Starting my first pair of lasted shoes

My foot is 8¼” long by 4″ wide.  For a 5’3″ tall woman weighing ~200 lbs, that’s not much foot and the relation of length to width makes it an EEEEEE.  Yup, that was six Es.  My sister’s foot is the same, though she’s quite a bit finer boned than I am and probably weighs just a bit less.  She has mom’s bone structure, I have dad’s.  Her face is oval, mine is square.  She has long oval fingernails and I have short square fingernails.  Why our feet are the same size . . . <shrug> . . . it’s genetics.

Because there is no company on this earth that I am aware of that makes shoes that are designed to fit my feet, I’ve taken to making my own footwear, for better or worse.  And because, as I’m sure you’re aware if you’ve spent any time on this site at all, I do things my own way, the methods and steps I used to create my first pair of shoes differ from those who seriously embrace classic cordwaining.   I’m sure by now I’ve got the folks on the cordwaining forum mentally throwing stones at me.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least gently stir the pot a little.

So here we go, my first pair of lasted shoes.

My last

Because I cannot purchase a last that will produce a shoe that will fit my feet, I have to start with a last.  I made boxes to use as containers for molding my feet.  I mixed alginate, poured it in the boxes and stepped in.  For small feet like mine I used a total of three 1lb bags of alginate which I got from my wonderful dentist.

Once the alginate set I wiggled my feet free, mixed plaster of paris and filled the molds to the brim.

Once the plaster of paris had set I tore the alginate apart to release the plaster feet therein.

I built up the plaster foot form with more plaster to give myself a toe box shape.  As you can see I didn’t add enough to the length and ended up having to add more length after I got the resin last.  I also shaped and filled in rough spots.

After the plaster was dry I cleaned up the plaster feet and sent them to my son for casting in a two part resin.  The result is what you see.  The screws allow the last to be taken apart for easy removal from the shoe.

Leather molded to the bottom of the last

To make sure the last would give me the right shape for my foot I molded a piece of leather to the bottom.  When I stepped into this form with my sock-clad foot, I could tell I was on the right track.

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