In search of the ideal shoe last

Dear reader,

Believe it or not, there is a perfect shape for shoes.

Maybe not on this earth.

Maybe not only one perfect shoe last.

But it’s like with cars and watches : there is a certain shape and design that is hard to surpass.

It might not be timeless.

But it’s balanced, stimulating to look at… for years on end.

Think Lamborghini:

Think Porsche 911:

Rolex Submariner:

And in terms of shoes, that could be a pair of Loake:

Loake Warwick/Warminster. This style of shoe is called austerity brogue.

The perfect last should be neither too pointy… otherwise it will soon be considered over the top and go out of fashion. Plus, it won’t suit people with long feet.

It shouldn’t be too round either. Otherwise, it will look blunt, old-fashioned and too German… Plus, it will look funny on people with small feet

You can also look at it this way: The perfect last will differ depending on where you live. In France and in Italy, the perfect last will be more pointy. In Great Britain, in Mitteleuropa, and in the USA, the perfect last will point more rounded.

If we could find a middle ground for the perfect last, it should fit this bill:

  • Almond-shaped toe
  • A curvy plate
The curvy plate gives it a bit of flair
  • A bold drop from the instep to the toe — this adds even more sophistication.
Professionals call this last definition.

Why you should let shoes speak to you (seriously!)

Shoe lasts should speak to you. At least they speak to us (and we can’t be alone).

Shoes remind us of animals. It’s the same with cars. Cars are designed to look like animals with eyes, a gaping mouth, beautiful curves.

Shoes and cars have this in common. The more streamlined they are, the more curvy they are, in a sophisticated way, the better. Like a lion or jaguar, the best shoes and cars feature strength and elegance.

The most amazing thing is that it takes less than a second to catch what a shoe (or car) says to you — even to the untrained eye.

Let us show you what we mean:

This pair of classic Church’s tells me:

I’ve been around. I’ll be around for years. You can count on me. Sure, I’m bulky, I will your feet look tiny, but I’m comfortable, rock-solid and long lasting. I don’t have to try hard. People will buy me anyway, ‘cuz I’m a pair of Chuuuurch’s. See you around mate!

Now, look at this pair of John Lobb:

When we look at this pair of John Lobb, it says:

I’m a pair of Lobb, so I ought to be sophisticated, unique and recognizable to the expert eye. But in search of this uniqueness, I’ve ended up looking a bit bland. I’m not curvy enough on the sides. I don’t incorporate much aggressiveness. Frankly, I don’t think I’m filling expectations… I should be a ‘power shoe’. And I’m not. Sorry…

Try it yourself, I’m sure shoes speak to you already.

Once, you be listening to shoes, you’ll be able to sort through your shoe closet and keep those pairs which send the right message.

Next time, you’ll be shopping for shoes, you’ll buy the shoes that also send the right message.



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Jamie Larson