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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wearing my first pair of leather soled shoes today and got to wondering about them.

I see that it's a very bad idea to get them wet, even the soles? I ordered a pair of Totes Geometric rubber overshoes last night [I live in Western, NY].

1.
For you purists, is it ever okay, in your opinion, to wear rubber-soled dress shoes?

2.
Is there a type of rubber-soled shoe that is superior to most/all others?

3. Is a Goodyear welt generally preferred over others?

4.
Is one of the advantages of leather soles the ability to easily resole them? As compared to rubber? Or does the ease of resoling have nothing to do with leather vs. rubber?

5.
What other issues are relevant to this discussion that I haven't even considered?

Thanks very much for putting up w/ my questions! ;-)
 

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I think in wet or snowy conditions, rubber-soled shoes make a lot of sense. However, I find it more convenient to use isotoner totes over my leather soled shoes. It keeps them clean, relatively dry, and improves traction during those wet, snowy days when you can step on a glaze of ice. When you get to the office, they can come off.
 

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Wearing my first pair of leather soled shoes today and got to wondering about them.

I see that it's a very bad idea to get them wet, even the soles? I ordered a pair of Totes Geometric rubber overshoes last night [I live in Western, NY].

1.
For you purists, is it ever okay, in your opinion, to wear rubber-soled dress shoes?

2.
Is there a type of rubber-soled shoe that is superior to most/all others?

3. Is a Goodyear welt generally preferred over others?

4.
Is one of the advantages of leather soles the ability to easily resole them? As compared to rubber? Or does the ease of resoling have nothing to do with leather vs. rubber?

5.
What other issues are relevant to this discussion that I haven't even considered?

Thanks very much for putting up w/ my questions! ;-)
IMO,

both leather and rubber soled shoes have their places.

First, any decent pair of leather soled shoes will not be harmed by wearing in the rain. Repeated total saturations might change their appearance, but the leather for the soles should be selected and tanned in such as way that its getting wet is not a problem, as long as they are properly dried and handled afterward. My comments though apply only to traditional British and American shoes. If the soles are dime thin soles glued onto some Italian shoes, I don't have the same confidence.

1. If I qualify as a purist, yes, if you have a demanding fuctional need to do so. For me, rubber soles are always more casual, but Dainite soles viewed from above on good shoes look very much like leather soles.

2. Superior? Superior for what? Dainite is a superior variety for use shoes that are striving for a more formal appearance. Thick lug rubber soles are superior for heavy country use or ice and snow in the city.

3. Generally, yes, though their are other fine construction techniques elaborated upon by jcusey, though I don't recall the details.

4. Both can be resoled, if they're welted. Leather soles have the dressiest/most formal appearance, and tend to wear a bit cooler if you do a lot of walking on hot pavement. Rubber soles from my expereince are best for bad weather, wear and traction.

5. Can't think of any off hand. That's a fairly good list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There have been numerous threads on this subject out here. If you look at the similar threads box on the bottom of the screen - you will find some good discussions about this issue.
Cool, I never noticed that before, thanks!!!
 

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For many purists on this thread, the answer will be "No, it is never OK to wear rubber soles when the occasion calls for a dressy shoe". As with just about everything else though, it has more to do with your personal circumstances than any 'rules' that might be given.

For instance, maybe you are a police detective. You may have to wear suits much of the time, but you could have job safety requirements to wear a rubber-soled shoe. It is much more practical to chase a guy if you're not wearing leather soles, trust me.

Then there are always health reasons. No matter how much or how loudly some might protest, rubber soles are almost always better for those with back or foot problems that require correction.

I personally would not wear leather soles in the messy winter weather here in the DC area, because of the one-two punch of moisture and salt. I would stick to rubber soles, or galoshes if you must. I would also submit that this debate has little to do with resoling, as I have had plenty of rubber pairs resoled. Other than that, I can't comment on types/methods of construction.
 

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MMM

1.
For you purists, is it ever okay, in your opinion, to wear rubber-soled dress shoes?

I think you can be a purist and like rubber soles. Personally i prefer leather. Rubber is great in a wet environment anmd you slip less. But it doesnt protect the uppers - so overshoes though hideous are better all round protection. Which means you might as well go for leather.

2.
Is there a type of rubber-soled shoe that is superior to most/all others?
Aforementioned Dainite soles are very solid but can look too heavy on a town shoe

3. Is a Goodyear welt generally preferred over others?
I may be wrong in this but the goodyear welt is still a better seal agains the elements than most other methods of fixing sole and upper. A blake construction (in leather soles) makes for a lighter weight but i wonder how long term its watertightness is.

4.
Is one of the advantages of leather soles the ability to easily resole them? As compared to rubber? Or does the ease of resoling have nothing to do with leather vs. rubber?

I do think leather soles are easier to fix (esp Goodyear), and with a total sole and heel replacement it is easier to get the shoes beck to their original form. I realize as i write all this how biased i am in favor of leather. Just seems more, well, right to me to finish all that wonderful workmanship with another piece of leather rather than rubber...if it means taking more care of my shoes, well, so be it. I remember the pictures in the Elves and the Shoemaker i read when i was a kid - im still amazed by the process. Had a tour of Fratelli Rossetti in January outside Milan - not Gaziano and Girling by any means but still - even with the machines - an almost medieval process.

5.
What other issues are relevant to this discussion that I haven't even considered?
Price probably. But i come back to the natural reconstructability of leather. Rubber sole fans am i talking out of my hat?
 

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I find the goodyear welt construction very realiable - most notably in wet weather, too.

I would always recommend a leather-soled shoe over the rubber counterpart. However, I would admit that it's not unheard of to find a rubber-soled shoe which both convincingly imitates a leather sole from it's profile view and forms an integral part of a sturdy overall shoe construction.

However, I have not seen a rubber-soled shoe wear the leather upper is stitched through the base of the rubber sole - the goodyear welt trademark fashion. Has anyone?
 

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I'm clearly not a purist, as I don't think there is anything wrong with wearing rubber-soled dress shoes. I find rubber soles more comfortable. My Rockport dress shes are about as comfortable as a pair of sneakers, and I think they look good and take a good shine.

I've never used these guys, but there is a source for resoling of all kinds of shoes: https://www.newsole.com/. They talk as if they know what they're doing, but, as I said, I've never seen their work.

By the way, although I've tried to get an answer to this question, and the results have been pretty ambiguous, I still get the impression that some of the objection to how shoes with rubber soles look from the side is not necessarily that they look worse than leather soles, but simply that by looking at them you can tell that they are not leather soles, and some people are fixated on the idea that dress shoes must have leather soles.
 

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However, I have not seen a rubber-soled shoe wear the leather upper is stitched through the base of the rubber sole - the goodyear welt trademark fashion. Has anyone?
Yes, if I understand your question. In the last month or so, I've received a pair of shoes made by Alfred Sargent that have Goodyear welted heavy lug rubber soles. (Obviously, these aren't town shoes.) The welt is stitched to the upper in the conventional manner, and the sole is stitched to the welt with the stitches going all the way through to the bottom of the sole. They are visible on the bottom.

Therein are contained two significant points regarding this thread; first, there are Goodyear welted rubber soled shoes, and second, because they are, they can be resoled just like any other shoe. C&J has a fairly extensive collection of rubber soled shoes. I'd be surprised if they weren't Goodyear welted also.
 
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