Shoe last is used only in shoe making and the focus here is on professionally made shoes [ not diy or slippers].
Shoe last is the first "tool" that we are using in making our shoes and we will be using it through the entire process of making shoes.
We apply our footwear design on the lasts
We make our pattern with the last
We last our uppers on the last
We make our sole and heels on the last
What is a shoe last?
This is maybe the most important "tool" you must have!
I have created a short video for to quickly explain why shoe last is so important
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There are different shoe last types and in this post I will talk with you about most common shoe last types.
We have men’s lasts, women’s lasts and children’s lasts. But this is not all the shoe last types that we have. Do you know that there are same shoe lasts types for every footwear type? Yes, almost every footwear type have its own shoe last type.
Why each footwear type must be done on a specific shoe last? Because each shoe type has its own construction and this construction must suit also your feet parameters, that is why we need different lasts for each type.
To explain it better let’s take an example. Let’s compare sandals ( one shoe type) and pumps ( another shoe type).
Sandal lasts vs Pump lasts
Usually sandals have open construction: it is open in the toe, in the instep and heel part, and most of them have fastening in the ankle area.
Now, the pumps are constructed in the way where they sit tightly on your feet and without any fastening.
That’s why sandal last and pump last have different construction:
Sandal lasts have dimension that is very close to the dimension of the feet; on the other hand, the pump last much narrow than the real dimension of human feet.
1.Sandal lasts almost don’t have toe allowance ( not bigger than 5 mm)
The pump last is always longer than your feet length and have toe allowance at least (not smaller than) 8 mm.
You never will find sandals with pointed toe shape ( only if it is some fashion trend). The toe shape of sandal last is similar to the shape of feet toes and doesn’t have many variations.
The toe shape of pump last has different variations ( square shape, rounded shape, pointed toe shape etc).
2. The width of the insole in the toe are, joint line, instep and heel is wider than insole of pump last in the same places.
3. The instep of sandal last is bigger than instep of pump last at least on 8 mm.
4. Most of the sandal lasts don’t have steel plate and have mono-block construction (we talked about it in this post https://www.shoemakingcoursesonline.com/shoe-lasts-components/)
Pump lasts have steel plate and have removable cone or hinge link.
In this short example I wanted to demonstrate you why each shoe type, because of its construction, must have its own shoe last.
So what is a shoe last type you need to use to make sandals and what is a shoe last type you need to make pump shoes?
To make sandals use sandals lasts, to make pamps use pump lasts. You can’t make sandals using pump last and otherwise. Just as you can’t make pump shoes on boot lasts!
Although, there is a pattern making approach to construct boots using pump lasts and I teach how to do it in my High Boot Course
What are Most Common Shoe Last Types That You Can Work With in Shoemaking?
Shoe last types
1. Pump lasts
On this type of last you can do any type of pumps:
Classic pumps, T – strap pumps, D’orsay pumps, Slingback pumps, Mary Jane pumps
2. Moccasin last
Using this type of last you will make the original moccasins. Check my previous post on why moccasins must have theirs own shoe lasts type.
3. Shoe last for shoes with laces
Using this type of last you can make Derby shoes, Oxford shoes etc. This type of shoe lasts have curved shape on the instep to fit better to the curved instep of human foot.
4. Boot last for boots with zipper
On this boot last you can do any boot design ( ankle boot or high boot) with zipper or laces.
5. Boot last for boots without any fastening
This is special shoe last type designed for boots with free entrance, meaning, the boots that don’t have any fastening. They wider in the instep and in the back part of the ankle.
6. Cowboy boots last
More about cowboy boots and cowboy lasts you can find in this interview I made with one of our members, William Shanor. https://www.shoemakingcoursesonline.com/how-to-make-cowboy-boots/
7. Pump last with open toe
Yes, there is a special shoe last type made for this footwear type.
It has the same parameters as the pump last, except the toe part. In this type of pump last the toe allowance is smaller than in the original pump last. That means that pump last with open toe is shorter than regular pump last. Why? To not show too big allowance of the insole in open toe pumps.
So what is a correct shoe last for the Peep toe pumps?It is the peep toe pump shoe last.
8. Sandal last ( we talked about specification of this last type above)
9. There is also a hybrid last that combine construction of sandal last and boot last
It was designed when open toe boots were in fashion. It was easier to construct this type of footwear, working with this type of last.
There are also few shoe lasts that I didn’t mention here, just because I wanted to talk with you about most common shoe lasts types that you need in your work.
Now, in the comment below let me know what is a shoe last that you use in your work?