How Shoe Lasts are Made By Tsubo

Here is another great shoe making video from the Tsubo shoe company. This shows how shoe lasts are made.  They show in a nice step by step video what it takes to make a set of production shoe lasts.  You can see the care they take in this process.  It’s very important as these lasts will be the foundation of the finished shoes.

A machine to measure a hand shaped shoe last
A machine to measure a hand shaped last
A CAD model of the shoe last is made.
A CAD model of the shoe last is made.

Starting with a machine to measure a hand shaped last, they make a CAD file of the lasts.  This computer model of the last is then used to scale or grade the last.  Grade means to make each size of the shoe last. This is an important art as the last length and width do not scale equally.  For example a size 12 is not twice the size of a 6.

The shoe last has a template for the toe and heel
The shoe last has a template for the toe and heel
The shoe last has a template for the toe and heel
The patterns are computer cut

Here you can see they are cutting the pattern templates used to fine tune the shape of each production shoe last.  The templates are used to make sure the heel back curve and toe shape are correct.  The foot shaped template is called the bottom gauge.    You need this to confirm the length and width of the last.

The shoe last starts as an injection molded "blank"
The shoe last starts as an injection molded “blank”
The injection molded "blank" shoe last is then turned or cut down to the right shape
The injection molded “blank” is then turned or cut down to the right shape

This is really how shoe lasts are made. They shape the last they start with a injection molded blank roughly the right shape.  This blank saves the factory time and money as the shape the last.  The left over cuttings can also be recycled.   The lasts are quickly rough cut then finely finished using a second machine. This takes just a few minutes

Cuts are made for a hinged last Shoe last factory
Cuts are made for a hinged last
Pins for hinged shoe last
Pins for hinged shoe last

In this video they are making plastic hinged lasts,  the hinge allows the shoe last to be slid into and removed for the upper without over stretching or damaging the shoe material.

The worker uses the template to check the shoe last
The worker uses the template to check the last
The last technician is marking and measuring
The last technician is marking and measuring
A machine to measure a hand shaped last
A machine to measure the  shaped last

You can see here the last technician is making and measuring the last to insure the width is correct and the girth measurement around the last is correct.  Any mistake can change the fit and shape of the finished shoe. Here the worker is using the heel curve template to shape the shoe last. Each last is carefully buffed to make shoe it’s smooth and can’t damage a delicate leather lining.  This final sequence is measuring the shoe last to make sure it’s 100% perfect!

 

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