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Re: Lasts

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:23 pm
by adam_j
parting with jv #14 lasts call if interested. 479-634-2320

Re: Lasts

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:57 pm
by romango
I'm sad to report that Jones and Vining has raised their prices on single last pairs by 2.5 times the old price.

I guess they have reassessed the value of that segment of their business.


Re: Lasts

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:08 am
by danfreeman
I am sorry to learn that JV has decided to raise prices, although their service is very valuable. I can modify almost any last from my collection of factory lasts, but sometimes, it's too much: like the time I needed a high-back hiking boot last, in 17A! I called JV, and would do so again, even at 2.5X the "regular" price. And whether they are fully justified, or merely want more money, I would be even more unhappy to hear that they had ceased operations.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:32 pm
by bdadamovicz
Hi all, found this fellow in Germany selling lasts. I have not messaged with him but his post implies that he will ship to the states for an additional fee, how much that is I do not know yet but I am going to find out. Current exchange rate is $13.09 a pair. Thought you all might be interested. 10-/370645552798?pt=Weitere_Basteltechniken&hash=item564c324e9e

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:24 pm
by creuzy
Would anyone with children's lasts be willing to lend some to me? I've got a little boy that I would like to keep making shoes for, but I'm not willing to fork out the money to keep buying lasts as his feet grow. The first couple pairs have been made on homemade lasts based on Koleff's book, but it takes time to keep making those too - plus I would like to see an actual child's last to compare to mine.

I would of course not permanently modify the last (besides nail holes...) and would pay shipping both ways (plus deposit if required).

If you are willing, message me and we can hash out details. The first size I will need is a 6 or 6-1/2.

Or if you have other ideas for me, I'm open.


PS - BTW, I just purchased a pair of lasts from the seller mentioned in the previous post (from 2012). He still has lasts available with a current exchange rate of $8.03. Shipping was an additional 18 Euros for my pair. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:49 pm
by MLW
Hello all, I have read this category regarding last making equipment around 2010. I am interested in turning my own last and trees. Would anyone know of a gillman last duplicator or comperable equipment for sale?

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:40 am
by mw313
Hi all,

So is the consensus that Jones and Vining is the best place to get new custom lasts from at this point? I am looking into getting custom lasts for myself as a sort of investment because I have such uniquely sized feet. I'm a 14 or 15 and extremely narrow. The closest fitting that I have found so far is a pair that Alden made on their barrie last that runs .5 size large and this one was a size 14 AAA with a AAAAA heel. That still wasn't perfect but is getting there. I have read up on spring line too and found a few others through many hours of searching, but can't find much out about the others.

Any ideas? Also I am in medical school at Temple University (Philly) studying both Podiatry and foot/ankle surgery so I have access to docs and pedorthists to take measurements, make casts, take pictures, etc. I can't afford any of the easy to contact bespoke makers from England/Italy that visit the states more often due to medical school and then a surgical residency right after, so I am looking to get the lasts made and then to see if anyone in the US would be able to make me nice looking shoes that will really fit me and be more reasonably priced. I know that custom shoes are expensive but hearing $6000+ for the others seemed crazy to me.

Any info or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-Matt Wohlgemuth

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:15 am
by das

I read both your posts. And if you can imagine how hard it might be to diagnose a patient sight unseen over the Internet, your query is a bit like that. My best advice, find a good bespoke maker who can measure your feet properly and make a pedographic imprint, either to have custom lasts made, or to customize an existing last. Not necessary to commit to having shoes made at this point. The lasts and manufacturers you carefully listed is not very helpful, because each company's last is made to produce certain shoes with specific styles, heel heights, varying constructions (Goodyear welt, cemented, etc.). And they are all mass-production "factory" lasts, not ideally suited for making hand-made or hand-sewn shoes on. Socks play an important role in fit yes, but you should never need to fill the shoes up with two pair.

If you find a maker willing to help you get started, and you want a laced ankle shoe like an Oxford, etc., (vs. a higher boot), or to experiment some yourself, I'd start by buying a pair of "US NAVY" lasts (J & V has the model) in a close size/width, then customize them and make/have made some test-fitter shoes and keep tweaking/adjusting the lasts until you get the fit exactly where you like it. Frills like toe shape, etc. can be adjusted later. The first step is to get the basic container shape perfect and to agree with your foot shape, inflare, outflare, or neutral.

Like Dr. Munson's last for Army boots (1912), the "US NAVY" last was developed in the 1920s-30s for the Navy and Marine Corps footwear. It's a very anatomically-correct shape, and being developed on the tax payers' dime (like Munson's), it's non-proprietary (not copyright--free to use). A good place to start.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:47 am
by dw

It's early in the morning as I post this but I thought I would chime in after letting it "steep" overnight.

You surely will have an advantage over all of us if you add shoemaking to your repertoire. That said I have to agree with das...the last models you mention are near-as-nevermind worthless in determining either the size of your foot or what last to order. Perhaps if you knew where a particular shoe manufacturer had their lasts made and had permission from them to use that particular model....

But from a shoemaker's POV, none of the information you've provided is sufficient to do anything with.

Sizes marked on lasts are unreliable, at best...often more whimsy than welcome. One maker's 14AAA is another maker's 13D. Undoubtedly you have already experienced that.

Lastmakers don't automatically "trap" or measure lasts at the same location that shoemakers do relative to the foot or the bone structure of the foot. For instance I take a "low instep" measurement over the foot's middle cuniform. Where is that topologically on the last? It varies with each person and the lastmaker has no way of locating that spot. I also take a high instep and a short heel and a long heel measurement (among others). Lastmakers do not recognize or use those girths. Maybe just as, or even more, important you need to know heel to ball length, heelseat and tread width, waist measurement, as well as an assessment of the foot's "temper."

I always take girth measurements with the weight-off. Every maker that I've ever run across who took measurements weight-on, also arbitrarily subtracted a certain fraction from each individual girth. Weight-on measurements are static measurements and like plaster casts cannot reflect the actual measurements needed to make a true and accurate fit. Not without a significant amount of guessing. The foot is so architecturally complex, and so difficult to extract empirical data from, piling guesses upon guesses leaves us with nothing but a guess as to fit.

And how do you want your shoes to fit? Do you want the facings to come right together? Generally speaking that's not a good idea, IMO...particularly with regard to oxfords.

As a result, many good makers last the shoes with the facings apart. In my experience that creates the potential for curved and/or uneven facings...even if you design a facings gap into the patterns. The upshot is that whatever your instep(s) measure, you might want to subtract a fraction (not so arbitrarily) and last the shoe (oxfords) with the facings tight...expecting the facings to open up, with a 3/8" gap for instance, when the shoe is worn.

There is also a relationship between instep girths and long and/or short heel measurements. And it's a bit of a balancing act to maintain that relationship on the last. But critically my experience.

The last is the first and most important tool we have. As much attention and focus as we can muster needs to be brought to bear on getting it every aspect...or all the rest is wasted effort.

In the end, in the absence of shoemaker to measure your foot for all the missing data; in the absence of a last model that you know and can count on; in the absence of an understanding of how and where measurements of the foot relate to the topography of the's kind of a guessing game. You end up having to buy several lasts at different length and widths and having shoes made on them to narrow down which is the most satisfactory. And even then "most satisfactory" is not necessarily a correct fit. For instance if a person is not accurately fit in the heel to ball measurement, he is not fit. Period.

It's a complicated business but if you settle for "good enough for government work" you might as well stick with the "close enough" you've already come across with the RTW makers.

Just my :2cents: :2cents: :2cents:

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:19 am
by mw313
Thank you very much to both DW and Das!

That information is very helpful. I have learned very quickly that the lasts from one brand vary from another last but I thought that the American brands had lasts made from Jones and Vining and that the British had them made from Springline. I figured that some people here dealt with either of those firms in making lasts. I didn't realize that each last makers would have so many different forms that the info I gave wouldn't be helpful either.

I have spoken with both Springline and Jones and Vining, and both of them said that they would have no problem to make me a custom last if I was to supply them with all of the information that they would request in terms of measurements. Jones and Vining actually recommended that I would ask Perry Ercolino to take my measurements because he uses them to make lasts and they are used to making lasts based off of his exact measurements. They said that there are many other great shoe makers around who use them for custom lasts (I'm sure many on here use them), but Perry would be the easiest for me to see in person being that I live right outside of Philadelphia. J&V said that they would just make me a last from scratch if need be, but they would try to find lasts in their back log of many lasts to fit all of the measurements closely with a classic looking toe shape of my choice and then adjust as needed before they make my final last. The price they gave me seemed to be quite reasonable too. They said that it wouldn't just be some size number for length and width either. It would just be my measurements like any bespoke maker would do. Does that seem to make more sense to do?

Do you guys think that it would just make more sense to ask Perry to take the measurements to get my lasts made? If he does that do you think that I could just try to make my own trial shoes or ask another local and much less expensive shoemaker to make me the early pairs with that last, so I can afford to get something made to hold me over and then work on any possible adjustments that I would need. Then I could practice for a couple of years in making some of my own too. After that is done would I be able to have Perry or other top shoemakers like yourselves make shoes for me in the future, when I will be able to afford them? Then I hope to learn more about shoemaking first hand. I have read and watched a lot on the processes of making after the last is made, so I hope to get practice with doing the rest too.

Thank you for any more advice that you can give me,


Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:19 am
by dw
Many bespoke makers will make a fitter's model or a trial shoe. If you commission Perry Ercolino to mod up a last for you and then make a trial shoe, you can see what it's going to fit like. And between the trial shoe and any subsequent alterations to the last you can refine the fit.

Then you can send the modded last to J&V to duplicate. And you'd own your own last.

I can't imagine Perry being anything but receptive to this idea as long as you pay him for his work.

I deal with J&V and have done for many many years. I like them and like working with them. Even so, I seriously doubt that just sending measurements into J&V ...regardless of who took them...will produce satisfactory results. I'm sure that they can come close to reproducing the measurements taken but perhaps not 100% accurately. Again, J&V doesn't have any way of knowing where Ercolino finds the instep measurement, for instance. Or how the heel to ball length was found--I use Sabbages 8/11 LOF to determine medial ball joint. Typically lastmakers and many shoemakers use 7/10 LOF.

Fit is more than numbers.

I'd also be surprised if J&V put much effort into finding a last from archived models.

In the first place, they have literally thousands. I've been dealing with them for decades and they haven't done that for me yet. More, you might not be happy with the results--many of the archived models were designed for manufacturing purposes, so no inside cones, more degree in the heel than you might like (or is healthy), etc..

In the second place, many are proprietary. You couldn't get a last made from my models, for instance, without my permission. And that might be a problem with Perry's lasts, too...I don't know.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:11 am
by mw313

So are you saying that I should see if Perry would do the measurements and then have a trial shoe made to make sure the fit is really just right? Then have the final last made by Jones and Vining? So then I would own my own last.

Are there any other details that I need to think about before contacting Perry?

thanks for your time,


Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:21 pm
by dw
mw313 wrote:
So are you saying that I should see if Perry would do the measurements and then have a trial shoe made to make sure the fit is really just right? Then have the final last made by Jones and Vining? So then I would own my own last.
Might be the easiest way to go. But don't expect it to be inexpensive...but none of the alternatives is, either.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:53 pm
by mw313
I think it probably is worth it to have one last that works just right with my foot and I can use it for so many years. Then I figured that if I would eventually want to get other types of shoes down the road from anyone like you, perry, lance, etc I would have a last to go off of and could have it modified with other toe shapes in the future.

It really does make sense to use someone to make the last that I actually can meet in person so we can look at so many more details than just the general measurements.

I'll keep you all posted with what perry tells me.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:05 pm
by mw313
mw313 wrote:I think it probably is worth it to have one last that works just right with my foot and I can use it for so many years. Then I figured that if I would eventually want to get other types of shoes down the road from anyone like you, perry, lance, etc I would have a last to go off of and could have it modified with other toe shapes in the future.

It really does make sense to use someone to make the last that I actually can meet in person so we can look at so many more details than just the general measurements.

I'll keep you all posted with what perry tells me.

Any other information that you can provide would be helpful.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:16 am
by courtney
I had custom lasts made by spring line when I first started getting serious about making shoes.
I don't know if I sent bad measurements and drawings ( which is possible) but they were completely unwearable and needed tons of modification to be usable.
Plus, something happened with the bank transfer which was a nightmare, and I had to pay extra import duties.
I think you should pay the shoemaker to measure your feet and build up some lasts for you to those measurements, then after having a pair of fitter shoes made by someone you'll know if they need modifications.
Then, you could have them duplicated by Jv.

I guess the two most common scenarios wold be go get shoes made by a shoemaker that would let you keep the lasts,

Or, learn how to make your own shoes.

I don't really remember what your question was now, hope that was helpfull!
Good luck,

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:16 am
by mw313

I didn't realize that JV would make duplicates of a last that was modified to fit me better. I will have to reach out to them after I get a last that works for me and a fitter shoe. I would love to have a stab at making a shoe for myself too!

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:40 pm
by admin

Moved your post here


Re: Lasts

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:48 pm
by Habitab
Hey all!

I'm just beginning my journey into shoe making. I've spent a decent amount of time poking around on the internet (here and elsewhere) to try to get a handle on what sort of materials I'll need, as well as a bit of the actual making process. I think I'm ready to start assembling tools and materials, starting with a pair of lasts. I have access to two used pair, but one is a size too wide and one is a size too narrow.

My initial gut reaction is to go with the more narrow pair, with the idea that they'll probably actually fit just fine. The more I think about it, though, the less sure I am.
I'm also aware that there is very little in the way of 'standard' for measuring shoes, so perhaps there isn't really a problem at all... it's enough to make your head spin.

Should I go with the narrow set, and just stretch my shoes a bit?
Is adding material to the (wooden) last to make it wider a viable option?
Should I go with the wider set and remove material until it fits better?
Should I just bite the bullet and buy one and make a few shoes before trying to get super specific with measurement / style of last?

Thanks you all for your time and help!

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:13 pm
by brooklyn_edie
Welcome Habitab.

I hope you love it here as much as I do. I'm more of a beginner than many others here, but since no one was available through the weekend to reply, here's my go at it.

Getting a "perfect" last is the thing that all of us are chasing. If you've spent enough time on the forum you know by now that there's miles of discussion and opinion on the matter. This is true for much of shoemaking, not just lasts and fitting. It's an involved craft... and I spend lots of time scratching my head trying to figure out why in the world I decided to get into this madness. Well, it's fascinating and rewarding too, and very challenging, which keeps it fresh, at least for me.

As for finding a perfect last for your first pair (I assume it's your first according to what you wrote), my advice is, don't, cause you won't. Get something close enough and start making your shoes. Cause remember... your first shoe is probably gonna be a disaster regardless of how "perfect" your last may be. You'll find that as time goes on and you keep trying, at each step your understanding will improve, and then you'll be able to make adjustments in your process. At least that's what I've experienced.

Of course, there's always great teachers you can find on the forum, which will cut some of your experimentation time. That's what I did, and I don't regret it.

For adjusting lasts. I've heard many people say that they prefer to not grind the last. They prefer to build it up instead. I've heard others say that when they make a custom last, they don't mind grinding it as it'll always be a specific customer's last. I'm a beginner (6 years or so), so I can only say that the majority I've heard was the former... the build up people. You can try it... just get your foot measurements and start experimenting.

So, find the best option for now, and start your shoes. But if you still want a last that's "your size", let me know... I have lots of them and may find something, who knows. fasteredie at yahoo dot com

And of course, post them for us.

Good luck

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:45 pm
by dinerio

Just a comment on fitting a last, when you build up a last to fit and things don't go quite right, it's easy to peel off the buildup and start over with out altering the original form.
Good luck and keep at it.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:25 am
by dw
dinerio ยป Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:45 pm wrote:Habitab,

Just a comment on fitting a last, when you build up a last to fit and things don't go quite right, it's easy to peel off the buildup and start over with out altering the original form.
Good luck and keep at it.

That's the key...the question isn't really build-up or cut away, it's whether you know enough about lasts--topography, aesthetics, how form relates to fit--to cut the last without destroying it.

Even after forty plus years, if I have to make a choice...all other things being equal...I will always choose the smaller last and build it up.

Sometimes, of course, the measurements, the foot print, etc., force the maker to cut the last but once you start down that path you really ought to know what the last looks like, is supposed to look your bones, with your eyes closed...before you begin.

One other aspect of this that applies esp. to students, is that when you build up on a last, you are, by default, cutting away also. You can't just slap a chunk of leather on the last and call it good. You have to shape that build up and blend it into the lines of the last...or have the shoe end up looking like a "sack of taters."

Doing that shaping work gives the student the opportunity to examine and work with the lines of the last. To learn it. Do that long enough and it becomes part of you. And no lasts are killed.

Then if you have a need to cut the last, it's a lot easier and the results more graceful.

Re: Lasts

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:23 am
by Habitab
Wow, thanks for the replies, everyone! I'm glad my gut reaction ended up being the popular opinion! I'm going to go ahead with the lasts that are a size too narrow. Once I have something resembling a shoe (even if it resembles a sack of potatoes), I'll be sure to post pictures.

Thanks again for all your advice!

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:51 pm
by davidcrain
Did a search, but couldn't find any really recent topics. Does anyone have a source for some wooden Munson lasts? I know J.V. sales them, but I'd rather have a wooden last if possible. Been searching eBay with no luck for the most part. Would like a 10.5D to make some moccasins. Thanks in advance.

- Dave

Re: Lasts

Posted: Sat May 28, 2016 1:27 pm
by powell2g
For anybody that needs boot lasts . I have a large collection all new plastic 1 5/8 heel excellently priced . I shifted my making of foot wear a medieval and moccasin types. So I am hoping to get rid of them. Any interested inquires can get more info at