Originally Posted by shoefan
Don't know if that last sentence is aimed at me, but I don't think I discounted any approach, simply was asking some questions and giving some thoughts based on your earlier assertions....
No, not aimed at you. Thank you for "asking."
A few follow-up thoughts. First, of course pretty much any last maker (in my experience at least) would agree that HB is the first and most important measure; to me, that is a given, but it also doesn't address the modified factory vs. bespoke-from-scratch last question. Clearly either approach can do this correctly, or not, depending on the skill of the maker/modifier. You've previously asserted (and I agree) that toe spring is an aesthetic decision, so how will a slight variance in toe spring affect the wearer? And, I would submit, making toe spring match up is a pretty straightforward process in last making. I don't think many last makers would not pay attention to this very obvious detail, and variations are quite apparent.
I'm not sure it would be a significant factor in carving a last, either, esp. for the very skilled--but I don't know for sure. That said, and the reason I cite it is that it relates back to the OP of this particular strand...regarding toe spring and heel height and toe plates etc.. Perhaps for the reader as well as myself you could elaborate and describe how you make sure the toe spring is identical. Myself I am having an hard time imagining any effective or reliable method that doesn't take the whole forepart and the treadline into consideration.
Second, I think we can acknowledge that most people, perhaps the overwhelming majority of people, are walking around in mis-fit shoes, and most of them are not suffering from crippling injuries to their feet
Yet. Feet are nothing if not wonderfully adaptable and strong. They have to be. That said, fallen metatarsal arches, or even bunion or hammer toes, etc., don't develop overnight. I literally takes years as the feet of many women attest to. But as adaptable as they are, they are not indestructible. And once damaged, the only cure...and a poor one at that...is often surgery or is not remediable.
So, perhaps that might suggest that a misfit is not so damaging. Assuming, arguendo, that is that case, then I would submit that any decent last maker's product, tuned to the customer's specific measurements, tracings, etc., will be far superior to what the average human is walking around in today, and any unintentional variances across a pair of bespoke lasts are unlikely to have a hugely deleterious impact on the wearer (putting aside specific orthopedic cases wherein a misfit can have profound consequences, e.g. with diabetic feet).
Third, granting that the last varies from the foot (e.g. bottom radius, height of cone vs. the foot's instep, and others), then it follows to ask the question: what deleterious consequences will arise due small variances between lasts in those inherent deviations?
Exactly...probably none in my opinion...all other things being optimal, But perhaps (?) what you're missing is that esp. since feet are designed to accommodate irregularities underfoot, a less than stringent or even a symmetrical approach to bottom shape is no more deleterious than a modeled bottom with variations not precisely congruent with the foot.
And one follow up question: what bottom modifications you do make to when fitting up factory lasts? Do you 'cut' the bottom of the last if, for example, someone's pedograph shows a very high instep with virtually no print in the instep/waist? If you do, is that last one you can reuse for future customers? In your experience/exposure to others (mostly bootmakers, I guess), do folks who are fitting up lasts mess around with the last bottoms?
Yes I do. I even take note of unusually heavy imprinting of met heads and occasionally place build ups to accommodate them. My own feet naturally (nothing pathological) pronate slightly and I have a very low arch. I have a build-ups in the waist/arch of my lasts to model this. I do not think, however, that this is always necessary despite the foot topography or prints. Much of it has to do with the type of shoe or boot being made. And heel height.
But this is no different from a maker (and many, even those carving their own lasts, take this approach) ignoring the foot print...if one is even taken. Or ignoring, not even recording, the long heel measurement. Part of what agjiffy was describing and "raving" about (presumably because it was different from other shoes he had), was the closeness of fit (which, FWIW, I approve of). Both of which--the footprint and the long heel---would have been critical to that closeness. Or it's happenstance.
As for other makers...it depends on the maker...just like anything else. Just like it depends on the lastmaker/carver. But as a general rule I suspect you're correct--modeling the bottom is not common among those who work with factory lasts. I myself don't give it the weight I give other factors such as HB, unless I see something that alerts me to the necessity--low arches, fallen met heads, etc..
At the end of the day, it seems to me, either a fitted up factory last or a bespoke last will, as you say, vary from the foot in some ways. Furthermore, and I agree, there is likely to be some variance across a pair of bespoke lasts, even for an identical pair of feet. However, no two feet are identical. So, either there will be variance across a pair of fitted up lasts or, by definition, one of those lasts is suboptimal. So, to me, the ultimate question becomes: which approach leads to better fitting shoes: a pair of bespoke lasts, each one made to the specific characteristics of the foot, but with some natural/unintended variances across the two lasts, or a pair of fitted up factory lasts, with greater consistency in some parameters, but with perhaps different variances from the customer's feet vs. the from-scratch bespoke lasts? At the end of the day, a lot will probably depend on the skill of the last maker/modifier. However, I think you and I reach a different generalized conclusion as to the answer to the foregoing question. I don't think either of us can prove things one way or the other, though perhaps we can continue to educate each other.
I like this whole sentence and the sentiment behind it. Sincerely. I am hopeful that you will be so kind as to follow up on my request to see the way you cut (?) a curved treadline into the bottom of a last esp. as compared to a last where that has not been done.
Finally, I have said many times that I admire and deeply respect those of you who carve lasts...even if you are starting from a pre-shaped rough cut. I wish I had that skill. I was not trained that way, however, and despite my attempts to do so...yes, I have tried both approaches...I keep coming back to my old same old. It's what I know. It works. I sincerely am not trying to prove my way is better. The closest I come to that is to reject, categorically, that in the right hands either way is adequate. That there can be an almost perfect equivalency...in the right hands. In some respects, I think you have to have done both...to the point of skill...before you can objectively and legitimately make a valid comparison.