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Under design is understood in Schuhbau the connection of shoe upper (top) and shoe bottom ( sole ). The design is very important for the price, durability, ease of repair and the stability of the fit of the shoe . In addition to the material used, it is the main criterion for assessing the quality of a shoe. It is particularly characteristic of some shoe models, for example moccasins and opanks .


The construction methods of the shoes (designs) developed from traditional procedures and were expanded by new technical possibilities. For example, fastening the outsole with a braided seam on the side (as is common with the Opanke) has been handed down since Celtic times . On the other hand, gluing the sole to the upper only emerged after the invention of a suitable adhesive in the 1920s, and the injection molding process only became widespread after the development of corresponding thermoplastics in the 1950s.

Forms of styles

The various original styles are roughly divided into four groups:

Direct soled styles

The direct soling is typical for sports shoes and low-priced low shoes.

  • Vulcanized sole
The mostly pre-pressed, but still malleable plastic sole is applied to the shoe upper and then converted into an elastic, more rigid shape by vulcanization and connected to the upper. This method has become more widespread with the development of new thermoplastics since the 1940s.
  • Injected sole
The upper shoe is placed in a mold. The sole is made by filling the mold with plastic and at the same time connected directly to the upper shoe. This method has only been profitable since the beginning of real mass production (mid-1950s), since expensive molds have to be made for every shoe size. This investment is only worthwhile for large quantities, but is then the most cost-effective production method compared to the other types.

AGO design

In this form of production, the sole is glued to the upper. In 1911, Francesco Rampichini developed an adhesive that could also bond leather to leather for the first time. This new connection option (AGO = a nother g reat o opportunity) saved a lot of time. It took a few decades before the adhesives were developed to the point where they were no longer a layer that was too inflexible to meet the requirements of a shoe.

Sewn styles

Men's Bally shoe - crocodile with CITES certificate - welted
Sewn design (cross section)
Insight into the welted design from below (without bulging)

In this traditional method, the upper is sewn to the sole, either by hand or by machine. A distinction is made in detail as to how this seam is guided - which can have certain advantages (e.g. faster and easier production) and disadvantages (e.g. water permeability).

  • By stitched style (typical of loafer ):
    The seam is directly through the sole and insole performed (the inner sole of the upper shoe).
  • Goodyear welted design (typical for high-quality, classic men's shoes):
    Here, the upper is first sewn to the insole from the outside by means of a needle seam, but at the same time a narrow leather strip is sewn onto the outside of the upper. This so-called frame is then sewn from below to the outsole in a second step. This more complex method has the advantage that no water can penetrate the inside of the shoe because the insole has not been pierced.
  • Double-stitched design (typical for sewn mountain boots )
  • Veldtschoen design (typical for English country and mountain boots)
  • Moccasin type (typical for moccasins and many loafers, also for the sewn-through loafers)
  • Flexibly sewn design (typical for sewn casual shoes, well-known model: Clarks Desert Boot )
  • Reversible stitching (typical for slippers)

Other styles

  • Wood-nailed design (formerly used for heavily used footwear such as military boots )
  • Screwed design (previously used for heavily used footwear)


Original handicraft: Goodyear welted with a piercing dam, hand pierced (cross-section)

Original style

Original machine design:
Goodyear welted with crack lip (Goodyear original)
Varying design: Goodyear welted with gemband (Goodyear varies)

One speaks of an original design when the floor is fixed with the original machines, tools and materials, as was intended when this design was introduced. The forms of styles presented above therefore each represent an original style in itself.

Example: With the original double-stitched design (machine-sewn variant according to the Eppler process), a tear lip (cut from the inside out) on the insole ensures the shaft is attached to the pierced seam ; the outer upper is turned over to the midsole or outsole and there connected to the sole with the double seam (both are done with the Eppler machine). Double-stitched designs in which the shaft is not turned over but is cut off beforehand do not correspond to the original design. The same applies if a gemband is used instead of the crack lip.

Varying style

Denotes an original design or a combined design (see below) that is carried out with other tools and materials.

Example: If a gem tape is glued under the insole instead of a piercing dam (hand-welted original design) or a tear lip (Goodyear-sewn original design) , this is called a varied design. In this respect, almost all shoes that are Goodyear welted today are manufactured in a varied manner. The common name Goodyear welted only refers to the use of the grooving and double machine from Goodyear.

Combined design

A combined design is the case in which at least two different designs are used to fasten a shoe to the ground.

Example: The upper is attached to the insole with the stitching seam (welted construction) and the outsole is then glued on (glued construction).

Confusion of terms

There aren't too many original styles. But in order to bypass licenses and the resulting fees, many designs were varied and propagated under new, own names. In addition, one and the same design may be used under different names depending on the country. The best-known example is the sewn-through design , which is also called Blake-Machart (Blake-sewn) after its inventor Lyman R. Blake or after its distributor Gordon McKay McKay-Machart (McKay-sewn). All three terms mean exactly the same design.

The common names for the welted design are similarly confusing : When Goodyear welt is mentioned, it is the machine production method invented by Andreas Eppler and patented by Charles Goodyear Junior . Here the Goodyear piercing machine and the Goodyear doubling machine are used to sew the two bottom seams. Ultimately, however, the same thing also referred to the term welted , because almost all welted shoes are made in this way (unless it is a hand-welted shoe, then terms such as handeingestochen or hand-welted use). The name frame-sewn , on the other hand, is a fantasy name that is usually only intended to simulate a Goodyear-welted design and in reality advertises combined, sewn-through shoes.

Overall, the variety of terms and the different styles made it difficult to understand, even among shoe retailers. In the meantime even experts, based only on the name of a (varied) design, no longer recognize it, although of course they know the original design on which this varied design is based. Some shoe manufacturers like to advertise the multitude of styles with which they make their shoes. On closer inspection, however, it regularly turns out that varied or combined designs are meant in which only one seam runs slightly differently, an additional adhesive is applied or something similar. A few examples of terms : Bologna-style (= Tubolare-style), California style (variant of the glued-on style), Go-Well-style (variant of the glued-on style), Kaura-style (combined welted style), Silhouette-Welt-style (also a combined welted design).

Likelihood of confusion

The combined styles occasionally cause discussions even among experts. So it is not clear to some which of the soil reinforcement methods used is the main one. The definition is clear, however: the (main) design is determined by the design that is used first.

Combined sewn design (cross-section)
Example: In the area of ​​higher-priced sewn men's shoes, combined, fully sewn shoes are common. In these, the upper is first fastened under the insole by means of the sewing process. At the same time, a so-called sole piping (a wide strip of leather that later peeks out from the side of the shaft like a normal piercing frame) is sewn. In the second step, an outsole is sewn onto this sole piping (technically: doubled ). As a result, the finished shoe looks like a welted shoe. An insole is glued over the sewn-through seam of the insole, so that this seam is no longer visible. However, it is not a welted design, but a combined sewing method, since the first fastening method was the sewn-through method and only then was the outsole sewn to the piping. This combined design is relatively common in the variant of the Blake Rapid process .


  • Helge Sternke: Everything about men's shoes . Nicolai, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89479-252-3 (A whole chapter introduces different types of sewing, each with a detailed drawing. Several dozen other variants are described in the detailed glossary).

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