Ever since I wrote about the process for making plaster casts of an individual’s feet, I’ve gotten emails from people asking whether I would cast their feet when I make shoes. For the vast majority of my shoes and boots, I use vintage shoe lasts that are then custom fit to the individual. A “last” is a wooden or plastic mold that fits the foot and has the shape of a shoe. The shoes are built around this last, or mold.
I have collected a series of last “runs” over the years, and certainly have my favorites. The older the better! I share the same feelings as the guys over at BootLast.com, Terry and Ephraim Glueck, who talk a bit about what they like in a good last: “When I ‘d find a last from the 1980′s or 90′s they were thicker than the ones from the 1940′s and 50′s. The volume measurements were much larger than the old ones and I am under the assumption that the newer ones are trying to fit more people with that one last.”
Here are a few of my shoe lasts that I have been lucky enough to find in matched pairs, and not made into something horrible like candlestick holders or bookends: