Difference between Channelling and Grooving
So what is the difference between a grooved outsole and a channelled outsole? What does that mean? What does it look like? And in our opinion, what are the advantages or disadvantages of either of those? Let’s find out.
First up, we've got the channelled outsole. What really happens here is the sole is about 4.5 millimetres thick, we take out a channel so the knife kind of goes through about 10 millimetres in, we open a channel out, create a groove inside it, and then do the outsole stitching so the stitch goes from the welt to the outsole, stitching it together, and after that we close the outsole and finish it up. It makes for a very clean-looking bottom of the shoe. You don't see the stitches at the bottom, and usually that's a sign of a very high-quality shoe because it's a difficult process to do.
Stitching on channel
Creating the channel
Now, with that, you sometimes have the risk of, say, the channel coming off in a certain area when it starts to get worn. This is not a bad thing because that is what happens. The shoe wears out at the bottom. But it looks beautiful and very clean, and that's depending on your preference for what you like.
Some people like to have it open, and we’ve heard people say that only then does it look like a stitched shoe because you can see the stitches at the bottom. This is the one that comes from the welt all the way to the outsole and is put together. Now in this, the stitches are exposed, so when the sole does start to wear out after a while, the stitch itself will start to wear out, and that is inevitable even in the case of a channelled shoe, but in that it gives an extra layer of protection for the stitches, where first the leather itself will wear out and only after that it will work its way to the stitches. Whereas on this after a certain bit of wear on the outsole, the stitch will start to wear. Now keep in mind that in both cases, when the stitch does start to wear out, in the initial stages there's no danger that your sole is going to come off. That does not happen very often and could only happen when you have actually worn out all the stitches. That hardly happens, so there's no danger per se.
Grooving stitch on the outsole
So hope you have a pretty good idea about grooved and channelled soles. It all comes down to your preference for how you like your shoes to look—whether you want to give them that extra layer of protection or if you'd rather have a shoe that looks stitched from the bottom.