Shoe last – Why my shoes don’t fit?(Part 3)

The shoe last is the most required and important tool for shoe-making.

In the previous article of this series, we have discussed  the shoe components, now .


It seems, that there is lot of importance for a shoe last in shoe making, so let’s try it again and Google for “shoe last” and let’s see what comes up this time:

  • A shoe last is of approximate shape of a human foot
  • Shoe lasts typically comes in pairs (that’s my favorite pick here!)
  • shoe last been made from wood, aluminum or plastics

Not bad, at least better than the shoe-explanation, except: “shoe lasts typically comes in pairs” – well explained, we need a right and a left one! Okay, let’s come over this, but what is here of more importance to us is this:

“…a form in the approximate shape of a human foot…”

Now if we look at our picture above, can you see the approximate shape of a human foot? With lots of fantasy may be, anyhow the description “approximate” is quite stretchable like 10%, 40% or 80% looks like a human foot – sounds a bit strange to me.

I prefer this definition for shoe last:

A shoe last is an item, which gives a shoe its shape, form and represents certain measurements and dimensions of a human foot.

This means, if certain measurement points from the last, which have been used on your shoe, don’t represent the same measurements like from your foot, your shoe won’t fit.

Now, if this sounds a bit strange to you, maybe you just have in mind that so far nobody from your favorite brand hasn’t spoken to you about your feet keep on reading, we come to this later. The fact is, if the measurement points are not representing your foot, the shoe can’t fit.


Shoe last with measurement points

Three points on top of the last have to represent the measurement from your feet. these three points are called: 1.) Instep 2.) Waist 3.) Joint and here they are on your foot:

Foot with measurement points

J = Joint Measurement, I = Waist Measurement and H = Instep Measurement (you can call it also short Heel).

A = Ankle- and C = Calf Measurements, which are important for boots only and we are leaving it beside for now.

These three points, Instep, Waist and Joint have to be identical on your foot and the shoe last.

Now there is something more to come and that is the bottom of the last in the next article the insole, which represents the surface of your foot on your shoe. Some more to come, but don’t worry, you don’t need to study this stuff, just keep on reading.

Please don’t hesitate to ask or comment on this series and you can also download the free shoe guide with measurement instructions.

Andre Gerdes (the shoe lover)



1 thought on “Shoe last – Why my shoes don’t fit?(Part 3)

  1. Hello
    Hope you are doing well
    There is my question about last measurement.
    What is last instep measurement point I mean how can get.
    And what is measured in mm

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