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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 65

post #961 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The method I was taught, and the one generally used where I used to work, has been pared back to the absolute minimum over 150+ years of refinement - an outline and 3 measurements around the foot. Most people I've worked with add a few extras and I've added a couple of things which make sense to me but nothing revolutionary.

The outline is the most important part, that provides all the length and width information you need without resorting to size sticks or any devices like that. Once it's on the paper you've got all the necessary details.

I don't buy into pedographs, foam boxes etc personally, there's no information gained with them that feeds into how I work any better than a good outline does. I suppose it's accurate to say I'm not all that interested in how the foot actually is, any more than a tailor is interested in the shape of your pectoral muscles - I'm using the information to determine how I want to foot to be once it's inside the shoe.

I don't advocate cutting open a shoe either, I've never felt the need to and I can't figure out what there is to be gained. Would slicing open the chest of a jacket show the tailor why the lapels are flaring open? It would stop him seeing what's wrong after it's been cut, that's for certain.

Other people use the various methods above to good results, and what's most important is using what works best for you personally. My way isn't "correct" for anyone but me.


Thank you for your observations. I would guess that the three measurements you use are joint, waist and instep. Is that right?

The fact that you say the method has been "pared back" is my understanding, as well. I suspect that's why I haven't met any other makers who use as many measurements as I do.

I confess to believing that, in this case at least, more is simply more--the more data I collect about the foot the more comfortable I am.

I am in agreement with most of your remarks and your last sentence 100%.

That said...not arguing and with all due respect...I find that the pedograph is more important to me than the outline, but I do take an outline, as well.

The pedograph tells me where the plantar surface of the foot is touching ground. And that, in turn, that tells me how wide the insole should be at both the heel and the joint. I have found, over the years, that too wide an insole is just as problematic as too narrow an insole.

And I find that because feet can be flaccid or rigid, muscular or lean, the outline can mislead me in determining the size and width of the plantar surface of the foot.

Horses for courses and whatever works for you. It's the results that count...proof is in the pudding, as who should say. Like I said, sometimes I come across a technique or approach that works well in someone else's hands but doesn't work for, or make sense to, me.

I tell you all this on the off chance it makes some sense to you and you can use it...all or part.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 3/19/16 at 8:04am
post #962 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

You're right. Even lasting is stretching the leather.

But the critical issue here is that once the shoes are made I don't try to stretch them lengthwise. I don't know how many times I need to underline, bold, italicize or repeat that simple fact before you get it. I don't know why you cannot ...will not...hear or understand the distinction.

I understood the distinction long before I first read your comments about the difference.
However, I'll try and ask again. If you finished a shoe for a customer that was a tad to short and uncomfortable, do you make a new shoe for them?
post #963 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

There is no formula.

Some people have very flaccid feet and / or "loose" tendons and ligaments. Their feet will change more and faster than people whose feet are more rigid and dense. When I first got into the Trade, one of my teachers told me that a foot will flatten and lengthen at least one full size over the space of a lifetime. I cannot confirm that. Mine have not...although my body itself has undergone changes, albeit of the opposite nature--shortening and thickening.

That said, I have seen people who claim they wore a size 7 in high school and are now force to wear a size 10. Maybe. Not arguing. But it makes me suspicious that fit is a bit quixotic for many folks.

For me, it's almost beside the point, I "fit what's there."
.
Bottom line if your shoes aren't fitting, you need a new pair. How you go about that and who you go to, is the issue, isn't it?

Thank you for the very clear and informative answer. As I have said many times before, I value your contributions extremely highly due to their basis in true first-hand experience.
post #964 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirling View Post

Thank you for the very clear and informative answer. As I have said many times before, I value your contributions extremely highly due to their basis in true first-hand experience.

Yr. Hmb. Svt.

cheers.gif
post #965 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post

I understood the distinction long before I first read your comments about the difference.
However, I'll try and ask again. If you finished a shoe for a customer that was a tad to short and uncomfortable, do you make a new shoe for them?

As I said, if I am mindful of the footprint as well as the other data I collect, that will not happen. And I make a fitter's model to guarantee that even in the customer's mind it will not happen.

But, all that aside if it were to happen...against all odds and despite my best efforts... yes, I would make the shoe again, from scratch. I would never try to stretch it lengthwise.

It is not possible to stretch a good shoe lengthwise without distorting and potentially damaging it...permanently.
post #966 of 1709

I measure pretty much the same as Nicholas which is hardly surprising as we were schooled at the same place, I don't have a problem with makers collecting as much info as they need, we all work in slightly different ways.  I also worked with Terry Moore of Fosters for many years and learned a great deal from him about lastmaking.

To translate the measurements and fit into a stylish and beautiful shoe is the challenge,Nicholas Templeman happens to be a maker who can do this.

post #967 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j-mac View Post

I measure pretty much the same as Nicholas which is hardly surprising as we were schooled at the same place, I don't have a problem with makers collecting as much info as they need, we all work in slightly different ways.  I also worked with Terry Moore of Fosters for many years and learned a great deal from him about lastmaking.
To translate the measurements and fit into a stylish and beautiful shoe is the challenge,Nicholas Templeman happens to be a maker who can do this.


That's for certain.

But your work isn't too shabby, either.

And thank you for your response, as well.
post #968 of 1709
Aww shucks.

(The cheque's in the post)
post #969 of 1709
I just discovered this thread, so bare with me, gentlemen. I am slowly reading through the old posts to learn what I can and it is a lot to process. I realize that my knowledge about shoemaking is very, very basic!

Anyways, I am cross-posting my question from the "MTO/Bespoke Shoe Plans" thread:

I am having bespoke shoes made and have a fitting for the test pair next month. Could some of the more experienced members offer some tips? I know what to look for when having fittings for suits, shirts, etc., but am still a virgin with regards to bespoke footwear!

Is there a post or thread that addresses my questions? I did come across a very old thread that mentioned that bespoke shoes "feel" and "fit" different to RTW shoes, but am not sure how this knowledge will help me at the first fitting. The cordwainer, though, did tell me that when he makes my shoes, they will feel snug through the instep but there will be adequate room in the toebox. Anything else for me to keep in mind?
post #970 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Frankly, I was trained in what I suspect was a fairly rigourous school of fitting. Pull-on boots don't have any laces, so the fit needs to be near-as-nevermind perfect right out of the gate...simply because there is no way to adjust the fit after the fact. No laces. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

And, as a consequence, in my mind at least, there no ambiguity about what is a fit and what is not.

I take more measurements than most shoemakers that I have run across...in fact, more than any shoemaker that I've run across.

I take a footprint (an ink copy of the plantar surface of the weight bearing foot--like a fingerprint) with a pedograph.

I take a length of foot (LOF) measurement. I take a joint measurement, and a waist measurement and a low instep and a high instep and a short heel and a long heel.

Some of these measurements are more associated with pull-on boots than shoes but I find all of them important when making shoes.

And I find all of them more or less dependent on the others. So that when the low instep is large, for instance, the the long heel will also be large. And if it is too large, reducing it will also reduce the the long heel and maybe the high instep and short heel, as well.

I am also extremely mindful of heel seat width and treadline width as well as the heel to ball measurement.

I don't know any shoemaker that takes, much less gives any attention to the difference between the low instep and the high instep. Yet it is an old and venerable approach. I don't know any shoemaker that takes or uses the short heel or the long heel. There may be some...I don't know everybody.

That said, I understand why they don't use those measurement--the laces--but I disagree.

I have never cut the shoe apart. My feeling is that if I am true to the footprint and the the measurements I don't need to. And I have a very, very good reputation for fit. One reason is that I, like many other makers, do make a prototype shoe. With it, I can see and feel, without cutting , what the foot is doing inside the "fitter's model."

Do I hold other methods in disdain? I do not. Everyone who does this has their own approach. Most work...at least to some extent, esp. in their hands. I have learned a lot over the years by talking to and respecting those other approaches. Sometimes I cannot see the logic. Sometimes I cannot see how to make those technique work for me. But I always come away with things to think about.

If truth be told, fitting is the key and the magic. Everything else is just determination, commitment-to-a-higher-than-you-can-possibly-reach standard, and muscle memory. Without fit, it's all for nothing.

And yet...and yet...I wish I knew more about the foot and how to model it.

Life isn't long enough, I fear.

edited for punctuation and clarity

Aha.  This is why the two george boots you've made for me, while lace-ups, fit so well that I can run in them when the laces are untied.

post #971 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Bogus!!

You show me one shoemaker...who takes (and uses) both a low instep and a high instep. Show me one shoemaker that uses a short heel or a long heel measurement in either making a last or creating the patterns.

I suspect you're blowing smoke again. All those factories you've visited that inform your point of view--they don't take measurements of the foot and they don't modify or carve a last.

Point of fact, I'd welcome input from @ntempleman, or @j-mac, or @shoefan or any other bespoke maker (or even manufacturer) who sees this to tell me they use the same set (or even subset) of measurements..to include both HI, LI, as well as LH and / or SH. I'd welcome someone to talk to who shares my approach. The life of the iconclast is a lonely one.

That said, I would note that I never said there aren't any other shoemakers who measure the way I do, I said "I don't know any shoemaker that takes, much less gives any attention to...."

Since you do, it's time to put your money where your mouth is, time to tell us who these other makers are. Either that, or be revealed (once again) as clueless.

 

We get it.  You are a gifted fitter and shoemaker whom takes the most comprehensive measurements compare to your peers, except you refuse to believe 3D scanning/imaging as higher measurement resolutions is not useful!

 

My money is spent on my shoes. Unfortunately, according to your logic, my experiences being measured/fitted don't count because I am not a shoemaker. And since you've always claimed I learn from the Internet, you are more than welcomed to search yourself; its out there if you make some effort; you are no iconoclast.

 

Or, you too can visit, spend money, experience, and learn about shoemaking from a customers perspective instead of harping here your decades of shoemaking experience and shoe fitting genius. 

 

p.s., manufacturers modify lasts before they finalize it.  I guess you do too since you don't carve lasts.

post #972 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan'l View Post

I just discovered this thread, so bare with me, gentlemen. I am slowly reading through the old posts to learn what I can and it is a lot to process. I realize that my knowledge about shoemaking is very, very basic!

Anyways, I am cross-posting my question from the "MTO/Bespoke Shoe Plans" thread:

I am having bespoke shoes made and have a fitting for the test pair next month. Could some of the more experienced members offer some tips? I know what to look for when having fittings for suits, shirts, etc., but am still a virgin with regards to bespoke footwear!

Is there a post or thread that addresses my questions? I did come across a very old thread that mentioned that bespoke shoes "feel" and "fit" different to RTW shoes, but am not sure how this knowledge will help me at the first fitting. The cordwainer, though, did tell me that when he makes my shoes, they will feel snug through the instep but there will be adequate room in the toebox. Anything else for me to keep in mind?

 

Fit is very personal, so communicate what you feel to your shoemaker is essential. Otherwise fitting for bespoke shoes is similar to fitting w/ RTW shoes.  Walk around in the trial/fitting shoes for at least 10 minutes so the leather gets warmed and softened.

 

A few things I personally check:

 

1. Top lines: try to feel if the top line is biting into your ankles or heels.

2. Toe box length: bend your toes all the way, similar to sprinters position, to check if there's enough toe spaces; front of your toes should not be pressed/pressured against the front of the shoe toe box.

3. Arch: try to feel if theres any hollow space underneath the arch; there shouldn't be any.  At at the same time your arch should not be pressured/pushed up by the arch support.

4. Lacing: tighten them as much as possible.  There should be a lacing gap when new.

 

Listen to your shoemaker but be very insistent with your demands; you will be the one wearing the shoes going forward.  Shoes do soften up and stretch after broken in, but blisters will hurt damn bad.

post #973 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan'l View Post

I just discovered this thread, so bare with me, gentlemen. I am slowly reading through the old posts to learn what I can and it is a lot to process. I realize that my knowledge about shoemaking is very, very basic!

Anyways, I am cross-posting my question from the "MTO/Bespoke Shoe Plans" thread:

I am having bespoke shoes made and have a fitting for the test pair next month. Could some of the more experienced members offer some tips? I know what to look for when having fittings for suits, shirts, etc., but am still a virgin with regards to bespoke footwear!

Is there a post or thread that addresses my questions? I did come across a very old thread that mentioned that bespoke shoes "feel" and "fit" different to RTW shoes, but am not sure how this knowledge will help me at the first fitting. The cordwainer, though, did tell me that when he makes my shoes, they will feel snug through the instep but there will be adequate room in the toebox. Anything else for me to keep in mind?

I don't think you will have to worry about the room in the toe. Any competent maker will have taken that into account. But by all means mention any hot spots or pain. If you're going to experience trouble you'll probably notice it right away. In the final shoe the leather will open up some and accommodate your foot. The point is that first impressions...the first few minutes...are the best indicator of whether the fit is good or not.

The shoe should fit like a glove...it is, after all, something very similar--a "glove" for the foot. Yes, there will be some stiffness and rigidity that is not present with gloves but all the more reason for a snug fit. Heel stiffeners and so forth become more problematic when the shoe doesn't fit than when it does.

And snug is the word...not tight...snug. Snug without constriction. But also without excess anywhere except in front of the toes. If you can chase leather ahead of your thumb when swiping it across the top of the vamp, for instance, the shoe is too big. If you can feel the edge of the insole when you pass a finger down either side of the foot, the insole itself is too wide.

Facings will invariably pull together some beyond what they look like when new but lacing the shoe loose will not make things better. Snug. I like to see the facings on an oxford be no more than half an inch apart at the top when laced snug. If they are much closer together than that, depending on the leather and how the facings are handled during making, they may eventually close up entirely and still end up being loose over your instep. This affects not only the fit over the instep but the way the foot is held back into the heel pocket and how it is positioned vis the joint.

The top edge of the shoe should lie close and snug against the side of your foot and at the back of the heel. But here is where you should be particularly alert and mindful. The malleoli (ankle bones) on a foot are at different heights on the medial side of the foot than on the lateral side. The lateral malleolus is lower than the medial. And sometimes, even with the maker's best intent, may be sensitive enough that the topline of the shoe can cause some discomfort.

As I said--"like a glove." Bear that in mind and it shouldn't be a big deal.

These are all things you can check and should be aware of...whether the shoe is bespoke or RTW. But there is a lot more to fitting than this and at some point you have to heed the shoemaker and trust him or walk out the door. Because if you aren't at least willing to trust him, you shouldn't have walked in.

In my professional opinion....

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 3/19/16 at 9:45pm
post #974 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

Aha.  This is why the two george boots you've made for me, while lace-ups, fit so well that I can run in them when the laces are untied.

cheers.gif

Just so.

What good does excess..anywhere...do? What good does an insole that is wider than the footprint do? What good is it if the foot is not held firmly into the back of the shoe?

Ideally, laces should secure a fit, not create it.

And thank you.
post #975 of 1709

Thank you.  I'm the one who gets to enjoy them and will continue to do so the next 30+ years.

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