A last is a three-dimensional model of a foot which allows for a shoe to be shaped around it. Lasts are used when designing or constructing a shoe and come in a variety of styles, referred to by their number.
Lasting is a complex and difficult operation. The closed uppers are mulled in a dedicated room for several days absorbing moisture, allowing the leather to be stretched to conform to the shape of the last without splitting or cracking. Heat, moisture, force and expert skill are used in this operation. Having first temporarily attached the insole to the last with small nails, the closed upper is then placed over the top of the last, drafted into position, stretched tight and secured to the woven rib on the insole with small nails and staples, holding the closed upper and insole in place until the welt is attached.
Our shoemakers stretch the closed uppers on individual lasts for all our designs. It’s a delicate operation that requires a brilliant eye, heat, moisture and the occasional touch of force.