Why the Last Matters

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When you purchase a pair of high quality handmade shoes, you’ll almost certainly be told which last the shoes were produced on.

Many people may not know just why this is so important. However, paying attention to the last used will help you choose a pair of shoes that are ideally suited to your feet.

First things first: what is a last?

Before you can really understand why a last is so important, you’ll need to know how they’re used in the shoemaking process. Practically speaking, you might want to think of a last as a stand in wooden foot.

A last is designed to be the shape and size of the foot the shoe is being made for, or a standard size shoe for shoes that are not bespoke.

The leather for the shoes is then shaped around the last, which means that the last determines the finished shape and size of the shoe.

How can you use this knowledge to help you find the right shoes?

There isn’t really such a thing as a standard foot size. Shoe manufacturers use average sizes to create their shoes, but the shape of these ‘average sizes’ will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even from shoe to shoe.

Once you’ve put in the work to find a pair of shoes that are ideally shaped for your feet, make sure you take a note of the last used to create it. That manufacturer will use the same last for a range of different styles. Whenever you see that the same last has been used, you’ll know the shoes are likely to work as well for you as that first pair.

This makes it easy to shop for shoes online, or even for your loved ones to buy shoes for you as a gift.

Want to start taking a look at last names in action? Our online catalogue is a great place to start.

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