Following the previous article, I thought of this photo which in a good way showcase the different appearance of welt finishing between top premium factory-made shoes and fine fully handmade shoes. The left one is a Gaziano & Girling RTW shoe, the right one is from their Optimum range which is made to the same standard as their bespoke shoes.


Both are certainly clean, but they look very different. The Gaziano & Girling RTW shoe has a machine stitch running along the welt and then has rather discrete markings made by a machine fudge wheel. The Optimum shoe here has a highly marked welt with handmade sole stitching done in deep dimples from the handheld fudge wheel. I didn’t check exactly when I had these at home, but believe the RTW has a sole stitch of 8 spi (stitches per inch) or so, which is commonly done for higher end RTW, while the handmade one is probably done with 10 spi, good bespoke normally go with 10-12 spi as standard.