Sole Welting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    First, I don't know what difference it makes--the discussion is about techniques...specifically inseaming techniques...and has been since almost the beginning. Talking about lasts is arguably off topic.

    And second, if BS is talking about "standard lasts" then why illustrate his point with a custom last? There's a mixed and a confused...and confusing...message being presented.
     
  2. Claus

    Claus Senior member

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    Well, yes, to some degree.

    In my opinion, there are at least three levels in the discussion:

    1. Whether HW is objectively better than GYW.
    2. Whether the difference in objective quality actually matters.
    3. What can be done by those to whom it matters.

    I haven't read the whole threat, but it seems noone disagrees with your judgment concerning (1).

    The example concerning fitting lasts was meant to illustrate the problems in (2) and (3), I think.
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't mean to be contrary here...(I'm waiting on a student to finish a procedure...) but I don't see how fitting lasts has anything to do with 1, 2 or 3.

    Fitting lasts has to do with fitting lasts, IMO.

    And I tried to address some of those issues in my post #722.

    You (generic "you") can change the subject and assert that if you had a choice between a good fitting RTW and a poor fitting bespoke you'd do thus and such. But you can make the same argument about a good fitting RTW and a poor RTW. Or a good fitting bespoke and a poor fitting bespoke. Or even a good fitting RTW and a cardboard box. And the dichotomy and the outcomes / choices would invariably be the same.

    There's really no connection. And as I mentioned, you shouldn't have to make that choice if you simply apply yourself to even the smallest degree.

    We can talk about fitting feet and fitting lasts if people want...I'm up for it. But IMO, it's another topic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  4. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Every last, whether bespoke or ready-to-wear has a certain set of measurements. Those measurements are absolute, unlike the system that correlates them to a certain size/width.

    Here is a C&J sample last showing the measurements. The measurements of this last in other sizes can be easily established as it is done by computer these days there is an exact formula how much the measurement increases or decreases with each different size.

    [​IMG]

    If you know your measurements, you can have a meaningful discussion. If J Ingevaldsson had said to Meccariello “My left instep measures 6 mm more than my right one”, the shoemaker could have adjusted the stock last, or he could have refused to make any adjustments. Either way, the issue would have been solved; JI could have proceeded with the order or cancelled it.

    [​IMG]

    If I wanted to order some MTO shoes (stock lasts) from either Meccariello or Bestetti, I could give them precise information about my needs, not something vaguely “High instep or narrow heel”, they equally could give me precise information what they can or cannot offer and I could decide if there is some common ground (measurement-wise) or if the project ought not go ahead. Yes, a stock last cannot give me the fitting of a fine bespoke last, but it certainly can be better than the two “bespoke” lasts that were made for me and which do not fit at all. Yes, I should have had the courage of my conviction and walked out during the fitting: “That will never work, let’s call it a day, keep the deposit.” I have had, all in all, over the last eight years four lasts made by four different people and two of them were an unmitigated disaster.

    My posting was about not to fetishize construction for constructions sake (which some members here seem to do). What good is a hand-welted shoe if he doesn’t fit or the shoe comes from the ‘Darling Clementine School of Shoe Design’: “Herring boxes without topses”?


    Actually, I have been given from EG exact last measurements to compare and they were also kind enough to cart lasts from Northampton down to London, for me to ‘compare and contrast’. In these days, manufacturers might well have those measurements stored on a computer and wouldn't need a tape measure any more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Any oxford that leaves a one inch gap between the facings is either built on a last that doesn't fit or for an individual that doesn't know what fit is...or what an oxford should fit like but, in his hubris, insists he knows best.

    Disappointment is never far behind.

    So you know your measurements...so what!? Is that for your foot or for a last that you like? If you send an instep measurement to a shoemaker, does he use it "as is" and last the shoe with the facings open? Or does he take a bit off the last and draft the shoe facings closed? How much is that "bit"? 10cm? 12cm? 20cm? Less?

    If you go to another shoemaker how much will he take off? And where exactly on the last will he take it off?

    The instep of the foot runs from a rough two inches behind the joint / treadline to about an inch in the front of the ankle. And a corresponding area on the last. Where is the front of the ankle on the last?

    So you know your instep measurement. Where, exactly, was it taken on the foot? 3 inches from the joint? Sabbage's fifth section or sixth? The middle cuniform? Or some, somewhere-over-the-rainbow, spot in-between?

    How does the lastmaker take or find the instep on the last? Are they the same spot? Depending on the guy taking the measurements off your foot, the shoemaker that translates the measurement to a last, and whether the lastmaker understands feet and the measuring of feet...and not just static objects made of wood....they stand a fair chance of not corresponding.

    And does the shoemaker compensate for the loft and thickness of a sock? Does he take into account the firmness or sponginess of the foot? How about blood pooling?

    And if the tread and heel seat width are not addressed how will that affect the final closure of the facings? How will it affect fit and appearance after the shoe has been worn a bit?

    Are we talking about fit here or are we talking about settling for good enough?

    Any guesses? Informed or not.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  6. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    DW-

    Can you speak about your experience of using computerized lasts versus human-only made lasts? Is one "healthier" than another?

    I have no experience whatsoever here, but my first impression would be that human, human made wooden lasts can accommodate certain idiosyncrasies of different feet better, but that a computerized last can more precisely measure a circumference as well as more accurately map the relative position and scale of human feet better.

    Apologies for straying from the topic of welting, but while we're speaking on lasting, I figure it might be a good time to ask. Thanks for your input.
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I'm not up on the very latest technology but I know and call friend Bill Tippit who had Global Foowear Sales(?)--an independent lastmaking company on the cutting edge...until he got fed up and went to work for Nike.

    I am not certain of this... but I don't think many models of lasts are created on the computer. All my models are digitalized. I have 10 (?) models at different heel heights...some boot, some shoe. But none were created on computer. A couple of them were created in the West End in the 1930's...one has a medially up-twisted heel, another old West End last had no featherline around the heelseat. Some were created by me and some were created by a very famous (in the US) modelmaker by the name of E.J. McDaniels (IIRC).

    I suppose, theoretically, if you took a scan of what you considered was an "ideal" 9C foot you could digitally model it into a last that you could then digitally grade and send to a computer controlled lathe. But I've never seen this done nor seen lasts that were supposed to have been created that way.

    One of the issues for me is that when I was coming up, all the great modelmakers --E.J., Wilson Schroeder (not sure of spelling), and another fellow whose name escapes me entirely--were of the opinion that the best lasts all had inside cones. The inside cone being closer in shape to the foot. (same rationale for the absence of a featherline at the heelseat)

    I don't know if the issue has ever been addressed or the problem solved, but at that time the consensus was that no lasting machine could handle a last with an inside cone. Simply because the inside cone last is '"skewed," so to speak, and the lasting machines take all "drafts" (pulls)...on both sides of the last...simultaneously and with the length of same stroke. In point of fact, most contemporary lasts have straight cones.

    That more or less illustrates why some old lasts are revered among bespoke shoemakers and most modern lasts viewed with some reservation, at least--most modern lasts / models are created to accommodate the limitations of machines rather than embodying an honest respect for an actual foot.

    Someone like Anthony Delos or Koji Suzuki... as well as the fellow in the basement of Lobbs...who carve lasts by hand and have both the eye and the skill as well as an almost mystical understanding of the foot can certainly address anomalies of the foot better than any RTW last can ever do, esp. if they owe their existence to models designed for the factory. People like Delos, et al, are the ones who created the classic bespoke models in the first place, after all.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  8. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Informative and spot on. Fetishizing construction is a particularly apt turn of phrase.
     
  9. Claus

    Claus Senior member

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    You're right. Looks like I've made an argument from ignorance. I've actually never tested whether any company would provide last measurements. I merely presumed it.

    Thanks for pointing it out. :slayer:
     
  10. arahat

    arahat Senior member

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    Perhaps a fresh injection into the old-world skill of last-making will be marked by the gradual popularisation of 3D printing.

    A personalised/bespoke last then would be less rare since moderately priced scanners capable of complex 3-D spatial readings would probably come to fore as well.



    Any thoughts on the matter DWFII?
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well, that's already happening for individualized lasts. Which are not the same as a standard last or a model or even a run of lasts, mind you.

    A scanner maps the foot in detail and creates a digital file. That, in turn, can be sent to a computer driven lathe. Several of my acquaintances --Alan Zerobnick and Bill Tippit have been interested in this technology for decades. I think Alan may have even created the first software to do this. And Tippit was instrumental in creating the Lightbeam (?) scanner technology.

    But again, how does a scanner or even a very sophisticated computer program compensate for how much bourbon the customer had to drink last night and the hours spent in a hot car on the road this morning eating very salty fast food and the ambient temperature at the end of all that? The scanner can't feel the foot. Can't flex it this way and that to gauge the rigidity of the foot or the tightness of the ligaments. Doesn't see pronation or supination. The scanner just sees a static object. I doesn't know if a woman, for instance, is holding water or if that "puffiness" is the way the foot always is in it's natural state.

    It can't compensate for the loft of the yarn used to knit the sock.

    The foot can feel one-sixteenth of an inch difference in circumference--doesn't necessarily equate to discomfort but the foot is that sensitive..

    One of the demonstrations I give to my students is to take a sheet of tissue paper (toilet paper will work) and cut a strip about the width of a measuring tape. I wrap the tissue strip around the foot and tear it at the exact circumference. Then I roll the strip as tightly as I can lengthwise so that I end up with a dense little rod of tissue paper...usually about an eight of an inch in diameter. That's how much substance would be added to the circumference if the customer were wearing a sock no thicker than tissue paper.

    It's not a perfect analogy...I'm sure someone could shoot holes in it quickly. But it does illustrate that socks can make a big difference to fit. And how is a scanner going to take that into consideration...or take into consideration the amount that the yarn can and will compress esp. with your weight on the foot?

    Do you want a shoe that fits one nanometer off the surface of your socks?

    FWIW, that's my take.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Why don't you do that? Really. Test it out. Don't ask a company that has made you a half dozen pairs of shoes already, don't promise an order, just ask as politely as you can. You may be disappointed, esp. if you're not "connected" and only 18 miles from the factory.
     
  13. arahat

    arahat Senior member

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    Cheers DW, always good to hear the views of an expert.
     
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Glad to be of service...

    :fistbump:
     
  15. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    3D printing has been around for decades... Please don jump on the hype...

    And modern shoe designs are already done using 3D CAD files for mass production.

    With the limited demand but high capex, personalized 3D scanned and printed last is an poor substitute of bespoke when bespoke pricing at the low end is cheaper than high end RTW.

    Besides, it does take a fitting or two to iron down a bespoke last. Even then, it would need further modifications for different shoe styles...
     

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