Fitting the Foot

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#401 Post by anakim » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:49 pm

Could someone elaborate on how to tell whether a last and your footprint with outline have the same heel to ball measurement? I just looked through Sabbages section in Golding and only see how to divide the foot into 11ths. This doesn't address a foot where the metatarsal is not at 8/11 of the foot length, nor tell where exactly the back of the last goes in relation to the foot data.
I have identified the metatarsal on the foot (and the tracing), and I also know how to find it on the last. What is confusing is the heel. I have gathered several ideas from various parts of the forum, which all seem to differ a bit : put the feather edge of heel 5mm forward from the outline, another photo showed bottom paper halfway between outline and footprint at heel, but I originally gathered that it was best to drop a perpendicular from the very backmost part of the heel, so as to get the exact back of foot. Then this should be lined up with the curvy back of the last. My problem is, it seems that in perhaps one foot I've measured, all these things coincide, the rest of the time they differ sometimes significantly. Also, if the bottom paper in general should match the footprint (except of course in front of the toes), is the heel also an exception? Is it correct not to line up feather edge/ bottom paper with back of heel footprint? Is one way more standard or safer than the others?
I should be probably asking this in person, to a teacher, so I apologise. .. I had wanted to practice doing what I've learned before investing in more serious study. Trouble is, I'm not satisfied making shoes that don't fit at all, in the meantime.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#402 Post by dw » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:15 pm

It all starts with the foot. We fit the foot...the last is just a tool to that end.

Using a sizing stick...even a Ritz stick will do...a measurement is taken from the back of the foot to the end of the foot and from the back of the foot to the medial ball joint. Those two measurements will, within reason, always be the same no matter who takes the measurement.

Then the next part: if you adhere to Golding and Sabbage, the medial ball joint will be 8/11's of the foot length. This tells you whether the heel to ball is long or short relative to the overall stick. (Some people, notably Bill Tippit, for one, think 7/10's yields a better location for the joint).

Again referring to Sabbage, the proper length of the last and hence the bottom paper is 12/11's of the foot length.

Choosing a bottom paper that, when the length is divided by 12 yields the same "section" as 1/11 of the foot length, should result in the correct bottom paper.

So then...position the joint point on bottom paper with the center of the medial joint on your outline or footprint and you should be good to go.

Where the heel of the bottom paper ends up, relative to the outline or footprint, is immaterial and will vary according to several factors...not the least is how you held the pencil when making the outline and almost certainly how fleshy the foot itself is when making a pedograph or footprint.

Everything comes off the ball joint. That's your one empirical data point.

Hope that helps...

"Ask five shoemakers and get six different answers."--Janne Melkersson

edited for punctuation and clarity
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#403 Post by anakim » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:34 am

Thanks so much! That certainly clears things up. What I understand from this is that I need to depend completely on my meaauring tape or preferably, stick with some vertical bits, and the foot at the moment of measuring, and not on the piece of paper, after the fact. Elsewhere in the forum, I read a description (may have been yours, DW) of a device with a place for marking the exact back of heel and tried to construct myself one, but did not use it on all my 'customers' (family and friends), and need to get it to work more consistently.
So to clarify what you said about lining up the medial metatarsal joints and positioning bottom paper over your print, at that point, it is strictly to check the overall shape and how well the ball of foot and toes fit in widthwise, because whether the heel-ball and length are right is already decided?
One further question about Sabbage: I understand that 12/11 adds a sort of standard adequate space for the toes, but is not the actual amount entirely dependent on the style of toe and therefore the shoe length varies widely for any one foot depending on toe shape of last? I do understand comparing an individual's heel-ball to their foot length. Based on 8/11 I can find out what length their foot 'should ' be, and the commercial size (SLL would be implicit in the online charts I found, for the general public).But as far as calculating SLL I don't see the use, for choosing the correct bottom paper or sticking a last on a tape measure, as the toe style may be pointier or rounder than standard. Can you enlighten me further?
Thanks a million for your patience, and for sharing your knowledge .

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#404 Post by dw » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:56 am

Time out of mind shoemakers have depended on sizing sticks. I have several nice ones (boxwood and ivory) but as I mentioned a Ritz stick is more than suitable.

The thing about the stick is that it produces unimpeachable data about the foot. Almost every other aspect of measuring or collecting data from the foot is subject to...if not entirely dependent on...interpretation, human error. When you make an outline of the foot, for instance, do you hold the pencil entirely upright? Are you sure? There are simple devices you can make that will increase your accuracy when making an outline, but what exactly does the outline tell you about the foot, other than general shape?

A footprint, made with a pedograph, is much more useful--you get a fairly accurate reading of the weight bearing surface and as good a representation of the general shape as with an outline. Don't get me wrong, I take an outline and a footprint.

Beyond that, "yes," the measuring tape is your best friend. If you can't teach yourself to use it and rely on it, you will be forever guessing.

That said, even the measuring tape is not empirically precise. A millimeter or two up or down and the results change. Pull a hair tighter than you pulled the last time and the measurements change. But if you can memorize and duplicate the muscle tension that is brought to bear when you pull the tape, then you can use those measurements--they are yours and for you they are useful, even critical. What you do with them & where you translate them to the last is the key.

Yes, 12/11's is, as Sabbage says, the the proper and Traditional clearance for a medium round toe. That said, who really knows what a "medium round" toe is according to Sabbage? He doesn't say or illustrate.

One of the most useful aspects of Sabbage's approach is that it can yield...a universal SLL, simply because SLL is, and must be, a function of the heel to ball length. At least for bespoke makers.

And if you use the SLL to make patterns it doesn't make any difference whether you're making a shoe with a 'contemporarily' stylish extended toe or not. When you get done modifying the last to have an extended toe...maybe creating a toe clearance of 3 or even 3+ cm (1-1/8" or better) the SLL will still be the same as if the toe clearance was the Traditional 1/11. And vice versa...if you shorten the toe because you intend a wide round or wide square toe the SLL will remain the same --entirely dependent on Sabbages Sections and the heel to ball measurement.

And a further "yes"--narrow pointed toes should be longer and wide toes less than 12/11's. Theoretically. Aesthetics and fashion dictates aside, too much clearance beyond the toe can cause problems just as certainly as too little.

That's what Sabbage was getting at. At bottom, he was postulating a "Unified Theory" of fitting. Whether one agrees with it or not, it can be useful.

Anyway...that's how I do it....YMMV. :kiltdance:

edited for punctuation and clarity
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#405 Post by anakim » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:50 am

I do need to get a purpose made stick. I fully understand the inaccuracies and imprecision inherent in various measuring devices and in the way they are used, as it used to be my line of work.

Assuming I can now get decent measurements of the foot, I still don't understand how to get a last with the correct heel to ball measurement.

I still don't understand the use of SLL. Sorry to be dense. Are you implying that SLL is correlated with commercial shoe size? So you can find the heel to ball very carefully with a good measureing stick, calculate what the foot length (and SLL) SHOULD be, and just order that size? In my case, I can then just go look at my stock of old lasts and pick one labelled size 9, if her arch length indicates an overall foot length that has that size?
The problem is, I cannot simply measure my overall last length because the toes are pointy (from the factory). There is no way these lasts will be standard length unless they are made wrong.

Crucial question: can I assume that last makers keep to standards and also use 8/11 as the ball to heel length? I was under the impression that there is a 7/10 out there, which can be 1 cm different sometimes.


The only thing I can see to do is measure the last with my stick too - I mean heel to ball. Maybe this is what you are implying, and sorry if I didn't get it! It sounded like I should do it all by measurements of the foot and calculations. But in meauring the last with stick/tape there are problems like the heel pitch putting the heel back on an angle, and the curve or the arch to deal with. Maybe these are small issues... (Equivalently I could measure a bottom paper with the stick, however I have to ask how? - isn't this the feather edge at heel? And don't I want the rounded part off the ground which is what my measuring stick vertical will be against?)

Sorry to be difficult. I am desperate to understand, as I've made some shoes I'm proud of but the fit failed drastically, I believe due to the heel to ball measurement being ignored.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#406 Post by dw » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:35 am

anakim » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:50 am wrote:I do need to get a purpose made stick. I fully understand the inaccuracies and imprecision inherent in various measuring devices and in the way they are used, as it used to be my line of work.


I started with one I made...and still use it...but being eighteen inches wide and about the same long, it isn't very portable.
Assuming I can now get decent measurements of the foot, I still don't understand how to get a last with the correct heel to ball measurement.

I still don't understand the use of SLL. Sorry to be dense.
No worries. But before proceeding I need to remind you that this way is just one way. Remember Janne's admonition. Yes, it works and yes it is...I think...more precise than many another approach, simply because it starts with empirical data and builds on that. Sabbage's Sectionizer works because it is an attempt to codify a procedure to address something (the foot) that cannot easily be pinned down.
Are you implying that SLL is correlated with commercial shoe size?


Goodness! I hope not. Fundamentally, shoe size...the number stamped on the side of the last...has almost nothing to do with fit. When someone like Nicholas Templeman or Anthony Delos carves a pair of lasts from scratch for a customer, it is the customers name that is stamped on the last, not the size. The size ain't in it. It is never considered.
So you can find the heel to ball very carefully with a good measureing stick, calculate what the foot length (and SLL) SHOULD be, and just order that size?
Yes and no. When you've made your calculations, you compare your data to the bottom papers you have for the lasts you use (or the last itself). And that tells you which last is correct. But again the size is just a convenient identifier. As you suspect, no two last models will be the same. A set of bottom papers only works for the model it is derived from.

Then too, as Bill Tippit so famously said...there is no standard in lastmaking. A nine is what the model maker or the customer says it is. And yet again, that "9" is just ink on the wood. Sometimes it gives you a place to start, sometimes it will fool you.
In my case, I can then just go look at my stock of old lasts and pick one labelled size 9, if her arch length indicates an overall foot length that has that size?
Not sure I understand this completely but again, you're focusing on the last. But it is the foot you want to focus on. The size 9 last that you have must have the same H-B length as the foot. Some 9's will, some 9's wont.
The problem is, I cannot simply measure my overall last length because the toes are pointy (from the factory). There is no way these lasts will be standard length unless they are made wrong.


Whatever the H-B on the foot is, that's also what it should be on the last. Doesn't make any difference how the toe is shaped or how much toe "clearance" is designed into the model.
Crucial question: can I assume that last makers keep to standards and also use 8/11 as the ball to heel length? I was under the impression that there is a 7/10 out there, which can be 1 cm different sometimes.
No. As above, lastmakers do not keep precise standards; the standard is what the model maker says it is and, sometimes, what the customer (the person ordering the lasts) says it is. And as I also mentioned, many lastmakers think that 7/10's is where the ball on the last is. Sabbage was working with feet. Lastmakers work with blocks of wood. I take my cue from Sabbage--I work with feet.

Beyond that, I could call up my lastmaker and tell him that I want my model #XYZ resized...that, upon careful consideration (or whimsy), I think the 9 is more properly an 8-1/2. The lastmaker would be happy to oblige me and re-mark my lasts. But, having said that, why would I? I don't care what the size on the side of the last is. I only care about the empirical measurements.
The only thing I can see to do is measure the last with my stick too - I mean heel to ball. Maybe this is what you are implying, and sorry if I didn't get it!
You're on the right track. And yes, the heel pitch and so forth do factor in. That's why I use a bottom paper. You know how to tape up a last to create a mean forme, don't you? Why can't you do that to create a bottom paper of any given last?
(Equivalently I could measure a bottom paper with the stick, however I have to ask how? - isn't this the feather edge at heel? And don't I want the rounded part off the ground which is what my measuring stick vertical will be against?)
No. And no. You have measured the stick of the foot, right? From one vertical upright at the back of the heel to the upright at the toe. And you have measured the H-B from the upright at the back of the heel to the medial ball joint.

Let's take another tack....let's take the H-B and mark it off on a piece of semi-transparent tracing paper--joint one end point, back of heel the other. You know that info is correct if you've located the interface of the metatarsals and proximal phalanges correctly. Now, from the back-of-the-heel mark, measure forward and indicate the overall length (back of heel to end of longest toe)--the "stick." From that you can create three points or lines, all parallel to each other

Now take that transparency and lay it over your "footprint," aligning the medial-ball-joint mark on the transparency with the center of the medial ball joint on the footprint. You can use an outline too but it's not near as accurate.

Two things become apparent: the first is that the transparency isn't always going to align neatly with the footprint/outline. Again, this has to do with the way you created the footprint/outline. And the second is that no two feet print the same (which is why I prefer a footprint)...some feet will be flaccid and some firm. This affects how much "print" is created.

But you have an empirical measurement. Conveniently recorded in your transparency. Nothing can call into question those measurements--stick and HB. You can very nearly fit up a last to a specific foot using just those measurements and just that transparency (and, of course, girth measurements, treadline width and heel seat width). You don't really need an outline or even a footprint. [Note I said "very nearly." I personally wouldn't try to fit up a foot without at least a footprint as well.] But don't overthink the problem...rely on the measurements. What good are they if you can't? That's what a "Unified Theory" of the foot (ala Sabbage) is all about.
Sorry to be difficult. I am desperate to understand, as I've made some shoes I'm proud of but the fit failed drastically, I believe due to the heel to ball measurement being ignored.
No need to apologize. I love it when people are "desperate to understand." It's passion. And most of the time egos are put aside and defensiveness abandoned and it is at that point that real learning happens.

That said, yes, HB is critical for fit, in my opinion. Absolutely, irrevocably critical. But over the years I have found that many of the measurements we take are interdependent. It does no good to get HB correct if the short and long heel are wrong. And short and long heel girth are also a function of instep girths.

Making shoes is dead easy--it's just muscle memory. Fitting is where it really gets difficult...where the rubber hits the road. And that's a lifetime study.

And just to underscore the whole issue...this is my approach. It works good for me. Has for 40++ years. Must have worked...in one fashion or another...for Sabbage and his students, as well. But there are many paths to the top of the mountain. The only real issue is whether you brought your crampons with you.

Now go wipe your eyes...they're bleeding. :crackup:
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#407 Post by anakim » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:16 pm

Thank you for your patience, DW!

If I have made a measurement with the person's heel up against an upright, then I think the part of the heel that touches the upright extends beyond the part of the foot that sits above the feather edge. I was assuming the bottom paper is like a mean form of the bottom, stopping at feather edge.

So a bottom paper would not mean anything to me right now, if I had it in front of me, or made one for my last. I could line up the ball joints of the transparency and bottom paper, but that's about it... I don't know how the heel of bottom paper and heel line on transparency are related.

You must be shaking your head by now...

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#408 Post by dw » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:14 pm

anakim » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:16 pm wrote:Thank you for your patience, DW!

If I have made a measurement with the person's heel up against an upright, then I think the part of the heel that touches the upright extends beyond the part of the foot that sits above the feather edge. I was assuming the bottom paper is like a mean form of the bottom, stopping at feather edge.
So a bottom paper would not mean anything to me right now, if I had it in front of me, or made one for my last. I could line up the ball joints of the transparency and bottom paper, but that's about it... I don't know how the heel of bottom paper and heel line on transparency are related.

You must be shaking your head by now...
Not at all...but maybe you should be shaking your head... :)

I understand what you're saying but all I can say is that it works. I wish I had a better explanation of why it works. That said, it has served me well for many years and in some circles I have a pretty good reputation as a fitter.

But again, other makers do it different.

I hesitate to say "try it" because a good fitting last...as I detailed in my last posting...is a combination of all the measurements and not just one. That said..try it.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#409 Post by dw » Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:20 pm

anakim,

I realize my last post was probably not very satisfactory. Once upon a time, I confronted the same issues you confronting...that's why I said I understood.

That said, there are, and were, reasons I chose to take this approach. Not the least were simply "in the field" observations and realizations...'epiphanies,' if you will...as well as results.

A lot of it has to do with the pedograph and what it brings to the game--the way the proper (in my view) bottom paper syncs with the footprint, for instance.

I will say this...if I am fitting wrong, I am fitting long, as Sam Luchesse suggested was the lesser of two evils.

I suppose I could spin it all but I will not do that. I cannot articulate those reasons not only because I have seldom tried, but also because at some level they are just so subtle as to be instinct. As much as that sounds like "magical thinking" and as much as I hate that idea.

And again, instinct is subjective.

Do not think for a minute that if I had words I would not share them with you.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#410 Post by anakim » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:41 am

Thank you so, so much, DW. You are a truly generous person to spend the time and effort to help out someone you don't even know!
I guess I just need it spelled out: you make sure the heel to ball of the bottom paper (as measured from the back of bottom paper to its ball joint) coincides with the heel to ball measurement of the foot (made properly with stick with uprights)? My trouble is, you haven't said that, but have implied it. I don't want to assume anything, because until you cleared it up, I assumed there was some mysterious part of the outline/footprint that would be able to be lined up with some part of the heel of last.
I don't have a problem with there not being a clearly explainable reason, just that it works, but I wanted to know exactly what it is you line up.
But if you say that is what I should do, I'll do it!
Perhaps the problem is that I've studied math. You have to state that zero equals zero, and things that one might otherwise assume would be the case, just to be sure - lol!

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#411 Post by dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:57 am

anakim » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:41 am wrote: I guess I just need it spelled out: you make sure the heel to ball of the bottom paper (as measured from the back of bottom paper to its ball joint) coincides with the heel to ball measurement of the foot (made properly with stick with uprights)? My trouble is, you haven't said that, but have implied it. I don't want to assume anything, because until you cleared it up, I assumed there was some mysterious part of the outline/footprint that would be able to be lined up with some part of the heel of last.
That's the way I do it (in red).

We've come a bit afield from your original question. But once you get started down this line of inquiry that often, and almost inevitably, happens.

I thought about this issue all day yesterday trying to posit a train of logic that would explain why I use the bottom paper rather than some hard-to-imagine-how-it-could-be-accurately-determined "stick" off the last that factors in the curve of the heel.

Don't get me wrong, it's not hard to come up with a rationale to use the "stick-off-the-last" (you could easily use the "stick-off-the-last" in all the very same procedures, or maybe just take a bottom paper and offset it from the base/heel line a predetermined amount), it's just hard to explain why not.

Except that it doesn't work...at least not for me. Maybe it's my lasts.

Again, I think it comes down to little, subtle things (aside from not working) like the fact that the medial ball joint is not located on top of the foot--the joint itself is actually canted forward and the hinge point is further to the rear of the foot than is immediately obvious. Or the angle of the treadline. Or the width of the heel seat. Or the relationship of the long heel measurement to the heel seat width and/or low instep girth.

If I didn't say it clearly, I regard a footprint as 1) almost as important and empirical as the measurement between two uprights and 2) infinitely superior to an outline and 3) the reason I do a lot of what I do. When I lay a bottom paper on the footprint, the waist and "ball" of the bottom paper lines up with the footprint (in most cases) so much better than any other approach and at the same time, affords what I consider the proper toe clearance...all without further modification in, at least most (ideal) cases.

But again, when I fit a boot (which has no laces and must be spot on)...or a shoe...I consider a lot of factors and collect a lot of data that often goes missing or is dismissed. Tread width, heel seat width, short heel, long heel (even on shoes), high instep, low instep...and how all these relate to each other.

I am working on a pair now that exhibits a narrow footprint, esp. in the heel seat area, but relatively greater long heel than might otherwise be expected, yet the instep girth(s) are fine as is. What does that tell me? It says that the customer may have a heavy ankle and a very firm foot. Or perhaps it tells me that I was drunk when I measured the guy. :wink_smile: (Never!) In any case, unless I want to second guess myself, I have to fit what's there--I have to fit the foot and start with, or create, a last with a narrow heel seat but a heavy comb.

You see how it all works together? The footprint gives me entry into that information and along with the extra (?) measurements I take, it tells me I have to make adjustments in my evaluation and procedures.

In the end, fitting is a synthesis of so many inputs, some not always obvious. That's why it pays to start with as much empirical data as possible and the assumption that guessing is unnecessary and even unwelcome. So that when you do have to guess, the impact will be minimized.

And that's also why fitting is a lifetime study.

"Stay calm, have courage and wait for signs." --Craig Johnson
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#412 Post by lancepryor » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:46 am

That is not the way I do it. If you use a stick to measure a last (not the bottom paper), the measurement of the back of the last bottom to the joint is less than that of the foot, because the feather edge is forward of the back of the last (and of the foot), due to the curvature noted previously.

When I trace and/or do an imprint, I use an upright to mark the back of the foot. As DW notes, this is a pretty unimpeachable location. I then use that location to place the back of the last on top of the tracing/impirnt, and I check how the last's joint compares to that of the foot. I certainly can compare the bottom paper to the feather edge of the last (and generally try to match the two up, with perhaps a few variances), but if you use the last feather edge distance to measure heel to ball you will end up fitting long (assuming you are comparing that to the foot's heel to ball distance).

Now, using a bottom paper introduces another variable. If you tape up the bottom of the last, then flatten the bottom paper, the bottom paper will be longer than the stick length of the feather edge, due to the curvature of the last bottom (as a result of heel height built into the last, plus other shape in the last bottom). So, the bottom paper measures longer than the stick length of the feather edge. If using this method to measure the heel to ball distance, it would lead you to choose a smaller last, i.e. to fit short.

Perhaps the two effects cancel each other, leading to the correct (or at least a good) result.

Note that my approach and experience is with shoe lasts, and hence relatively low heels. Boot lasts, with higher heels, may involve different approaches and tradeoffs than I have experienced.

To be more explicit, I don't really focus on the measurement; I mark the joint location on the last, and on the tracing/imprint, and I place the last on the tracing, lining up the back of the two. Thus, I can compare directly the location of the joint on the last with that of the foot. Note that the joint location on the last is determined at the feather edge, not higher up on the last. I may use the imprint to determine the shape the last bottom, but I am not using it to locate the joint. I locate the joint using the method noted above, then use that location to place the imprint and transfer the imprint shape to the last bottom.

One other comment: certainly it is indisputable that raising heel height will shorten the required length of a last (measured heel to ball from the back of the last to the joint), due to simple geometry (pythagorean theorem). When we do imprints and/or tracings or take measurements, we are doing them with the foot flat on the ground, which is not how they will be in the shoe/boot (due to heel height). So, any approach that involves using the imprint/tracing/measurements inherently involves some degree of imprecision when we are using them to select (or build) a heeled last. The end result (a good fit) is what matters, not the method used to arrive at that good fit.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#413 Post by dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:14 am

Lance,

I am pleased you jumped in here...and I don't want to dispute or gainsay your approach to fitting. As we've both said, there are probably as many ways as there are makers and most of them work.

I hope you will forgive me then if I come across a bit nit-pickish, but I don't understand some of what you've laid out here.

For instance, in your first paragraph...how do you measure the stick of the last at the bottom? Are you just running a ruler from featheredge to featheredge?

And how can we assume that any given last will measure less than any given foot? I am not "seeing" this. Don't we need, first, to determine the H-B of the foot and then choose a last that hopefully corresponds to that foot HB?

I purchase bottom papers from the J&V (lastmaker) at the same time I order a last. But I have taped lasts to make papers, and I have never noticed a significant discrepancy between my homemade BP's and those provided by J&V...at least none that can't be ascribed to operator error (mine). Nor have I ever noticed a discrepancy between the free bottom paper and the bottom of the last featheredge to featheredge. IOW, I can lay the BP on the last and it fits just like it did when it was a tape overlay.

I found another thing in your remarks somewhat confusing ...perhaps because I am not understanding how you are getting the stick of the last.

If we model the foot between two uprights, we get a toe line and a heel line and (hopefully) a location for the medial ball joint. Call it the "foot frame." If we superimpose the last over the top of the heel line such that the feather on the last is inset from the foot's heel line...in order to factor in the curvature of the heel of the last...the fit will be shorter than if we align the back of the bottom paper with the heel line of the foot. Using the bottom paper, esp. with the "foot frame" produced by the uprights, will always result in a long fit rather than a short fit...if it doesn't produce a correct fit. Again, "If you're gonna fit 'em wrong, fit 'em long."

[Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a long fit but the ball joint is not a "ball" joint--it is a hinge joint and a long fit is less detrimental to foot health than a short fit.]

I have always seen the stick of the last obtained by sitting the last between two uprights in much the same fashion as the foot is placed between two uprights (I think Tippit had an illustration on his website that depicted this). I suppose that colours my perception. But I don't see how a "stick" measurement obtain in this fashion is relevant for us as makers. As you say, it ignores the curvature and the topography of the plantar surface of the last.

And positioning a last, esp. one with a heel and toe spring, over the foot frame or even over the footprint is pretty much the same approach--it is ignoring the curvature of the bottom of the last.

Returning to the central question, if it is the heel curvature at the back of the last that is confounding people we can always simply determine what that heel curvature adds in length and offset the appropriate bottom paper off the heel line of the foot frame. But doing so will result in a shorter last, in the end.

Finally, I use the same methods with my shoe lasts and have not yet encountered a reason to question my approach. A mutual acquaintance on SF that I made shoes for says that they are the best fitting shoes he has....for whatever that's worth.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#414 Post by dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:17 am

FWIW (which may not be much in terms of usable information) here is a couple of photos esp. for anakim...

This is the device I made and still use for measuring the stick of the foot. It is roughly 20" x 24" and is "calibrated and has a sliding upright. Also has a kerf under the leading edge of the stationary upright so that paper can be slid under that edge and the "base line"/heel line inscribed. It allows taking the length and the HB while the foot is flat and with weight-on.
DSCF3196 (1280 x 1024).jpg
This is a photo of additional sizing sticks that I have acquired over the years On the left is a contemporary stick I got from a friend, in the middle is another Ritz stick that I modified by swapping out the uprights, and on the right is a vintage stick that is made of ivory and boxwood.
DSCF3194_2 (1280 x 1024).jpg
Finally, here is a worksheet from a customer that has ordered about ten pairs of boots and shoes from me. From a heel height of 1" to more than a few at 2-1/4". He's has worn bespoke boots all his life. Almost all he has now, he has gotten from me although I am not satisfied that they are quite snug enough over the instep. I have tried to convince him for years now to let me tighten them up but that's the way he likes them.

This photo shows the footprint (sorry it is so light, usually they are darker), the "foot frame" and the insole (outline of bottom paper in red) that was created from last after it was modified to his preferences. This was for a dress balmoral of alligator and calf. The last was an extended toe last, so there is a bit more toe room than I think is traditional. And, personally, I think the forepart could have been adjusted medially a little bit but he didn't like that idea. He swears that they are the best fitting shoes he has ever owned. I was happy with the fit...including the instep. He took them into Lobbs on St James and showed them off. And I have three more pair on order from him.
DSCF3197 (1280 x 1024).jpg
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#415 Post by dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:20 pm

Here's another worksheet where the ink is a lot darker. As you can see this fellow has a long HB relative to the overall stick. The insole was as wide but no wider than the tread line in the forepart and not much wider, if at all, in the heel seat area. The red lines harken back to Golding, I believe, and give me a pretty accurate boundary beyond which I do not want my insole to be...but no narrower either.

I didn't make a bottom paper for this customer but I did choose the last using a bottom paper (as I usually do) and the last fit within the foot frame and the red lines.

(Excuse the glob of AP over the second proximal phalange.)

PS...This is the worksheet of the son of a customer I have up in Edmonton. The whole family has odd shaped feet. The poor daughters in particular--almost look like club feet. But AFAIK none of them have pain or gait issues. I have made about six (?) pairs of boots for the father and a pair each as graduation presents for each of the children. As usual I do fitters models and the son endorsed the fitter no changes...as did the daughters.

I made shoes for the father and he liked them so much he had to have a pair of boots made at 1" heel as well (after spending years at 1-5/8"). I am just finishing them now. He did want a few minor changes in the forepart...mostly some ease in the tread and toe area.
DSCF3193_(1024_x_768).jpg
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#416 Post by paul » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:55 pm

I'm finding this very encouraging. I'll keep doing what I am doing, with confidence (and fitters models).
For some reason I still don't remember, I spent a couple of years lining the last heel feather line up with the imprint. And I got the ingrown toe nail to recall it by. I came to realize my boots were too short. I moved it back, and like the image above, used the HB measure back from the ball to the point where I set my heel feather.
Fitting lasts for me starts with the heel to ball measure, match that first, and then proceed to the circumferences.
All part of the life-long study.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#417 Post by dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:00 pm

paul » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:55 pm wrote:I'm finding this very encouraging. I'll keep doing what I am doing, with confidence (and fitters models).
For some reason I still don't remember, I spent a couple of years lining the last heel feather line up with the imprint. And I got the ingrown toe nail to recall it by. I came to realize my boots were too short. I moved it back, and like the image above, used the HB measure back from the ball to the point where I set my heel feather.
Fitting lasts for me starts with the heel to ball measure, match that first, and then proceed to the circumferences.
All part of the life-long study.
Don't be too hard on yourself, it's a curve.
Paul
:thumb:

I did the same. It's tempting to think that the featheredge should align with the footprint at the back of the heel. That gives the appearance of automatically compensating for the back curve...more or less...I guess. I didn't get an ingrown toenail but I knew, right away that the fit was wrong.

And that "That way lies madness." :rofl:

On another note, I realized late this afternoon that I have the insole on the last for the customer above (the one with the short toes--second one). Maybe tomorrow I'll pull the insole and trace around it on that same worksheet. The insole ought to pretty well match what a bottom paper would look like. Might add a bit to the discussion...or not. Won't hurt to try..."to see what he could see."
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#418 Post by lancepryor » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:22 am

dw » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:14 pm wrote:Lance,

I am pleased you jumped in here...and I don't want to dispute or gainsay your approach to fitting. As we've both said, there are probably as many ways as there are makers and most of them work.

I hope you will forgive me then if I come across a bit nit-pickish, but I don't understand some of what you've laid out here.

For instance, in your first paragraph...how do you measure the stick of the last at the bottom? Are you just running a ruler from featheredge to featheredge?
Well, essentially dropping a vertical line from the feather line at the toe and at the heel, then measuring this distance. This is thus ignoring any increased length on the bottom of the last due to shape/curvature. My point is that, if one analogizes to a bottom paper, the bottom paper is shorter than the overall length of the last, because it is forward of the rearmost heel point. Thus, if you are using the measurement to compare to the foot's heel to ball distance (measured using the tracing/imprint from the rearmost heel location), the last (bottom) will measure smaller than the foot. So, you will need to go to a bigger last, which will thus lead one to fit long.

And how can we assume that any given last will measure less than any given foot? I am not "seeing" this. Don't we need, first, to determine the H-B of the foot and then choose a last that hopefully corresponds to that foot HB?
I think that is addressed above. But, to be clear, absolutely, the last should correspond to the foot's HB. The question is how one measures this distance, not whether the foot and the last should be equal in terms of HB. That is, as we've discussed elsewhere, an absolutely critical part of a correct fit.

I purchase bottom papers from the J&V (lastmaker) at the same time I order a last. But I have taped lasts to make papers, and I have never noticed a significant discrepancy between my homemade BP's and those provided by J&V...at least none that can't be ascribed to operator error (mine). Nor have I ever noticed a discrepancy between the free bottom paper and the bottom of the last featheredge to featheredge. IOW, I can lay the BP on the last and it fits just like it did when it was a tape overlay.
Makes sense. I just have never been 100% sure how the bottom papers are generated, i.e. are they a flattened 'shell' of the bottom, or sort of a projection of the outline of the feather edge not accounting for the curvature of the last. Your comments would imply the former, which is certainly more useful for what you are using them for.

I found another thing in your remarks somewhat confusing ...perhaps because I am not understanding how you are getting the stick of the last.
Well, truth be told, I don't really use a stick for measuring the last, I was talking theoretically.

If we model the foot between two uprights, we get a toe line and a heel line and (hopefully) a location for the medial ball joint. Call it the "foot frame." If we superimpose the last over the top of the heel line such that the feather on the last is inset from the foot's heel line...in order to factor in the curvature of the heel of the last...the fit will be shorter than if we align the back of the bottom paper with the heel line of the foot. Using the bottom paper, esp. with the "foot frame" produced by the uprights, will always result in a long fit rather than a short fit...if it doesn't produce a correct fit. Again, "If you're gonna fit 'em wrong, fit 'em long."
Well, remember that the rear of the foot also has a curvature. So, if you do a tracing and an imprint, the heel will print in front of the rearmost part of the heel. In the shoe, the rearmost part of the foot will be at the same point as the rearmost part of the last. So, in my eyes, the appropriate measures are from the rearmost part of each (the foot and the last) to the joint; this is, in my definition, the HB. Given that the feather line of the last is forward of the rearmost part of the last, then measuring a HB distance from that point will by definition give you a different HB distance. And, likewise, measuring the HB off of a foot impression will give an improper HB (per my definition of HB), unless you are measuring from the rearmost part of the foot, and not from the impression itself.

Now, say you have an HB of 8 inches, as measured from the back of the heel to the joint. Further, assume we have a perfectly fitting last. However, If we use the bottom paper (which corresponds to the feather line) for that perfect last, then the bottom paper 'HB' will be shorter than the foot's HB, because the feather line is forward from the rearmost point. Hence, in order to get a last that has the same HB measurement as the foot, we would need to go to a longer last, and hence we would be fitting long.

However, imagine that the process of flattening the bottom paper makes the bottom paper longer than the straight-line length of the bottom of the last. Given that we measure the foot's HB in a straight-line fashion, then that bottom paper will be too long (due to the flattening), which will lead us to use a smaller/shorter last, and hence fit ‘short.’

[Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a long fit but the ball joint is not a "ball" joint--it is a hinge joint and a long fit is less detrimental to foot health than a short fit.]
Agreed.

I have always seen the stick of the last obtained by sitting the last between two uprights in much the same fashion as the foot is placed between two uprights (I think Tippit had an illustration on his website that depicted this). I suppose that colours my perception. But I don't see how a "stick" measurement obtain in this fashion is relevant for us as makers. As you say, it ignores the curvature and the topography of the plantar surface of the last.

And positioning a last, esp. one with a heel and toe spring, over the foot frame or even over the footprint is pretty much the same approach--it is ignoring the curvature of the bottom of the last.
Agreed. Although, I did a quick calculation, and a overlaying a last with a 1” heel height will lead to the length of the HB being about 1/16” (or 1.5mm) too long, so that is only 1/5 of a size and pretty minimal. My guess is that any specific efforts to locate and note the exact joint position have at least that much potential for variance/error. Note, my calculation is assuming the rear of the last is vertical, not curved. The curve may change the answer a bit…. (need to think about/model that a bit more).
Returning to the central question, if it is the heel curvature at the back of the last that is confounding people we can always simply determine what that heel curvature adds in length and offset the appropriate bottom paper off the heel line of the foot frame. But doing so will result in a shorter last, in the end.
Agreed, but it seems to me that is what should be done. Paul’s experience noted above seems likely because the feather line of the last is usually 5 mm ahead of the rear of the last (per Koleff and also measurements I’ve done), where as a foot usually prints with the heel line more than 5mm in front of the rear of the heel. So, aligning the bottom paper with the imprint at the heel will lead to a short fit.
Finally, I use the same methods with my shoe lasts and have not yet encountered a reason to question my approach. A mutual acquaintance on SF that I made shoes for says that they are the best fitting shoes he has....for whatever that's worth.
Hey, that is what matters. At the end of the day, it is about results, not process.

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#419 Post by lancepryor » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:37 am

DW:
thanks for posting those images. Very interesting.

DW, I've always been of the impression that you try to make your feather line correspond to the imprint. However, as you note above, your heel width is greater than that of the print. So, what do you do in that area? I know you are reluctant to cut the last, but

FYI, the UK bespoke lasts I've seen generally have a heel seat a bit wider than the print as well (not that the bespoke folks in the UK use a print, they really just work from the outline of the foot).

I think the extra width is due to the fact that the last bottom is 5mm forward of the rear of the last, whereas the foot usually prints with the heel print more than 5 mm forward of the foot's rearmost point. If the heel seat is kept circular (as opposed to oval), you need a wider heel seat if the last is going to be centered on the same point as the foot's heel.

So, related question: have folks ever modified the rear of the last to have a heel curve of greater than 5mm, to attempt to have the heel seat actually sit exactly the same place as the print?

Lance

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#420 Post by lancepryor » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:42 am

DW:

One other question: is the foot tracing shown above the actual foot width, or does it include the extra width of the tracing tool (e.g. a pencil tracing will be wider than the actual foot due to the thickness of the pencil)? Do you use a tracing block to have the outline the same as the foot?

Thanks,
Lance

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Re: Fitting the Foot

#421 Post by dw » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:15 am

Lance,

I acknowledge the apparent contradiction and the impulse to incorporate the curvature of the heel into the mix.

However, if...

If I am understanding you correctly and you are obtaining the length of the last (the stick) by dropping a vertical from the end of the toe and another from the back of the heel all while the heel is resting on the table, then I cannot but believe that this will result in a shorter length than a bottom paper.

A simple analogy might clarify this. Take an orange...or an eggplant if you will... and set it on the table. Make a mark at each end or on each side. Drop verticals down to a piece of paper sitting on the table. Measure the distance between the two verticals. Isn't this fundamentally how you are obtaining your stick?

Now peel the orange or eggplant from the original marks made on them. Stretch the resulting peel out on the paper and measure the length.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The eggplant has curves. Dropping verticals measures a straight line. Peeling the eggplant follows the curves.

It's the difference between diameter and circumference.

Thus, on any given last, the bottom paper will be longer than one might expect. Certainly longer than a straight-forward measurement of the discrepancy between the featherline and the curvature would suggest. As long as your stick? Longer? I don't know. But esp. as the heel height increases, I suspect the possibility it might be as long, increases.

When I measure the foot I measure it between two uprights--two verticals. This is the stick of the foot. (I'm not sure it is proper to call the same measurement on the last a "stick" as well) At its most basic, if I then use a bottom paper...which follows the plantar curves of the last...which is the same length as the stick of the foot, I am ignoring (in my case deliberately) that implied additional length / substance of the curvature at the back of the last. It is a ghost substance that is beyond the stick of the foot.

Ipso facto, unless I am just not seeing something critical (always possible), fitting the bottom paper to the foot frame always results in a long fit. Or...given the contours of the last and the orange peel effect...in my mind, a better than average fit.

--------------------------------------------

As long as the short heel and long heel are correct, I don't believe that the last has to exactly fit the heel seat width...within reason. Then too, as the width of the last in the heel varies so too will the long heel and short heel measurements. So one has to be very careful.

So, within reason...and I suspect that is right around 2 millimeter on each side...some discrepancy is of little concern. And especially on shoes where the heel stiffener curves under the foot at the sides, a little ease there is not unwelcome.

----------------------------------------------

I use a stylus to obtain the outline. It is flat and less than a millimeter thick. So the thickness is not an issue. What is an issue is how upright I hold it. When you're kneeling in front of a customer and running the stylus around the back of the foot it is often difficult to determine if the stylus is perfectly vertical. Also I often encounter customers that have a pronounced bulge on the medial side associated with the ankle of the foot. Too high to really be a legitimate aspect of the outline but too low to avoid tracing it with a pencil or stylus.

That's why I discount outlines.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#422 Post by dw » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:28 am

Here's a curious thing...

Just for a lark I decided to measure the "stick" of an untouched 6B last in the sizing stick shown at left in the photo above.

First, I placed it in the stick so that the last was sitting at heel height (space under the heel). The length was 10-3/8".
DSCF3201 (1280 x 1024).jpg
Then I dropped the heel of the last so that it was resting on the beam of the stick. It measured 10-1/2".
DSCF3203 (1280 x 1024).jpg
Which way is more correct? I would suspect the first but....

Then I measured the "computer generated" bottom paper (which, as expected, flattens to the bottom of the last with near perfect accuracy...maybe just a short millimeter long).

Guess what?

It measures 10-7/16". !!!

:tinfoil:

I'll post photos later in the day.

PS...just did the same experiment with a 8E shoe last with a 1" heel. The last measured 11-1/4" at heel height in the sizing stick and the bottom paper measured 11-3/16".
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#423 Post by dw » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:07 am

added the promised photo above.
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#424 Post by dw » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:28 am

I made a mistake in a previous posting from yesterday. I posted a worksheet with a dark imprint and identified it as the last of the son of one of my long time customers. I said I would pull the insole off the last to outline it on the worksheet.

But the worksheet turned out to be for customer long, long ago. My wife had decided that it was beyond its "pull date" and just re-used the folder/worksheet to hold the un-assembled tops for the son. So I just assumed... (don't do that. :cool:

In any case, I didn't have a bottom paper for that old order.

So I recreated the initial steps to illustrate how I would approach fitting up someone with such an odd foot. That way the photo of that old worksheet wasn't for naught and maybe it adds to the conversation.

What you see here is the worksheet, of course, but I have chosen a bottom paper that I believe represents the last I want to use. [Parenthetically, I might have gone through several other bottom papers of varying width or length before settling on this one. ]

Of course we start with the HB. This is especially critical with a foot such as this one.

And the overall length.

Then we look at the heel seat width...right on the money.

Tread width...here it is obvious that a good deal of build up will be needed. And that those build ups need to extend well back into the lateral waist.

Why did I choose to start with a 6B rather than a 6E or even 6EE? Well, it's a half a dozen of one and six of the other. But bottom line is that the heel seat width must be respected and either I have to build up the forepart of the 6B or cut the heel of the last on the 6EE.

I am always reluctant to cut a last. Too many things are thrown off if all the proper relationships and curves and angles aren't rigourously respected and duplicated.

Then, of course, we start checking girths. I suspect that the long heel and the short heel will need attention as will the instep--probably most of that on the lateral waist but just as probably some over the top of the cone, as well.

And of course the ball and forepart.

Seems like a lot of work but God made the foot, I didn't. All I can do is fit what's there.

And it goes without saying that it would be doubly difficult to make a narrow round toe for this customer ...even though people with such feet are often determined that that is exactly what they want.

Anyway...FWIW...
DSCF3206 (1280 x 1024).jpg
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Re: Fitting the Foot

#425 Post by anakim » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:50 am

Thanks so much, all of you. The differences between DW's and Lance's method and discussion give me something to chew on. And thanks Paul for your admonition about feather edge and imprint. This all helps make it clearer.
DW the pictures are super helpful. I looked and thought a lot last night including drawing all over my toe just to make sure I really did have the medial metatarsal position correct, and to find its angle so I can get the middle.
I got to the point where I think I've got the right last, as far as heel to ball, at least for one person. Upon close examination, i can see my altering of the ball and toe area of the last is probably what made these particular ones fit so badly. Anyways, that is a whole other story, but seeing how your bottom paper fits over the footprint around toes is helpful too for the next step.
I think I am going to get reading about other aspects of fitting.
DW, I would love to see whatever you are willing to share, but feel I have put you to a lot of trouble already!
Again, thank you!

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