October 8, 2020

Perfect Shoe Last To Learn Shoemaking [1 Shoe Last = 10 Shoe Types]

To learn shoemaking craft there are many obstacles that you, as a beginner in shoemaking, need to overcome, but this is how you learn and practice shoe making.

The first thing you need to have in shoe making is a shoe last.

The shoe last is one of the most important tools you need to buy. So to be on the budget and at the same time to have a great opportunity to make many different shoe types using only one shoe last type, you should know this shoe making approach I explain in this short tutorial.

Now, let's dive deeper into the world of shoe last where I will prove you that you can start making ypur shoes working with only one shoe last type.

For a deeper understanding of various shoe last types, I invite you to read a previous post where I delve into the specifics of shoe lasts. 

I explained that we have many different shoes last types to work with.

If you missed this post check it here:

Shoe Last Type

To not repeat what I already explained in that post, l only want to remind you the main thought of that post: 

“To make certain shoe type you need to have its own shoe last”.

Logical conclusion from that will is,  that to make variety of footwear types, like boots, sandals, pumps etc, you need to have all this shoe lasts types.

Yes, in some sense, it is correct, but…

If you know what you are doing, and you have the pattern making skills [don’t worry- basic at least] there is a way how you can overcome it and learn shoemaking in easiest possible way. 

In this post, I will show you how and why this is the best way to learn shoemaking,and if you want to know more about all main steps of shoe making, you are wellcome to read this post "Shoe making progress on my shoe making courses online platfrom" 

I will explain you, what is the right shoe last type you need, to get started learning shoe making and make your shoes.

I know from my own experience, and from the experience of my students how it could be hard to find an appropriate shoe lasts, heels, how difficult it is to find good leather and shoemaking tools.

 I already wrote a few posts about shoemaking tools for beginners in shoemaking, where I showed that you actually don’t need to have all the shoemaking tools that usually shoemakers work with, you can start with a minimum set of shoemaking tools. 

So, if you missed these posts, you can check them out:

“What You Have Been Missing in this craft?[Shoe Pattern]” 

Beginners Tools and Materials to make your shoes: The Definitive Guide 2023

 Also, if you want to make leather shoes, it would be better for you, if you will choose the “right” leather types. You can learn more about it in this post “Best Leather Types For-Beginners to make shoes from”.  

So, right now, I feel more comfortable, because I gave you some guidance about leather types and gave you a list of needed shoemaking tools to make your own shoes at least at the beginning of your shoemaking journey. 

But this is not it, I want to give you even more. 

I started this post with one of the most common questions I got from you, what a shoe last you need to work with to make shoes. 

You, as a beginner in shoemaking, can't manage to work on different lasts, can't source them and why should you, if you can have it all.

One Perfect shoe last

There is one “Perfect shoe last” working with this you can make different shoe types and if you want to learn shoemaking you definitely must know it.

I am talking about Pump shoe last with low heels.

It is preferable to work with pump shoe last with low heels (up to 2cm) because you will have more options in making different footwear types. I will talk about it a little bit later, keep reading the post.

Pump shoe last with low heels

So pump last is a good solution for all beginners in shoemaking because the construction of this shoe last type allows for creating 

10 different shoe types! And if you want to learn more about most common shoe types, make sure to read this article: "How to make shoes-Shoe Types"

These footwear types are mostly the court shoe types, meaning that they have a low topline, but with a special pattern making approach that I teach in my shoemaking courses online, we can also make footwear types with high tops as well. If you want to learn more about many other footwear types, read this shoe making article:"How to make shoes-Shoe types".

So what are these 10 footwear types you can do with pump shoe lasts?

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 10 Different shoe types  

1. Pump shoes


2. T strap pumps


3. Sling back pumps or Peep toe pumps


4. Mary-Jane pumps

mary-janes shoes

5. D'orsay pumps


6. Oxford shoes

7. Derby shoes

8. Loafers/Moccasins

9. Boots


10. Sneakers

To create boots and sneakers working with pump shoe last type it requires a special shoe making approach.

In my "Sneakers Course" I teach this approach and if you want to learn more about sneakers making in general, you are welcome to read this post "Sneakers - The Ultimate Guide".

To make Boots on pump shoe last you will need to use a particular pattern making approach. It requires some experience, but the great news is that after you create, for example, a pattern of the high boots, you will be able to use this pattern and make a variety of many different designs of the boots, like ankle boots, middle calf boots, etc.


Now, let’s talk about sneakers.

 Sneakers making with the pump shoe last

 In the sneakers making process is very important the shape of the pump shoe last and the heel height.

 Do you remember? I already mentioned the importance of the heel height and it is regarding the sneakers making because we all get used to the “low heels” sneakers! 

So, if you really want to make sneakers with the same last, you should work with the pump shoe last with low heels (up to 2cm)

 There are thousands of the pump shoe last styles where the toe has different shapes. The pump shoe last can be with a pointed toe, oval toe, square toe, rounded toe, and all these shapes have many many varieties of the styles. 


So, if in the making of  9 footwear types I listed above, the toe shape of the pump last is not so significant, it is only a matter of your design preference, in the sneakers making it is very important.

It is easy to understand, because, obviously, to make sneakers it is a bad idea to use pointed toe pump shoe last, or pump last with the square toe.

The optimal pump shoe last for sneakers design and comfort is to use some rounded toe pump shoe last, or wide oval toe where it has plenty of room for the toes



Sneakers with low tops and with high tops.

 There is, of course, a special shoe last type to make your sneakers with and if you want to buy this shoe last, you are lucky.

Remember, that there are actually 2 types of sneakers: 

Sneakers with low top


and sneakers with high top


Here also, you need to be smart and find sneakers last for sneakers with low tops because with sneakers last for the high tops you can make only sneakers with the high top. This will limit you to make different sneakers.


But why would you need to check for the special sneakers last, if you can use the same pump last with the rounded toe and low heel height to make sneakers as with low top, as with high top plus 9 other footwear types?

We teach how to make sneakers with low tops, with high tops and all these will be possible working with only one shoe last type, the perfect one! 

More than this, you will learn how to make another several shoe types and how to customize your shoe last (the same one!)  according to your feet measurements! 

If you don’t know why do you need to customize shoe last and what is the shoe last size you need to work with, make sure to check this post “How to Make Bespoke Shoes From Home [with me]”

Now, I explained here your possibilities with the smart approach for shoemaking because I want you to think ahead and choose the right shoe last type to make all these 10 footwear types! 

The shoe last is one of the most important tools you need to buy. So to be on the budget and at the same time to have a great opportunity to make many different shoe types, you should know all these small details about making shoes! 

I made a short tutorial about it, so make sure to watch it! 

This is 1 shoe last that you need! Do you agree that it is a good technique and strategy for you, a beginner to start with only one shoe last to learn shoe making?

Let me know what you think and your questions in the comment below.  

Previously, I made a video about pump shoe last (pump shoe last with any shape). 

The new video at the begining of this article, this one that you just watched, is the upgrade of the old one

but if you want to see the previous tutorial as well, you are welcome to check it here

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Unless you are being sneaky in this post, I don’t understand how you can say that you can make all these different shoes (some of them are fine) with a pump shoe last. It just doesn’t make sense. In order to make a shoe with the tall heel and then also a flat footed shoe with the same last – it’s not possible unless your shoes are not made to walk in? Because there are so many different factors that go into it. But for the heel to flat shoe example, the angle of the toe to the rest of the foot is a big one. Can you elaborate? I understand this post is meant to draw people into your shoemaking courses but this is driving me mad. Is it some sort of trick where you only use the last to mold the toe? Something like that?

    1. You can’t make high heel and low heel shoes with the same last. In the post and the video I clearly mention that I am talking about working with heels up to 2 cm. With that shoe last you can make all of those models.

  2. Hi, I have read many of your articles about making shoe, it very useful for me. Do you have any documents, books related to the mold in footwear field? I'm interested in this field. but I cannot find out any documents in internet. If you have, could you please share it?
    Thank you for all your sharing.

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