Up until recently, I always focused my attention on design (i.e. pattern – wing tip, cap toe, color, details etc.) when deciding whether or not I liked a shoe, not ever really paying attention to the shape, even though it played a big part (if not the biggest) in my decision making process. But now, having made shoes and with my introduction into self-taught shoe design, I have come to appreciate shape on a whole new level. It’s funny how one could have never come to this realization until they started to actually play around with the design or construction aspects. I could have been a shoe enthusiast my entire life having not ever attempted to get into the construction side of things and I may have never come to know, that I truly like a shoe because of it’s shape, not because of it’s pattern, color, style etc.
You start to notice when you begin drawing on paper, that a shoe can turn out real ugly and disproportionate if the shape is not drawn perfectly. And it is truly difficult to do so. The slightest variation in pencil movement can be a deal breaker. And the same goes in the world of last making, which is essentially design in 3-D. Every little curve on the last is monumental when it comes to the form of the final product. And more importantly than getting a nice shape, is creating the correct proportions, because if the proportions are off, then the shoe will never look nice, no matter how elegant the curves are. This being said, I have been wanting to change the shape of my last for some time now because I am growing quite bored of the shape that it is, considering that I will have made 6 pairs on that same last. So when I do finally finish my 6th pair, hopefully in February, I will change the shape of my last before I continue on with my 7th pair. Ideally, I would love for it to look like the shoe at the top of the page but I am not sure if my last-shaving/adding skills are quite that good. We shall see!
Shoes Above: Anthony Delos
If you were like me and never really thought about how important a shoe’s shape is, then I am afraid that after reading this you might become a shape snob, just as I have. These days I won’t even give a shoe a second look if it’s shape is not specific to my standards. But I am happy that I am now like this because in the past I feel like I bought/acquired shoes based on their looks (you know what I mean) and now have shoes sitting in my closet that I wish I could tear the soles off of, take apart the upper and remake them!
Shoes Below: Gaziano & Girling