The hand welted construction, also known as the English welt, is considered one of the 3 finest and most difficult construction techniques in shoemaking. The welt refers to the strip of leather that is sewn around the edge of the shoe. It is a time consuming and lengthy process, in which the master shoemaker uses an awl and specific shoe maker's needles, as well as specially hand spun and hand waxed thread to fix the welt to the upper and the insole. It takes roughly 160 stitches, completely done by hand to fix the welt to edge of the shoe, which then allows for the sole to be attached using a rapid stitch around the edge of the welt, but not before the insole is covered in a special cork filling, that creates a comfortable bed for the foot and helps protect the shoes from water. The hand welted technique is often confused with the Goodyear welted construction. While the principles of construction between the two techniques are the same, the Goodyear welted technique is actually an inferior machine based process that takes less than 1 minute to complete, whereas the hand welted technique takes roughly 1 hour to complete and creates a more flexible and longer lasting shoe.
The Norvegese or Norwegian construction is a close relative to the hand welting technique but differs due to there being no welt, instead the upper is hand stitched directly to the insole using a needle and awl with either a braided stitch or multiple linear stitches, using up to 3 different handspun and hand waxed threads. The upper is then folded outwards around the edge of the shoe upon which the sole is then stitched. The Norvegese construction is considered a more elaborate construction technique to the traditional hand welted construction, due to the longer time it takes to complete the process, it takes roughly 300 stitches, completely done by hand to complete the process and is often viewed is an opportunity for the master shoemaker to showcase and show off their skills. The Norvegese technique is often thought to lend itself to more casual shoes, due to the visible stitches along the edge of the shoe, but also because of the practical nature of the construction, owing to the technique first being used in the construction of hiking and mountain climbing boots because of its water resistant qualities.
The Tirolese construction is the ultimate expression of the master shoemaker's abilities. It is the sturdiest and most durable construction technique of all, and as the name suggests, is ideal for the rough and rugged mountainous terrain of the Tirolese region on the Italian-Austrian border. It also has many other names, depending on which part of the world you hail from. In Northern Italy, as well as Firenze, where we hand make each and every pair, it is known as the Tirolese construction, but in East Italy it is known as the Bentivegna construction, in various other parts of Italy it is known as Stagno construction, stagno being the Italian word for 'watertight', and in the Austro-hungarian region it is known as the Goyser construction. It is considered the most elaborate and difficult construction techniques in the world. The Tirolese construction is an evolution of the Norvegese construction, in which an external welt is added around the border of the shoe for added water resistance. This external welt creates a physical barrier along the outside to prevent water from wicking to the inside of the shoe.
The Rovesciata construction is a unique and ancient technique that is rarely seen in modern day footwear, less than a handful of bespoke makers still knowhow to execute this extremely rare and difficult technique. The Rovesciata technique, also know as 'turn shoe construction', involves hand lasting the shoe to the last with the upper turned inside out, hence the name, 'Rovesciata', which means 'turned inside out' in Italian. The sole/innersole is then hand stitched to the upper around the edge of the shoe, using nothing but a needle and awl and the shoe is then turned out to create the most flexible and comfortable shoe in existence.