more occasional times when he needs to suit up.

So why did we choose Blake/Rapid stitching construction as our construction for our dress shoes?

To simply answer the question above, it's all about balance here. We had to balance the following;

  • Instant comfort that comes with the flexibility, almost no time needed to break into a pair of dress shoes with Blake/Rapid construction
  • Sleek last and look without thick-looking outsoles
  • Resole-able
  • More water-resistant than Blake-stitched shoes with the additional rapid stitch
  • Ability to avail a more affordable pair of dress shoes without compromising the points above

We, at 51 Label, believe that each shoe construction has its own merits that cater to a specific need of an individual. So, the following infographic chart that you're about to see is completely from our own perspective, and it serves to shed light on important aspects of shoe wearing for the everyday man, the man in progress who wants to make a sound decision when it comes to purchasing a pair of dress shoes.

The bottomline here is really the following;

Everyone needs a good pair of dress shoes, where the definition of "good" will be determined based on your needs and context

51 Label Shoe Construction Comparison Chart