Fitting the Foot

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janne_melkersson
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#326 Post by janne_melkersson » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:22 am

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#327 Post by dw » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:44 am

Janne,

Good photos. I understand the principle very well.

Of course, if you are placing a build-up as far down as the waist or low instep and then bringing it up over the high instep, you are raising the instep some.

The principle is the same for a boot last. Take an oval cross-section...wider horizontally than vertically. Say it measures 10" in circumference. Now turn that same oval on its end...so that its shape is higher than it is wide. The circumference will remain the same.

If we look at a shoe last, its cross-section through the instep will be more like the first example than the second. If we look at a boot last the reverse is true.

All other things being equal, the two lasts will fit the same but the boot last will be easier to get into simply because there is more room for the instep of the foot to get down and under the break before sliding forward.

Everyone has their own way of approaching this problem. I was taught to make my throats narrow...narrower, I've been told, than many think it is possible to make a boot.

At the same time I am very careful of the short heel and long heel measurements...which in my opinion is so critical that when I started making shoes I could not bring myself to ignore either the short heel or the long heel.

different strokes, I suppose...

Tight Stitches
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#328 Post by janne_melkersson » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:37 am

DW,
yea, different strokes it is. I am so surprised that we get our clients happy with all our different way of making the things we do. We have a saying in Sweden "It doesnt matter which way a grindstone goes as long as the knife get sharp"
Janne

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#329 Post by janne_melkersson » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:25 pm

(Message edited by janne melkersson on April 07, 2012)

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#330 Post by elfn » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:40 am

Thanks to Paul's post in another forum here on Crispin, I found "Dress and Care of the Feet" by J.L. Peck at archive.org which I found to be enlightening.

I have very short very wide feet. One foot is a 3½EEEEEE, the other a 4EEEEE. Yup, really. I'm 5'3" so I'm not short. Okay, I'm not relatively short for a woman. Next to my 6' spouse, I'm short. And my feet are very thick. All the volume in length I should have for my height is packed into short wide feet. We can do the "woe, genetics" thing another day. I'm just not that into beating my chest over things I can't change.

With that size foot, it's impossible to get shoes that fit the volume of my foot. If they're short enough to fit, I can't get my foot in them. If I can get my foot in them, they're so long nothing on the footbed fits.

Over the last 8 years I've been on a journey to get shoes that actually fit. I've gone from shoes made by others (custom made shoes which gave me an ingrown toenail and clogs which weren't comfortable with a footbed that didn't accommodate the intricacies of the bottom of my foot) to shoes I made.
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10th century turn shoes which were too short and exacerbated the ingrown toenail
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pig skin lined wool which were very comfortable if too loose and which still lacked the necessary custom foot bed
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the pair of shoes I'm wearing now (kangaroo lining and chrome tanned bison outer) which are ugly but the most comfortable and easily the healthiest shoe I've worn yet, though still somewhat lacking in having the footbed just right.

With each iteration of footwear I've learned something vital and each subsequent effort is closer to the mark.

So, back to Care and Feeding of the Foot . . . In reading Peck's "Dress and Care of the Feet" I got confirmation on what I have done. In making the toe box of my shoes overly generous I have been slowly restoring my feet to health. My ingrown toenail no longer bothers me, the large callous at the base of my little toe has peeled off and my ankles are getting healthier and stronger. I no longer lose a day to lameness when I spend a day running around outside.

So, though my shoes are very unfashionable, my feet are happier. With that I interject a hearty and droll "Go me!"

My next effort will be a pair of shoes with the lace encircling the ankle. I've made a test shoe and it wraps around my foot properly and provides the right support. I just need to master the footbed. I've got plans for that (custom press to shape mouldable cork).
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I made two iterations of this shoe, one with the ankle race and one without. The one with the lace race around the ankle was easily the best as it keeps my foot correctly oriented in the shoe.

If you're wondering about the lacing hardware and direction, my instep is so sensitive I am uncomfortable with laces running across it, even with the extra buffering of a lined tongue. Keeping the laces on the outside of the shoe makes having laced shoes tolerable. By trial and error, I've discovered tying the shoe at the bottom provides the most comfort.

The next pair of shoes will have one lace hook paired with lace Ds. I can knot the lace at the bottom and by unhooking the lace off the hook I can loosen the laces enough for the shoe to be taken off and put back on.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#331 Post by paul » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:15 pm

Way to go Nori!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#332 Post by elfn » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:39 pm

Tks! <grin>

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#333 Post by piper » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:55 pm

Wow Nori, I am impressed with your skills and persistence.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#334 Post by elfn » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:07 pm

Thanks! I feel a bit like the trial and error queen. <grin>

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#335 Post by piper » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:32 pm

I have a garbage bag in the bottom of my closet with about 30 trials and errors.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#336 Post by elfn » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:44 pm

<lol> You go, girl!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#337 Post by elfn » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:14 am

One of the most difficult roadblocks I’ve run into for making my own shoes is good lasts. The better the last matches the foot, the better the fit of the shoe. The better the footbed matches the stabilized foot (vertical support system, forefoot flat on the floor, heel not weight bearing), the less stress put on the leg/ankle.

Because I have both fit issues (3½EEEEEE and 4EEEEE) and support issues (high arch and instep and wrecked left ankle), having a superior fitting last is essential.

In the past when I cast my foot I had problems. Part of this is simply learning curve, part of it is technique requiring modification or improvement. When casting your foot in plaster, any movement of the foot changes the final shape of the mold, pushing the mold material away from the foot resulting a loose fitting cast and a sloppy fitting shoe. I’ve wracked my brain on this one and I have the answer to that, finally. An elastic bandage.

A week ago I cast part of my foot with the intent to build a mold for creating a modified foot bed press for my left foot (bad ankle leg). I bought an Art Minds Plaster Wrap from the craft store and cut half of it into lengths ranging from just over 1&#8242; to just under 1½’. After collecting all my bits and pieces (plastic to set my foot on while casting, pan of warm water, serrated butter knife, plastic bag, elastic wrap, small bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a 2&#8243; paint brush) together in a convenient spot and protecting the floor, I painted the area of the foot I was casting with olive oil.

I had a reason for not wrapping my foot in plastic before adding the plaster wrap. No matter what you do, the plastic changes the shape of the foot. Where there’s only one tiny thin layer it doesn’t make much difference, but every fold and wrinkle adds up to a sloppy fit. The sloppier the fit the more you have to do to the mold to make it work. It’s much easier just to paint the foot with olive oil. Using a paint brush kept it off my hands and gave me a nice even coat of oil on my foot.

I dipped the pieces of plaster wrap in warm water, squeegeeing off as much of the extra water as I could and proceeded to wrap my foot.

When I finished adding the plaster wrap I covered my foot with a plastic bag and wrapped it with an elastic bandage. This final bit is the true trick. It provides tension and keeps the plaster wrap tight against the foot so the end result is a snug fit while the plaster sets. Before, when casting my foot, I would invariably end up with loose spots in the casting that made the casting less than useful.

With my foot all en-swathed, I sat with a small amount of weight pressing down through my leg into my forefoot with my heel slightly off the ground until the plaster set enough to hold its shape. I paid particular attention to having my leg properly aligned vertically above my ankle and my ankle flexed to a create a right angle between my foot and my leg.

When the plaster had cured to leather hard, I unwrapped the elastic bandage, removed the plastic wrap and, using a butter knife with a serrated edge, carefully sawed down the front of the casting to almost the edge above the toes. I pried the edges apart and slid my foot out, wrapping a piece of plastic bag around the casting to close up the front edges before setting it aside to finish curing/drying.

Next time I do this, I will fold/roll a piece of plaster wrap lengthwise to create a thicker top and bottom edge. This will help strengthen the casting. I’ll also get Wadly to help. This is a much easier job with two people, one to own the foot and hand over the tools and materials, the other to do the wrapping.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#338 Post by johnl » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:26 pm

Nori
You really need someone else to cast your foot. I am not a very experienced person, but I did go down this route before in a quest for "custom lasts". Doing it yourself is very diffcult, and seldom are the result good.
Years ago, I took some classes from Glenn Leasure who made out turned shoes. Glenn used the actual foot as his last. He would get everything ready, and have the person he was making the shoe for place their foot on the "lower". He would then slip the "upper" down the angle onto the foot. Using a wooden tool designed much like the blade of a knife and his hands, he would fit the leather tightly around the foot pressing down with the wooden tools to mark and crease the leather, giving a "stiching line. He also used some glue to hold it down.

During our time, the conversation came up as to what he did when the person he was making the shoes for was not around for this part. Glenn's method at that time was at the time he traced the foot, he would put white athletic socks on the person, and then have them repeatly dip their foot into a crock pot full of melted parifin. This would stiffen the sock, and in a crude way, he could then make a plaster of Paris last.
I tried in, and was not really satisfied with it. I did research on the web, and found the casting socks. Tried them, liked them, introduced them to Glenn and he fell in love with them. I believe he even made a video of how to use them that is located on the HCC page.

Don't know why I am so long winded today, but why not see if you can find someone here that uses the casting socks and see if they will sell you one pair. They are not cheap, but they work well and quickly. Then get someone to cast your feet.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#339 Post by elfn » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:49 pm

John, thanks for your input. Every bit of advice I get has a pearl in it somewhere. Thank you.

The above casting went really well. I had no problem wrapping the plaster bandage and getting the elastic wrap on, but I didn't have to do the toe which, when self-casting, is the difficult part.

Once I was sure of my process, my mom came over and cast both my feet. It went pretty well except I didn't keep my bad ankle upright enough, so that foot will have to be recast. Marlietta did a casting for me at the HCC general meeting. I'm trying really hard to hang onto that for reference and will only use it if I can't come up with one on my own.

I have considered using a plaster last. I'm hoping I can come up with something better. We'll see how it goes. Before I do anything more I have to be sure I've got a workable footbed mold to support my bad ankle.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#340 Post by donrwalker » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:20 am

Lori
I have used body filler, that I buy at the auto parts store, as a last material. It's much more durable than plaster. Takes tacks better. Very smelly to work with indoors and probably not healthy but the finished product makes a good last.

Don

raving_raven

Re: Fitting the Foot

#341 Post by raving_raven » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:04 am

Lori,

Your shoes are amazing! And in my opinion, really good looking. I really enjoy reading your posts and have been inspired to keep on working as a result.

I have used the casting socks and after casting, I filled them with plaster. It has taken 2 iterations for each foot to get close. They come with a good teaching video, but they do expire after a year and I don't know how well they work after their expiration date. You have to buy 10 of a size at a time.

My complaint with them, besides the price, is that they set up so fast, that you really have to have your head together to get them on and in the right position, then wet well, get the wrinkles out and stand in the right way. It really is a 2 person job. And I suspect that getting a good fit with the sock would be difficult as they are for average feet, so I had a lot of wrinkles from bagginess. Sigh....

The problem I see is that the foot is so dynamic, constantly changing, that even the best representation is going to be an approximation of what I need. I have long, narrow, feet with bunionettes from ill fitting shoes. I have been wearing Vibram 5 fingers that are straightening out my toes, so that my feet are changing shape.

My honey carved me 2 pair of lasts using the x-section templates that I made out of mat board using a profile gauge and flexible curve from the castings, but it is taking many iterations of shoes, then last modifications for me to get comfortable shoes. I will have to work on the aesthetics of the shoe later. So I know very well what hard work you are doing to accomplish your goal.

I have had a number of learning experiences including long talks with experts, and I conclude that they are correct, making shoes is easy. Making a last that works with the foot is very difficult.

Right now, it is the change in the angle of the midline of the sole that occurs as the foot moves from heel strike to ball of foot that I am concentrating on. It is almost like shoes need to move more than current construction allows in order not to cause damage to healthy feet.

I have been reading research reports about the issue. Maybe the best shoe would be the ones the South American Indians developed to play ball. They dipped their feet repeatedly in the sap of the rubber tree to make a rubber sole. I don't know how they got them off!

That is why I am so impressed with your work. Right now, I am working on a pair of old wooden men's lasts that need additions in some places and subtractions in others to make a shoe that would fit me. I read on a forum to use plastic wood to modify as it will accept nails. But I am still adding the stuff a thin layer at a time to build it up. It is acetone or ketone based so likely not healthy either and highly flammable.

Body putty might crack, at least my neighbor who does auto body work says it will with nails. Maybe tacks won't crack it? Or are the different brands more or less brittle?

I really appreciate all the shared information on this forum from everyone. It is a rich resource of knowledge and experience.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#342 Post by johnl » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:55 am

This place seems to advertise the STS socks indivually. http://www.arizonaafo.com/default/index.cfm/side-bar/order-form/sts-casting-sock -order-form/
John L

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#343 Post by elfn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:12 pm

Don, thanks for your post! I wonder how well body filler would mix with sawdust for casting lasts . . . I'm going to try experimenting with different products mixed with sawdust to see which would be best/most effective/least costly for casting lasts. I'll let all know what my experiments find. I'm also going to put the $ out for enough permastone to do a little testing with it. It's a plastic resin so it might be just the ticket . . . maybe mixed with hardwood sawdust! I won't know until I try. What about mixing plaster with sawdust? I'll try that one too. And paraffin wax.

Rosemary, I SO hear you. Getting the foot bed right is the part that's causing me the most grief. Plus I procrastinate a lot *blush* No, no! Not procrastinate . . . find other things that require my attention. Yeah, that's it . . . *grin* I'm sticking with that explanation.

I envy you the ability to wear Vibram Five Fingers. They simply do not make any size or shape I can wear. The kid ones are the right length but there's no way my foot will fit in height or width.

One thing I've done which has greatly improved the health of my feet/ankles is to spend time walking as if I'm wearing short heels, ~1.5-2". That exercise aligns my leg (bad ankle) and dissipates foot and ankle fatigue. I do it barefoot or wearing my ugly shoes and it helps a lot. My feet and ankles are stronger and healthier. No wonder dancers have such great legs!

I like the liquid rubber idea . . . talk about truly custom shoes!

My challenge in having the lasts fit is the back 2/3 of the last. I need a really good snug fit there so the shoe supports my foot instead of having my foot sloshing around inside. The foot bed is critical in that area as it must mold around my foot and support my heel so my Achilles tendon doesn't list to the outside. Here's the proof. The shoes are dirty from running around the field pulling tansy, but you can see what I mean.
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The left (bad ankle) really tips out. This is with a modified foot bed already in place but it's just not enough. I've got to get the leg aligned if I'm going to continue to improve. It's also time to resole these shoes. I'd like to have something else to wear before I tear them apart but I'm almost all the way through the tread on the sole parallel with the ball of my foot. I hope I can hold off until I figure out how to modify the footbed on these so I don't waste the work I've already done. Hopefully soon!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#344 Post by elfn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:19 pm

John, from past experience I would forgo the plastic bag. Next time I cast I'm going to put a 1" strip of duct tape on my foot under the cutting line, paint my foot and ankle with olive oil and cast. I'll cut it off using a plastic butter knife with a serrated edge. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#345 Post by elfn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:25 pm

John, they sure like their casting kit a lot! $50! And they don't offer just the sock, you have to buy the whole thing. I can get enough plaster wrap at Michaels to do a foot for $4. I'd hate to buy the sock kit and screw it up at that price. Ouch.

Yeah, yeah. I know my inner tightwad is showing.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#346 Post by johnl » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:20 pm

I must not have read deep enough into it. I just saw the part that said the socks could be ordered in any quanity. Sorry.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#347 Post by elfn » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:00 pm

Don't be sorry! It may be the absolute perfect thing for someone, just probably not for me.

raving_raven

Re: Fitting the Foot

#348 Post by raving_raven » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:17 pm

Nori, a photo is worth a 1000 words. I see what your challenge is.

The 5 fingers are way too wide for me as I have to buy a man's size, but because my toes lock in, the shoes do not roll around like men's shoes usually do on me. So I am lucky in that respect.

I think you are doing an exceptional job of making custom orthopedic shoes. But I can see how it can become a full time job, just to solve the problems of last design and manufacture, not to mention the shoe work.

Sounds to me like the plaster is better and cheaper than the casting socks.

I have looked at www.smooth-on.com. They have all kinds of casting plastics and molding materials. Kind of spendy for enough material to make a last the size of my foot, but you have an advantage there. I was going to try one of their products to modify lasts however I decided to try the plastic wood instead as it is locally available.

I wonder if a rigid heel cup would assist. Many years ago when I was jogging daily, I bought rigid heel cups to control my heel motion in the too wide men's running shoes I wore. Just a thought.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#349 Post by elfn » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:57 am

Thanks for the link. Have so many products in one place makes research easier!

So many people have helped to give me advice. I would be nowhere without their help.

My son can cast in a 2 part resin, but it's expensive so I want to make sure I have the shape exactly right before I ask him to do that. If I can find an interim product that I can add to and subtract from for adjustments, I just might find something that's less expensive and doesn't call on his time and talents. That's the hope, anyway. That would allow me to have multiple pairs of lasts with a fairly clear conscience.

I sympathize with your foot size/shape. Terry (Wadly, venerable spouse) wears a 14B. Finding boots for him is very difficult. He doesn't have feet, he has skis. No one locally has shoes that come close to fitting and being comfortable/supportive. The latest summer boot purchase is from Carolina Boot Company and they are reasonably comfortable. I haven't been able to find a good fit in insulated boots yet. What he's got now is poorly made and much too wide to support his foot properly. Finding rubber boots is impossible. I'm still trying to convince him spending money on proper orthotics to fit his feet is a good idea.

I'll look at a rigid heel cup. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#350 Post by dlskidmore » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:10 am

Orthotics are not for everyone. I didn't start healing until I got into less supportive shoes. My feet just got weaker every time I increased their support. Then I needed more and more support until no shoe could support me. Barefoot Tai Chi and walking in thin shoes was the only thing that helped, but it took a few months to adapt.

What makes you think your hubby needs them?

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