Genuine double-stitched construction:
This is the genuine method that we use at HANWAG.
First we cut out the insole (commonly referred to as the heart of the shoe because it can't be seen from the outside later on) and then tack it to the last. Then we apply the first row of stitching. We sew the leather upper and the lining to the insole rib (a raised section at the edge of the insole). Once this seam is completed we turn up the upper. In other words, we bend the leather upper and lining at a right angle towards the outside. On certain models a reinforcing strip is also added. Then we use a sharp tool to trim off any excess material from the heel, toe cap and the lining. The remainder, or in other words the excess leather is then secured with a second row of stitching. It’s now the turn of the second seam. It’s called a double seam and combines the leather upper, reinforcing strip (in some models) and midsole. As a result, the upper is well secured by two seams to the bottom of the shoe. The genuine double-stitched shoe is ready.
Genuine double stitching is when the edge of the leather upper is visible on the edge of midsole/sole below the reinforcing strip.
This isn’t present on footwear with false double stitching. It disappears inside the shoe instead. Many manufacturers produce footwear using “false” double stitching. Here’s how they do it: After piercing the material (i.e. the first seam which is identical to the genuine type) not only is the margin removed from the heel, toe cap, and lining, but from the leather upper too. The second row of stitching therefore only passes through the reinforcing strip and the midsole. This means that the leather upper is not stitched in a second time. There’s another third type of false double stitching which is even less effective. This is footwear that initially appears to have double stitching, but which is only cemented if you look more closely.
Look carefully and you’ll see that they are flexible boots with a standard sole that has been a double-stitched look.
In the end it’s not about the appearance though. The footwear’s robustness and stability are what count. And this is where these apparently so similar techniques differ substantially. In "false" double-stitched footwear the sewn-on leather upper is missing as a stabilising element – the bottom of the shoe only hangs in the reinforcing strip. The midsole is stuck to the shaft, but one more seam is much stronger than even the best cement. In other words, if the reinforcing strip or double seam breaks, the boot or shoe can’t be repaired. That's not a path we want to take. Our double-stitching is genuine. And it will stay that way.
In the past, the price for the durability of genuine double-stitched footwear was a certain period of time to wear the boots or shoes in. And this wasn't always a pleasant process. Today, modern foam padding, soft leather linings and craftsmanship ensure that double-stitched footwear requires very little, or sometimes no time to wear in.