If you are new to closed channel soles the exposure of the channel stitching might scare you. You might think that the sole is coming apart, breaking, or faulty etc. But the reality is that the difference between an open and close channel is nothing more than some fancy work and a very thin flap of leather that covers the channel. In reality it is a very fragile flap of leather that is only there to make the sole look pretty when the shoe is new. It literally serves no other purpose and will eventually fade away through pounding the pavement. And thats all.
But I have come across countless people freaking out when they go out on a rainy day and part of the channel leather flap breaks and eventually exposes the channel where the sole stitch rests. They often fear the worse and assume something is terribly wrong. The reality is though, is that nothing is wrong and it is simply the nature of the beast. Sometimes if you are lucky the channel flap will never break and will eventually just wear down and expose the stitching from natural wear. But more often than not it will prematurely break in certain parts of the sole and show sections of the stitching. In an ideal world it wouldnt happen, but sadly we don’t live an ideal world.
There are so many things that can break the channel flap and expose the stitch. Most of use often walk on pavement. And most pavement is not marble-like flat. It has grooves, little rocks, cracks etc, and due to the fact pavement is about 1 million times stronger than leather well the battle between the sole leather flap and the pavement is always a losing battle for the sole. And then you can times that by another 1000 when the sole is wet.
This photo, courtesy of Leffot, is the epitome of the idea of how the channel stitch endures natural wear and tear while the sole will continue to deteriote until producong massive holes as you can see here. The stitch is probably not even close to permanent damage and therefore nearly never a concern if you can get to this point and not worry about it. So if this is the case, fret not, the channel being exposed does not mean the sole is near end of life. The hole in the center is the real thing to look out for!
Shoes by Edward Green, found at Leffot: https://leffot.com/