Guide to shoe lasts / where to buy narrow fitted shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Poincare, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Poincare

    Poincare Active Member

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    Sep 8, 2010

    I'm interested to know more about different shoe lasts. I've seen shoes referred to "on the 360 last" for example, and can only guess that this pertains to the shape of the shoe.

    Is there any resource which has a list of all the different lasts? Or are lasts not standardised between manufacturers?

    My feet are quite narrow and I need to get some new brogues. I'm thinking Crockett & Jones and will pop in tomorrow and try some on but i'd like to know what I'm looking for.

    I don't like pointy shoes. As I'm size 11 they make my feet look ridiculous.

    My budget is around £400. I'm not sure i'll be able to find what I want for that much.

    Many thanks,


  2. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Aug 12, 2011
    From my experience,

    C&J 348/358 is narrow.
    Vass U is narrow in width.
    JL 7000/8000 are moderately narrow.
    G&G lasts are all relatively narrower and lower instep girth than JL 7000/8000.

    For comparison, Tricker's Country shoes are as wide as G&G in F width, C&J 337 last are wider than JL 7000/8000.

    I have not tried Meermin yet but their Vil last looks very narrow as well.

    Don't think there's any good resources online that compares the measurements of different lasts. There's size advisor, but its not too useful.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012

  3. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

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    Jan 18, 2010

    Absolutely not the slightest standardisation between manufactures. Last shapes, last numbers, last names and fit are totally proprietary. Meaning that you will need to try any of them on. For instance one company's narrow width 7 maybe another's 6.5 wide etc. Even lasts marked identically may actually have different ball to heel and girth measurements.

  4. Big A

    Big A Senior member

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    Jan 24, 2008
    At your house, when you're not there
    The following are also relatively narrow: EG 888, and DC Lewis 101 last

  5. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    Aug 16, 2012
    Every maker has their own lasts, sometimes many of them from the same line. Until you know one that fits you well, guessing can be a nuisance. I even have two pairs in different sizes on the same last (oxford versus derby) because they are just made differently. But generally, if an oxford on a particular last fits you well, then you can go back to it time and again for any shoe you want with a reasonable degree of confidence.

    Anyway, it seems you don't have one in mind yet. Regarding the suggestions above, EG etc. is probably out of your price range (mine too!) unless you find an eBay bargain or visit an outlet. But just in case, then I found the standard "E" fitting narrow from them too, on the 888 and one other I can't remember.

    But, from my own more modest experience:

    Church's traditional 73 last is pretty slender, and there are still some available.

    Cheaney's lasts are quite sleek and narrow too in standard form: the 2003, and I think it's the 11028.

    All of those are available for well under £400 if you shop around, and from my personal experience (in my case needing a wide fitting in either), Cheaney make fantastic quality shoes for around the £250 mark, including VAT. Check out Herring, who stock both of the above among others, including several Cheaney-made models in their own name, that I can personally attest are excellent.

    More to the point, if you email a question or ask it on their Facebook page, they are very knowledgeable about the brands they stock, and bend over backwards to help find you something suitable. I've bought several pairs of shoe through them, and go back because the website is easy to search by size, and I know their service and support will be there if I have a question.

    N.B. At the risk of sounding condescending if you already know this: different makers use different letters to designate their width fittings: in the UK, "F" normally means standard, and "E" would be narrow. This is true of Church, Cheaney, Barker, Loake, Alfred Sargent, and many others. But some, especially the higher-priced brands like John Lobb, Edward Green,Gaziano and Girling, and also Crockett and Jones, use "E" as their standard, so for them "F" is wide (or EE for John Lobb). Tricker's use numbers, just to be individual. Americans have a different system altogether, with "D" usually the standard. So check with each maker what their "narrow" fit is, if they have one - it's easy to get muddled up, and I have bought the wrong one at least once.

    Which reminds me: maybe buy American? I guess it's a matter of market scale, but Allen Edmonds for one, and possibly others, sell shoes in a huge range of sizes, from extra extra narrow up to extra extra wide. For what it's worth, I find their standard width generous across the toes, but shallow over the instep. Anyway, check them out as they're mostly within budget (although stupid shipping costs don't help), and they also have a printable size guide that I've found to be accurate. Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

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