Dack shoes are made using the strongest, most supportive construction known in shoe making: the Goodyear welted construction.
Handcrafting a pair of Dack shoes takes skill, pride and time, close to eight weeks. Each pair of shoes will pass through 200 separate processes from the careful selection and cutting of the leather, to the final polishing and packing.
The last is a hard, three dimensional form on which the shoe is constructed; it is then removed at the end of the process. There is a last for each size and width. The whole shape, proportion, and fit character of the shoe starts with the last.
The insole is a very important part of a welted shoe because everything gets attached to it. The insole is laid on the bottom of the last. There is a “rib” running around the insole, which is a flange to which the welt is stitched. Our shoes all feature solid, thick and durable leather insoles.
The linings in a Dack shoe are 100% genuine calfskin to eliminate squeaking when the lining moves against the leather upper.
The upper is constructed of choice pieces of high quality leather. Leathers are individually cut and sewn. Some styles require great detail and even hand stitching to create the desired appearance. All leathers used in making the upper are tested for flexibility, body, and stretch to ensure that the upper will look and feel great as it serves the wearer. After the pieces of the uppers and linings are sewn together, they are “lasted”, i.e. pulled and shaped over the last and around the bottom of the insole.
The welt brings it all together. Viewed before a shoe is made, a welt looks like a simple piece of leather. The welt is about 12mm wide and as long as it needs to be, to go around the edge of the sole. Once the upper is “lasted”, the welt is sewn through the upper and into the rib (the flange of the insole discussed earlier). The welt and rib create a cavity, leaving room for the cork and shank. Then the welt gets stitched again, this time sewing the outsole to the welt. This makes the shoe “rebuildable”; the outsole can be cut from the welt and a new sole may be sewn just as the original one was. A Dack shoe may be re-soled several times.
The shank is a very important part of making a top quality shoe. Between the floor and the sole of the shoe there is a space under the arch of the foot. The purpose of the shank is to provide support in this area, thus bridging the gap between the heel and the ball of the foot. Dack shoes all have wooden shanks. This type of shank provides maximum support and has little risk of moving or squeaking.
The Cork Filling
The cork filling goes into the cavity by the welt and rib. In essence, it is sandwiched between the insole and the outsole of the shoe. Cork has been used in Goodyear welted shoes for decades providing a footbed and extra insulation.