How to Grade a Shoe Pattern

Shoe pattern Grade How to Grade a Shoe Pattern

In the shoe manufacturing process, the sample size pattern is always confirmed first, then the pattern master will make the pattern pieces for all the remaining shoe sizes. This process of adjusting the pattern for each shoe size is called “grading” the pattern. A complete, graded, production pattern for a typical sport shoe will require over 200 individual pattern parts and each pattern part will require its own cutting die.

Shoe patterns are graded according to the last sizes. While each shoe last will have its own specific contours and unique outline shape, the size grading increments are standardized. For men’s shoes, the length of the last changes 4mm per USA half size and 4mm per European size (full sizes only). The US standard size 9 last is 276mm long, and the size 9.5 is 280mm long.

Last sizes gradedThe shoe lasts’ other critical dimensions also change per size, but at  different rates. For example, the ball girth is graded at 3mm per size, and the ball width (measured across the bottom of the last) measures 66% of the total ball girth. For men’s size 9, the ball girth is 234mm and the ball width is 156mm.  Also, while the shoe length increases 4mm per half size the collar height and back height increase only 1mm per size.

Graded-pattern-parts-shoesThe shape of each shoe component will change per size depending on its location. The tongue length will increase quickly according to the last length, while the width grades slowly according to the girth.

The heel mustache’s width will increase more than its height as the sizes get bigger. The back counter parts also increase quickly in width according to the last length while the height grade is small.

Shoe pattern gradeNot all the features of a shoe pattern are graded. For example, the pattern overlaps and lasting margins are not graded.

Pattern grading in a modern shoe factory is done by a computer. The middle size, or sample pattern, is digitized by the pattern assistant, then the computer takes over grading the pattern according to the last dimensions already stored in the program. In the old days, a pantograph machine was used to trace the pattern. The geometry required for the arms to adjust according to the length and width of the pattern parts was done by hard.

Computer Pattern GradeOnce the pattern is graded, the pattern master will check it by hand, then instruct the sample room to make the trial patterns. The trial patterns are checked for visual proportions and outsole fitting. Once the patterns are approved, the cutting dies will be made.

The Sneaker Factory has made available the entire pattern size run for the Arris classic trainer (men’s size 7 to 13). The download of the entire size run is available in PDF and live vector Adobe Illustrator .Ai formats.

Learn more about making shoes:

Footwear design book Free PFD Shoe Design Book DownloadDo you want to learn how big brands make shoes?  Now you can!  How Shoes are Made will show you how modern shoes come to life! More than just a tour through a sneaker factory and more than your average shoe making book!  From drawing shoe designs to sample development and footwear manufacturing, you will learn how it is all done. Written by veteran shoemaking pros, How Shoes are Made will give you a look inside the REAL world of shoe design, development, and mass production. 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings. 26 chapters explaining shoe design, footwear pattern making, sample development, footwear materials selection, upper stitching, outsole and tooling design, shoe lasts, shoe costing, quality inspections, starting you own shoe brand, and much more!  A must read for young shoe designers, sneaker heads, or any footwear fanatic! Over 2500 copies sold! Read in 60 Countries! See Preview Video On YouTube

Download Now! 

Print Edition Now Available!  

Table of Contents:

The Design Process, Shoe Development, Shoe Patterns, Shoe Specifications, Outsole Tooling, Development Process, Pre-Production, Material Preparation, Stitching Operations, Rubber Pressing, EVA Forming, The Assembly Line, The Shoe Last, Footwear Costing, Importing Shoes, Shoe Logo Design, Leather for Shoes, Textiles for Shoes ,Synthetics for Shoes,  Foam for Shoes, Know Your Footbeds, Material Suppliers, Shoe Designers Tools, Jobs in the Shoe Trade ,Quality Control, Starting a Shoe Company, Life at a Shoe Factory, Shoe Making Dictionary

If you want to learn more, check out our new books.

Print Editions and Instant Downloads Available Now!

Shoemaking Books / Go to Shoemaking Tools

E-Book edition 220 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

E-Book edition 195 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

E-Book edition 170 pages. PC and Mac compatible PDF file. Download Now!

Print Edition, 250 Pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.

Print edition 330 color photos,  28 Chapters, 195 Pages order today!

Print Edition, 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings.

Shoe Designers

Two PFD E-books, paper pattern and Blue Print. Download Now!

Two softcover books, paper pattern and Blue Print. Free downloads included!

The triple download of all three Sneaker Factory publications.

Start-up your Own Shoe Company

E-Book edition 170 pages. Profit margin and Size run calculators. Download Now!

A must have for anyone serious about launching a new footwear company!

A must have for anyone serious about launching a new footwear company!

Shoemaking Tools

Entire pattern size run for the Arris classic trainer, Men’s US 7-13 (Euro 39-47)

Shoe last measuring step. Measures last heel lift from 1cm to 11.5 cm.

24 inch tape specifically designed for measuring shoe lasts.

A complete technical specification, drawings, blueprint, pattern and spec.

Great for checking leathers and synthetic materials. Features adjustable dial.

Beaked pincers with built in hammer face. For shoe lasting and sole nailing.

Ready to Print! Men's size 9 last. The .STL file can be scaled in X, Y and Z.

Try the first 3 chapters for Just $3 bucks! With discount code good of $5.00 off!

Great for DIY Shoemaking. This casual rubber outsole is durable, comfortable, and easy to work with.