Making a German Welt (hidden stitch) – Part I. Tutorial

Well, maybe – OK, likely –  it is only the name for this technique in our tradition, but for respect and comfort, I use this. German welt means a narrow, welted construction, which is more elegant than the English, which could transform into the industrial segment, called “goodyear”. I believe German stitch (or welt) is impossible to make with machines, so you just can’t buy them is stores, ready made like many others (storm welt, or goiser). This technique is not showing off, like the English welt with really fine stitches.

German welt had a different history, which means it is practically forgotten… by most of the shoemakers. Not me. I was trained here Budapest, Hungary and being behind the world technically means that we remember things which are not practiced anymore. My masters taught us, young students to the basic techniques, but the really valuable times were, when they shown some old tricks to some good students (who could finish the work before the others, so had time to learn more). German welt one of these things. I never wait any customer asking for this technique (again: it doesn’t show too much..), I just want to save it. So here is my contribution to the Craft.

The German Welt.

Placing stiffeners – nothing new. Oh, I almost forget – this technique is NOT for beginners. If you just start to learn this craft, it might not be the first (and not in the first few years).

Then dealing with the possible wrinkles in the heel area. Still nothing new… except the insole. The holdfast distance is about a centimeter all around, joint to joint, and a bit more at the shank. We also create a holdfast, with no pre made holes around the heel area.

The shank is coming up (shaped and skived on the last)

Nails must go quite much deep, as the stitch will go under the feather edge, so the distance you learnt at the cemented construction, is not appropriate here.

Still nothing new.

Surely We have to check the medallion position, but it is the same with every construction.

And then they must have dry a night, when the upper leather relax a bit, like this – stretched.

After setting the tou puff, (and one more day to dry perfectly), we can remove the nails.


and trim

And skive flat and smooth.


Toe puff ready, and.. NOT the last toe form comes here, but an exaggerated version – the last form must show on the upper leather.

so sharp edges..

even at the feather edge.

glue and last back the upper.

check the orientation and position.

Nails – do you remember? Deeper than with the other techniques…

Dog is not needed, but my lab puppy wanted to check the progress.


And make a nice edge


Bend the nails…

And work on the upper a little bit.

11 thoughts on “Making a German Welt (hidden stitch) – Part I. Tutorial

  1. These photos are so clear and tell exactly what you are doing – thanks very much.

    In what you have shown so far, (above) does this differ very much from preparing for the English style welt?

    I think the lab puppy is asking for red boots…

  2. Hi Marcell,
    Do you have to have a finishing machine to finish your shoes ? Or can one use an edge press …Currently in the coursework I am taking, they are taken to a shoe repairman that does it and completes the shoe.
    Please advise.

    thanks so much

  3. This is simply amazing.. It is pretty difficult to find a very high level material like yours in the internet. You said, that you are proud of your trade and I can see that you have what to be proud of. 10 out of 10. Great.

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