Fitting the Foot

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Fitting the Foot

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 6:19 pm

Over 50 messages posted prior to 25 February 2002 have been moved to the first Crispin Colloquy CD Archive. Those interested in obtaining a copy of this CD need to contact admin@thehcc.org

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tomo

Re: Fitting the Foot

#2 Post by tomo » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:22 pm

Does anyone know of a device called a Brannock foot measurer. it's suppose to measure foot length, width and arch?
Are they of any use in custom boot making?
More power to y'awl
T.

Bensen

Re: Fitting the Foot

#3 Post by Bensen » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:32 pm

Hello,
There are some on ebay starting at $15.00

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#4 Post by dw » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:34 pm

Tom,

I don't know how one would go about using a Brannock device unless you restrict yourself to empirical measurements and ignore the size recommendations imprinted on the device. At which point, a shoemakers sizing stick would probably be just as useful or moreso.

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tomo

Re: Fitting the Foot

#5 Post by tomo » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:05 pm

DW, Bensen, thankyou.
Think I'll save my money - I can get a lotta pegs for twenty bucks.Image
More power to y'awl.
T.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#6 Post by dw » Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:05 pm

Was browsing the forum the other day and ran across a discussion on fitter's models.

It's an interesting concept because it will teach you so much--about fitting, about lasts, and about patterns and how they fit on lasts.

I use scraps for my tops...turned inside out so that the foot can slide into the boot easily...and somewhat heavier scraps for the vamp...also turned inside out.

I place a "half" lining on the *outside* of the tops front and back to insure that the tops (made of scraps, remember) will not stretch, while being lasted, more than could be expected in a "real" boot.

I use a good piece of insoling but do not channel it. I will retreive the insole from the fitter's model and use it for the order if everything is acceptable to the customer.

I use a counter of good counter material but do not extend it beyond the insole--no "fingers" to fold over.

I last the boot as usual and then when dry, I hot-melt the vamp and counter cover to the insole.

Then I put in the shank (with hot melt) and all-purpose a rubber sole on. I build a heel of leather or cement an already made one on. Since I don't have metal plates on ly lasts, I can't tack the sole or heel on, but for the one or two try-on's and short term walking around, that the fitter's model will get, I find that all-purpose is more than sufficient.

Then I pull the last.

The beauty of all this is that with some judicious choices almost everything is reusable.

The tops I will cut for insole linings. The vamps become shank covers. The insoles go into the final order and the counters get split and become build-ups for other lasts.

And speaking of the insoles, if I've been careful with my all-purpose, I can take a shoemakers file and knock the hot-melt off the insole as I'm disassembling the fitter's model. They're good to go, at that point.

And one other benefit...you'll never have to remake a pair of alligator boots for a customer who didn't like the fit. Because the whole point is to get the customer to approve the fitter's model before you ever even cut the gator. One pair of re-makes like that and you've lost all your profit for the next month. Doesn't make good sense.

Just a nickle for the kitty...

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#7 Post by jake » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:46 am

Dee-Dubb,

Great description of your method for fitting up the last! I make a "fitter's model" on EVERY new customer.

I also like the way you utilize your materials. Very valuable ideas for the "bottom line".

Thanks for sharing! Take care!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#8 Post by paul » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:53 am

DW,
I'd also like to thank you for posting your method for fitters models. I've just finished one to send off the Switzerland, of all places! I measured him here in the shop while he was thru here on vacation. But it seemed like it'd be a good idea to do a fitters models, given the long distances. Of course, I'll have to depend on him to make accurate marks or notes on it if needed. Risky, no doubt, but I didn't think there was a better way around the distance issues, other than not to do the job at all.

I notice you're adding some "lining" material to the outside now, since you last described this technique to us. Is that a result of feeling the the 'vamp' leather alone was not a true representation of the final feel of the boot? Maybe it'd be stretchier than the final vamp. Makes some sence, I'd say. Could you share a picture of one of you fitters models with us?

If I may add, there is one other benifit to me doing a fitters model. Building toes and doing a fitters model, gives me a chance to see the finished toe, minus some thickness, to see if it's what we want.

Thanks for the coaching.

PK

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#9 Post by dw » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:30 pm

Jake,

Yeah, I always make a fitter's model too. Yes, it's more work...a small amount of work...but it teaches, like I said before, and it will save your backside just when you need it the most.

More importantly, it addresses the the "third" element of fitting: first, we have to fit the quiet foot--architecturally one of the most complex structures in nature, second, we have to fit the active foot, and third, we have to fit the "imaginary" foot. Indeed, fitting the customer's "head" is almost as important as fitting his foot. A fitter's model let's the customer adjust the fit to *his* idea of what a fit should be. Nothing builds customer confidance and the rapport between maker and customer quicker than letting the customer fit himself, as who should say.

But I posted this run down more to illustrate the various ways that the "spent" fitters model can be put to good use.

Paul,

Actually, I'm not "lining" the vamp (or any portion of it)...inside or out, at all. It's the tops I "line," on the outside, partially, and I've been doing it since almost day one. But you're correct in one respect. I do it because I am aware that everything is scraps. the tops most of all tend to be marginal. So, just one layer has a very real possibility of stretching too far when lasting as I do--"seats up." That would make the throat too wide and the tops would sit too far down on the cone and lean forward and, in the end, affect the fit enough that the fitter's model becomes less useful in determining whether we actually have a fit or not.

I'll see if I can get a shot of a fitter at some point here...give me a bit, though.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#10 Post by paul » Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:03 am

DW,

So you're "lining" the tops at the throat, is that right? Seems like I can make out such a "lining" on a pair of Jakes in the gallery gossip section dated November 11th. Is this what you're refering to?

PK

Joe Wilson

Re: Fitting the Foot

#11 Post by Joe Wilson » Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:04 pm

What are the pros and cons of using clear tape to make a slipper of the last and trying that on a customers foot? I have heard of some bootmakers who use this. Thanks.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#12 Post by dw » Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:06 pm

Joe,

Ah! the old "glass slipper..." Except, in my opinion (you did mention bootmakers) a real glass slipper might be a better option.

If you are a bootmaker, you have to think about how you're gonna get the foot into the "slipper." If the boot is to fit anywhere near to correct, there can't be any slack in the way the vamp fits on the foot. It has to hold the foot back into the counter. In fact, that oblique measurement is such a crucial measurement that determining if it is correct ought to be a major factor in deciding to make some sort of "trial" in the first place. So the "slipper" can't be cut too low, either. How do you get the foot into that close fitting "flimsy" made of packing tape?

In the end you're left with cutting some sort of relief over the instep. OK, that works, now you have your foot in the slipper. But how do you know if it fits--you've got that cut over the instep that will, I guarantee be split fairly wide apart if the measurements are anywhere close at all? Well, you say, you simply push/pull the cut edges toward each other. OK. My question at that point is...how is that different from taking the measurements with a tape measure? And if your measurements aren't giving you enough information to fit the customer then a glass slipper won't either.

On the face of it a "glass slipper" is an attractive option. Try it.

Then try a fitter's model made of scrap leather...trying to emulate as close as possible the shape, construction, flexibility and heel height of a finished boot.

Let us know which you prefer.

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Joe Wilson

Re: Fitting the Foot

#13 Post by Joe Wilson » Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:23 am

DW, Thanks for your input. I guess the only way to really know is to try both ways. Thanks again.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#14 Post by jenny_fleishman » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:28 pm

Insoles and pedographs...To base an insole shape on a pedograph, I gather from previous postings that it should be taken standing (weight bearing). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong! But do you also take a pedograph with the customer walking across it and take changes into account for the insole? For instance, do the toes tend to spread a little, etc., when walking, and would you widen the insole to allow for that?

Also, is it pedograph or podograph? I've seen both used. Is one the tool and the other the print it creates?

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#15 Post by dw » Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:05 am

Jenny,

The pedograph is probably the greatest aid to proper fit that has been invented since the measuring tape. Like all data that is collected from the foot, however, how you use it is more important than what it is or how it was obtained. In the end, it is all a matter of interpretation.

I take the imprint with the weight on--the customer standing stock still. I once made a pair of boots for a doctor of the foot (what are they properly called?...a pedorthist? in any case, he was a licenced doctor whose specialty was the foot) and that gentleman told me that trying to fit the moving foot was a waste of time. One man's opinion but, perhaps indicitive of how we can sometimes overthink a problem.

I try to choose, shape or alter the last such that an insole cut to the bottom of the last (or a bottom paper) will just cover the imprint.

As far as the toes spreading is concerned...that's probably better left to your judgment and the customers requests. I try to allow a smidgeon for comfort but I do not, in the ordinary course of things, want the toes to spread. And in my experience if you leave even a little too much clearance between the toes and the inner walls of the shoe/boot, you'll get an ugly crease above the insole that runs along the lateral side.


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Re: Fitting the Foot

#16 Post by jenny_fleishman » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:46 am

Thanks. Next message on Last thread!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#17 Post by dw » Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:31 am

Gang,

I ran across this article on measuring the foot...the author references Rossi and Golding and outlines a method very similar to the one I use (maybe that's why I like it...I also draw heavily from Rossi and Golding in my approach) to determine last size and generate a custom fit.

The article is authoritive and the source unimpeachable...plus it is not so technical nor lengthy as to be tedious. Since it is posted on another website I am providing the link. Enjoy...

World Footwear article

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paul_k

Re: Fitting the Foot

#18 Post by paul_k » Fri Jun 23, 2006 8:14 am

DW,

I had just finished reading this article myself! I'm glad you linked it linked here.

It's exciting to see how todays newest technology, combined with basic fundamentals, can benefit we custom makers, before the manufacturers can get on board.

Our friend is an invaluable resource, is he not?

PK

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#19 Post by big_larry » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:38 pm

How time flys. Here it is June of 2007 and the picture of the fitter shoe that D.W. was going to "I'll try to get a shot of a fitter at some point... here" has escaped my ability to find it. I beleive he said that in February of 2005. How time flys.

I have been using the " glass slipper" or trial shoe, made from transparent packeging tape. I agree with D.W.'s opinion of its shortcommings.

I put a lot of work and time getting the pattern to fit and the last prep to match the customers exact foot shape. I use a pedograph, measurements, outline, and a discussion of their needs. I watch them walk and use a foam casting of their bare foot. Even after all of this I think I have been very, very lucky up to this point.

I am making more western boots now and fewer packers. I am making a lasting fitters model now and would like any and all the help I can get.

Did D.W. ever post a picture of the fitters model he uses? I would like to see one. In my mind I see a full top on the model, but can not see any use to build the full top. Do any of you more experienced makers use a full top?

I think I am a little obsesive/compulsive and I know I sleep better after I have figured out all the details out in my mind. Oh yes! Thank you D.W. for the short film clips you shared with us. Terrific job!

I do not consirn myself with how much time the job takes or if I quote short of my estimate of what the job will take in terms of supplies, time or money earned. I am very consirned about the fit. Please don't be shy about jumping in with any help you can offer.

Thank you all for tolerating me. Best wishes, Larry Peterson

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#20 Post by paul » Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:20 am

Larry,

I made a glass slipper once for a shoe I made, but I don't think it'd work for me for a boot. You need the throat measure to replicate the putting on part.

I've been making fitters out of scrap per DW's method for some time now. It sure does take alot (but not all) of the worry out of the process.

Here are a couple of pics of fitters.
5119.jpg

This one is one of my first ones. It was part of a discussion in Tips... on Lasting from May '03. Man, that was a scarry one for me. But DW helped me lots.
5118.jpg
5118.jpg (30.98 KiB) Viewed 2739 times

This is a shot of one of DW's fitters (I hope you don't mind DW) from when I was at his shop for my FW seminar. I've since been making them full size like this, to get a better feel for the entire pattern.

I hope these help you some.

PK

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#21 Post by dw » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:21 am

Paul, Larry,

Re: the full tops....first, and probably most importantly, the fitter's model is not just for fitting the foot, it is also for fitting the last. So a top...even a short one, like Paul's...helps us to see and know how the boot will look and fit on the last. This is all about lines--about a "fair curve" from the CC tongue to the vamp tongue; it is about the "break" and where it hits on the cone of the last; and by extension, it is also about width of tongue and top patterns in general. It is essential in understanding patterns and their relationships to one another so that if we want to change them we are not courting disaster. It is the essence of "measure twice, cut once."

The full top, with the short external "lining" (as depicted in Paul's photo of one of mine) allows us to approximate (pretty closely, actually) the way in which a foot goes into the boot. I have yet to run across a method or a maker that can address the many shapes and articulations of the foot. There is a discussion on this forum about getting the foot into a closed tube (such as the boot top would be) and how much can be taken off the short heel measurement and where the pass line should be located, etc.. One of the most interesting conclusions of that discussion was that some people are able to point their foot more than others, or that when the foot is pointed the instep "pushes up" more on some feet than others. How do we measure for that? How do we compensate if we cannot see record it? Yet, we can sometimes do everything right, otherwise, and still find that the customer can't get his foot into the boot. The fitters models allows us to anticipate such problems.

The good news is that there isn't a piece of leather in the fitter's model that isn't scrap or can't be used productively again.

Paul,

You never have to ask, my friend.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#22 Post by big_larry » Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:25 am

Paul and D.W.

Many thanks' You have my sincere appreciation for the pictures and the counsel.

You are both appreciated!

I hope to be able to recipricate and even the balance.

Thanx again, Larry Peterson

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#23 Post by sharon_raymond » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:45 pm

Greetings, A contingent of the New England shoe and bootmaker's community met on Friday (Daphne Board and myself visited Rob Elferink's workshop). Several things were of special interest to me: the sani-grinder, a relatively small sander with a heavy-duty dust collector (I think it's going to be great to obtain, after many years using a belt sander), and Rob's use of the "glass slipper". (I looked it up on the keyword search and found mention of it previously in regard to bootmaking (along with all the listings for "slippery slope&#34Image. I was attempting to make one this evening, and wondered if there is a tried-and-true technique for applying the first layer of tape that is sticky-side-out over the last. Does one cut lots of strips and apply them rather like taping a last, or can long pieces of tape be wrapped around the last? (Mine obviously left something to be desired). And, can the foot be rather snug in there, as leather will give a little more than tape? I made a glass slipper over my favorite last and it was interesting to see my foot in there, to see the toeroom so clearly, but it was a bit snug. Thank you very much, Rob, for your sharing that is proving to be so useful for me. And while I'm at it, I would also like to thank Lisa Sorrell for mentioning the use of the back side of kangaroo for suede - it was exactly what I had been looking for. Best wishes to all, Sharon

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#24 Post by relferink » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:30 am

Sharon,

The dust collection on the small grinder really isn't that great, it will throw around a lot of dust and the bag clogs up easy. I'm planning on adding a larger bag to get more filtration surface and lessen the dust missed by the current suction system. The great thing about this little machine is it's small foot print and the small diameter of the sanding wheel, it's only 3 inches and allows you to get into tight spots.

Here's a picture of the glass slipper or the tape fitter Sharon referred to for those not privileged enough to be part of the traveling chapter of the New England shoe and bootmaker's.Image It's made with regular clear packing tape.
5410.jpg

First I start with a soft EVA insole. As my lasts are custom and mostly anything but smooth on the bottom I have to crate a balanced surface.
I would sugest using a thin EVA insole, 1/8” should do fine. Tack it to the last and trim as you would with any insole.
Next you apply a layer of tape, sticky side out over the ball of the last. On the bottom you fold over the tape to have a strip of about an inch to stick to the insole.
Apply another layer the same way slightly overlapping the first layer. Now take the tape, sticky site down and go over the ball where the layers overlap. You now have created an area to hold on to the last and not get stuck to itImage as well as an area to anchor your other layers to. (the sticky tape exposed on either site of the layer you put sticky side down across the ball)
From here I go around the heel, around the toe and over the cone sticky side out. Next the same thing but with the sticky side down and the basic fitter is ready. If you use a light grade tape go over it again with a layer of tape for strength.

One word of caution, if your tape has give to it do NOT pull it to get it smooth over the last as it will shrink when you pull the last and the fitter will appear to tight.

As the fitter is plastic, not leather the feel will be different. I judge it to see if there is enough room, around the toes of course but also if hammertoes, bunions and the like will have enough room. Walking with those doesn't work all that well, you would have to put a wedged heel on it. I'm not worried about walking with it in this stage, once I know I have a fitting last I go to a leather fitting shoe to check the functionality.

Rob

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#25 Post by amuckart » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:57 pm

Rob, if you're having problems with bags on dust collectors clogging up you could try using a bucket vacum setup instead, though the footprint wouldn't be real small. I originally saw this in the context of a shop vacum attachment for woodworkers.

Take a bucket that has an airtight clip-on lid and install two pipes in it. One that reaches to within a couple of inches of the bottom of the bucket, and one that only goes a couple of inches past the lid. Run a bead of silicone or something around each pipe so there are no gaps around them

Fill the bucket half full of water and clip the lid on. The long pipe that goes into the water is your intake that connects to the dust source. The shorter pipe goes to the vacum.

Most of the dust will end up in suspension in the water, saving your vacum.

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