One of the questions we commonly get asked by our customers is 'What is a Last shape?'
A Last is a 3D model of a foot and is generally used to stretch and shape the shoe during the construction process.
Lasts can vary through a extremely large array of shapes depending on the brand/shoemakers. They are constructed to mimic the different shapes of feet depending on arch depth/height (high arched feet = curved last; low arched feet = straight last)
Every shoemaker constructs their own lasts in order to construct their shoes and so due to the fact that shoemakers cannot just purchase a last, there will be variation between every company/brand. As every last that is constructed, represents a a different shape of foot, this will create a variation on on how shoes in the same size from the same brand will fit your foot. This means that even though the pair of Barker Rebus (Last 446) you bought in an 8F (for example) fits perfectly, does not mean that an 8F Barker Dartford (Last 339), infact you will more than likely find that if one of these shoes suits your foot and is comfortable, the other will more than likely hurt your foot or be too big/small as it will be the wrong shape.
Below is an example of some of the Last shapes Barkers Shoes have used previously and still use in their shoes
As you can see from the above image there are a range of differently shaped toe cap shapes which will accommodate different width fittings and foot shapes. Lasts also affect the depth of a shoe as well as the width depending on the height of the arch of the foot that the last was modelled on. This is why at Robinson's Shoes, we take the time to make sure you get the correct fit for your foot. We offer this service free of charge and it can be done over email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We pride ourselves in our extensive knowledge of shoemaking and how to fit a shoe correctly to a persons foot. On average after a correct fitting, our customers will drop approximately 1.5 sizes and will reap the benefits of a properly fitted shoe.