Originally Posted by dan'l
Perhaps I did not explain very well, but I was trying to illustrate in my post that there has to be some discussion between the shoemaker and client to gauge the fit of the test shoes, since the shoemaker doesn't have X-ray vision to see how the foot fits inside the shoe.
Of course your comment "should fit like a glove" is very helpful, but I wonder if the shoemaker himself, since he's not wearing the shoes, could infer the fit by other factors (i.e. feeling the foot through the shoe), similar to how a tailor can judge a garment by how it hangs on the client.
I recall reading a comment by Nick Templeman of the sound a foot makes when stepping into a well-fitting shoe and found that very interesting.
Well, one of the things I do is I feel along the bottom of the foot (when it is in the shoe). I want to know where the insole is relative to where the weight-bearing plantar (bottom) surface of the foot is. If I can feel the insole sticking out from under the edge of the foot, the insole is too wide.
At the very same time, I feel for the location of the medial ball joint.
I also run my fingers in a swiping, or even pinching, motion over the top of the forepart of the shoe, esp. over the joint area. If I can "chase" leather ahead of my fingers...esp. rolls of leather...the shoe doesn't fit.
And I look at the way the shoe fits along the topline--gaps or looseness generally indicate a misfit.
A lot of this should be pretty obvious and if I have been true to the footprint and the measurements and respected the foot,
these kinds of inspections, regardless of how necessary, will be pretty perfunctory simply because they'll already be correct. Or should be.
I OW, I really shouldn't need x-ray vision because I saw and I measured the foot--it's the foot I am working from. And most importantly, I made the last and the shoe to embody and encapsulate the foot.
If the shoe is RTW, well then, yes, it would be nice to have some way to see the foot inside the shoe.
Many bespoke makers make a fitter's model as if it were a fully realized shoe. I admire them. But I don't do that. I don't include a toe stiffener in the fitter's model, for instance, simply because I can then feel where the toe(s) is/are inside the shoe. See and feel how much clearance is around and beyond the toes.
The way a shoemaker uses his hands and the lessons he learns through experience--the information transmitted through the fingers--confer almost another sense. Feel becomes almost as sensitive and useful as sight...sometimes, I would argue, even moreso.
Shoemaking evolved and reached its greatest heights well before fluoroscopes or x-rays became a factor. I do not doubt that they can be useful for those who do not have, or wish to invest, the time to develop the skills and the sensitivity that, perhaps, was once more commonplace. But I'm not entirely sure they add all that much to the process.
On the other hand, more information=more knowledge...and "knowledge is power." Always good.