Can A Stitchdown Boot Be Resoled? What You Need To Know About Hand-Stitched Boots
A stitchdown boot can ABSOLUTELY be resoled! However, it isn't as easy to do as a Goodyear welted boot, so there aren't as many cobblers that can or will do it.
Stitchdown construction is an old method of bootmaking, dating back centuries. However, it also makes for a strong build, so you get a boot that's incredibly durable and supportive. That's why the best work boots and even fashion boots are made this way.
If you're investing in a pair of handmade work boots, the best of them are typically made with the stitchdown method to make them strong enough to stand up to hard work, and last for far longer than typical factory footwear.
So what should YOU know about stitchdown boots? Let's tell you a bit more about it.
Stitchdown boots technically aren't "welted," because there's no "welt" to speak of. Instead, all layers are hand-sewn together.
A welt is a strip of material running along the outside edge of a boot or pair of leather shoes. It's there so the manufacturer can run a stitch through the welt, the midsole and the outsole, stitching those layers together.
Stitching inside the boot joins the upper, the insole, and the midsole and outsole.
Stitchdown construction, however, crimps part of the upper out to lay on top of the midsole, forming something like a skirting around the entire edge of the boot.
It's done by hand because it's actually too complex for a machine to do properly. People who perform this job typically only do a few minutes of work at a time to keep from getting injured. It's an old-school, Old World craft that very few bootmakers can use to make their products.
This is the old way, the way that shoes and boots were made for centuries.
In fact, welted construction was literally invented to make the process faster and "scalable," in the words that the business community likes to use. A welt can be done mostly by machine stitching, meaning you can turn out more product per day, per week, et cetera and so on.
However, welted boots are also less watertight, and while certainly far more rigid than cementing shoes or boots together, less rigid than stitchdown construction. You also sacrifice a bit of fit; welted shoes will be, on average, something like a quarter size narrower.
And, of course, having boots that actually fit your feet is very important for comfort.
So, they take longer to make, but they're built stronger and resist letting in moisture, dirt, dust and other muck better. What happens when the sole wears out?
Can A Stitchdown Boot Be Resoled?
A stitchdown boot can absolutely be repaired, including a resole. The hitch, of course, is who you buy them from...as well as the shoe repair shops in your particular area.
As you might have guessed, making a pair of stitchdown boots is a bit of an undertaking. It takes specialized labor, and more time to create a superior product.
That also means that there are fewer shoe repair shops that can perform the necessary work. Almost all can resole Goodyear welted boots; it only requires a few machines and some specialized tools, and only takes a few hours. Stitchdown boots take a lot longer.
Fewer repair shops can do the work, and then you have the manufacturer problem.
A number of boot companies make boots with the stitchdown method. Some of them offer repair services, including resoling and some minor rebuilding, such as rebuilding the footbed.
However, they'll typically only do the work a few times before they tell the customer the boot can't be recrafted or rebuilt any more. They absolutely won't repair or replace any parts of the upper, so if it's damaged or too worn out...too bad.
Granted, you might be able to find a repair shop that's willing to do the work. Sometimes, manufacturers will only perform a few resoles before they tell the customer to just buy a new pair, just because it might get them to buy a new pair.
Unless, that is…
Unless you happen to purchase a pair of boots from a maker that stands fully behind their product, offering full rebuild services to keep a pair of boots on their customer's feet for as long as they have the boots or their feet.
However, the number of boot makers and shoe makers that offer services of that kind are rare. Most would rather sell you a totally new pair, because that's selling a whole other pair of boots. But some manufacturers care about customer satisfaction and reputation.
So, if you're going to get a pair of stitchdown boots...the latter kind of bootmaker is who you want to purchase them from.