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Terminology of the Last – 2/4

The high heel last will have a different terminology due to the fact that we need to consider the height and angle of the heel. During technique designing, the heel seat which holds the heel of the shoe will be calculated to have the correct height and inclination of the last.

• Wedge Angle: This angle depends on the height of the heel. The higher the heel, the greater the ankle.
• Heel Curve / Back Curve: The heel curve is the back part of the last starting at the feather edge all the way up to the top plane.
• Toe Point: The front of the last at the tip is called the Toe Point.
• Center Axis: The center axis is the line dividing the last in two from the toe point to the heel curve.
• Tread Line: This line goes from one medial ball point to the lateral ball point below the last.
• Tread Point: This point is the crossroad between the center axis and the tread line.
• Breast line: this is the line where the heel starts and ends in the back feather edge.
• Shank area: This is the area between the tread line and the breast line.
• Heel Seat: This is the the back section of the last from the breast line to the back feather side.

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Terminology of the Last – 1/4

The terminology of the last is important because each specific part of the last has its specific function. If we pass a line from the toe area to the heel of the last in the middle, this line is called the Main Axis which in return divides the last in Medial (large toe) and Lateral side (small toe). Another imaginary line can be made in front and back of the BALL POINT. This ball is the largest part of the forepart of the last which is caused by the junction of the 5th metatarsal-phalange joint on small toe and 1st metatarsal-phalange joint on large toe. The area in front of this ball point is called the FORE PART and behind the BACK PART.

• CONE: is the area which starts from the Top Plate till the Vamp Point. Its width and length is measured inside the top plate.
• HINGE SPRING: This is a metal spring placed inside the last which allows it to bend, so facilitating the insertion or removal from the shoe.
• VENT V CUT: This is a V cut-out section of the last necessary for the last to bend.
• SIZE MARK: Each last is marked with size on the Top Plate which needs to be read from top during lasting.
• THIMBLE: A cylinder hole allowing a metal cylinder to be inserted to help the bending of the last.
• TOP PLATE: The top surface on top of the last in the heel area.
• TOE RECESSION: Toe area which is bending downwards
• FEATHER EDGE: The line formed by the union of the bottom ad side part of the last.
• SHANK: This area is between the forepart ad the heel seat.
• BOTTOM PLATE: A metal plate is sometimes placed on the bottom side of the last to avoid nails to penetrate the last during lasting.
• PLATE WINDOWS: Openings can be made on the metal plate to allow the attachment of nails onto a Tack Hole Plug.

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BASIC-Ankle boot vs Short boots vs Knee boots

The difference between different types of boots depends on the difference heights of the back upper side. When the back profile ends at the height more or less at the ankle bone, then we talk about an Ankle Boot. These Ankle Boots are in reality winter shoes with an upper covering the leg above the foot reaching the ankle. This height measurements are calculated not on the esthetic point of view but for it’s proper functionality. In a female ankle boot in size 37, it is usually 12cm while in men boot in size 42, it would be around 14cm. These sizes can be modified for esthetic reasons but the danger consist when lowering the boot leg height under the ankle bone, it could rub at this point and cause pain during walk. In order to facilitate the entrance of the foot, different systems can be used like zippers on the side or back part of the boot, we can also have elastics or even laces. One of the most important measurements of the ankle boot is the heel girth. The ankle boot can come in various styles like derby, oxford, laced boot or a classical Chelsea having elastics on the sides. Often to help fit these kind of boots having no zippers or laces but only side elastics, a back puller is positioned on the back top profile which is used for pulling the boot upwards.

Regarding the low boots also called low cut boots, which again depends on the height of the boot leg which is between the ankle boot and the boot will have the back profile always above the ankle going towards the knee. Because the leg will also have to fit, a system of laces or zips will have to be part of these boots. This means that in all the low boots the ankle bone will always be covered. This can vary from 16cm to 28cm depending on the style. As we already saw with the ankle boot, the heel girth in the low boot plays a very important factor in the good wearability of the boot. The heel girth is the measurement of the circumference between the heel and top profile which is at least 32cm in a 37 size shoe for women and at least 36cm in a 42 size shoe for men. A specific type of low boots would be called pullup boots which got inspired by the cowboy boots and biker boots. These have the characteristic of having no opening to help fit your foot so the heel girth must be higher by 1 or eve n1.5cm more than a more traditional one and so they should be relatively easy to wear. To additionally help the fit, there usually are two pullers on the side of each half pair to help pull up the boot. In order for the foot to easily slip in and out even after the foot tends to swell at the end of the day, the ankle girth is extremely important and so, instead of the traditional 12-12.5cm girth width, should be at least 1cm wider.

The boots also called knee boots, is characterized by the fact that it covers the leg right until the knee. Usually, the height in a shoe size 37 will be 38cm. An easy formula would be the shoe size + 1cm but this is only average since it will always depend on the creativity of the designer. In the boot we have apart from the heel girth, the ankle girth, the calf girth and finally the top bootleg girth. The designers can play with the width in these measurements but never the height position. The boot leg in the knee boots, tends to have an inclination called bootleg spring which should reflex the natural inclination of the leg. In case of riding boots and motorcycle boots, the inclination will be forward towards the toe and instead for normal walk it will be towards the heel.

Lastly we have boots with bootleg covering the knees and above called high cut boots. These kind of boots are usually made of more elastic materials which helps the wearability.

There are also many other type of designer boots like sandal boots or clog boots, which we can categorize as hybrid boots which is not the scope of this basis lesson.

FUNCTION: Initially the boots were made to keep the entire foot and leg warm in cold weather but then apart from its main function, today it has become a fashion footwear were which follows the traders of the designers imagination.
Italian Footwear Solution has always enshured comfort wearability in all its boots manufacturing ensuring all the correct measurements are respected following a standard fit. Our main goal weather we produce shoes or boots is always to give the wearer the most comfortable experience while designing fashion trends.
One shoe fits all approach does not work and we understand that the most important thing is to always start with a perfect last which has a comfortable girth measurements and then build our fashion designs around this base. You can rest assure that Italian footwear solution will always work with best technicians and utilize best materials to offer a beautiful esthetic shoe having in addition a perfect most comfortable fit.

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BASIC-Loafer vs Moccasin

The difference between a loafer and a moccasin can be quite confusing since they both look very similar but there are important differences which distinguishes them apart.

The best definition for a loafer is a type of shoe without a fastening, that a person’s foot slides into. It is a Casual shoe made of more pieces and a heel. Loafers can also be called open shoes or slip-ons.

The best definition for a moccasin is a formal shoe made of soft leather, a heelless shoe with the sole brought up the sides of the foot and over the toes. A moccasin will always have a flexible outsole making you feel like walking almost barefoot. Moccasins were footwear that was widely used by Native Americans especially hunters and traders.

The most basic and easy way to spot the difference between the two is that moccasins are the ones with laces and are heelless, while the loafers have a heel and are without laces or any fastenings. But don’t confuse the laces on a moccasin with the ones on a regular pair of shoes. These laces are primarily for decoration purposes and do nothing else apart from that.

Because of its characteristics, a moccasin is a shoe that is made of any soft leather like deerskin. It also has the characteristic of having the leather of the upper going from top then around the foot covering it completely.

The loafer is not a shoe for everyone since it does not have laces so we cannot adjust the fit but needs to be lucky enough that our foot girths will be in the average range of people since manufacturers will be using a average last for size grading. The loafer is made of a Vamp which covers the sides and front part of the shoe, an apron which is stitched directly to the vamp and goes upwards finishing in the tongue and often a saddle covering the instep top part of the apron. In certain occasions you will see decorative tassels placed on top of the saddle.

There are different types of loafers; when a whole piece of leather is used without splits it will be called a whole cut loafer. If the top part is stitched but still one piece it will be called a whole cut fake moccasin. It is called fake moccasin because the apron is not stitched onto the vamp to hold them together but only for decoration since it is a whole piece of leather. Sometimes to give a better allowance of fit, an elastic inserts can be added between the vamp and the tongue in the instep area. In a whole cut loafer if the material is elastic like a woven fabric or woven leather, we can reduce the the volume space of the shoe since the material will adapt more to the wearer.

The moccasin is the only shoe where the upper material wraps the foot by under and is stitched on the top part to the apron. Because of this type of construction, the moccasins are one of the most comfortable and flexible shoes on the market. We have two type of moccasins; In the pre-punched moccasin, each components is already punched so it makes it easy to stitch them together. The second type of moccasin is sown onto the last manually. This is a much more elaborated type of tubular moccasin since the technician will sow the vamp and apron together by hand using only his experience and craftmanship.

FUNCTION: The Loafer is an easy slip-on shoe and is best suited to be worn with jeans, shorts and any casual dress or suit. This does not mean you cannot wear also with a more formal look but usually it is a comfortable shoe with comfortable casual wear. The moccasin on the other hand is a more formal shoe to be worn together with a suit for office wear but also here we this type of shoe can be versatile with a more casual look. All depends on the style of the moccasin or loafer.

Italian Footwear Solution always discuss with our customers to understand perfectly their needs in order to give them a perfect match for the occasion in which the shoes will be worn. We have a wide range of moccasins and loafers to suit everyone’s needs. As we always say, the foot should not adapt to the shoe but it is the right shoe which needs to adapt to the correct function of the wearers foot. One shoe fits all approach does not work and we understand that the most important thing is to listen to our customers, then fulfill their requirements and working together with best Italian technicians and materials to offer a beautiful esthetic shoe having in addition a perfect most comfortable fit.

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BASIC – Shoe Categories – DERBY vs OXFORD

In order to categorize a shoe, we must look at the upper, the heel and its functionality.
The Derby shoe can be identified by the fact that it has the quarter (also called the back part), is stitched on the vamp(also called the front part), usually over, with stitching ending in the part of the shoe that contains the eyelets, known as “the facing” with a special lock stitch. The advantage of this type of construction is in the fact that the facing is free to open and close, just like flaps, giving the wearer a great deal of comfort in the instep area. It is understood that the vamp area of the Derby shoe can have various designs and shapes but they all have in common the comfort opening of the facing. The simple fact that the facing is open (also said open lacing), makes this type of shoe a more Casual shoe. We can have a Men’s Derby, a Women’s Derby and a Children’s Derby.
The Oxford shoe is the opposite of the Derby and so, it is the front part (the vamp) which is stitched on the quarters and so blocking the facings from opening freely at the bottom, making a V shape opening from top to bottom. The Oxford for this reason is a much more classic formal type of shoe and not as comfortable to wear as a Derby shoe. The Oxford also comes in various designs and shapes but all have in common the fact that they all open from the top center facing and locked at the bottom with a vamp stitching giving a narrow V shape opening. Like the Derby, the Oxford can be made for Men, Women and Children.
In both cases, Derby or Oxford, they come in various models and shapes. A general rule of the thumb is that the Derby is casual and the Oxford is formal but that does not stop the creativity of the designers to make a oxford shoe on a sneaker design giving it a very sporty look or make a classical derby. The limit to its styles depends only on the imagination of the designers.

FUNCTION: The Derby shoe is a very comfortable and functional shoe. It is usually a casual shoe but if needed can also become a formal shoe with slight modifications in the design. We strongly suggest using this kind of shoe for the corporate use where staff need to stand up or walk for long distance. It also is a perfect shoe for fight attendant due to the fact that during long flights and sitting for long period, the foot usually swells and so you can easily relieve the pressure by loosening the shoe laces. On the contrary, the Oxford shoe has a fixed opening and so by loosening the shoe lace will not make any difference since the opening is fixed by the vamp covering the quarter. In case a more formal shoe is required in the corporate use, we could suggest to make a formal derby shoe having the look of a classic shoe but the comfort of a derby shoe. It is important to know that for each type of shoe to get a perfect fit, you will need to modify the last orelse you won’t be able to get the maximim comfort deserved and much appreciated.

Italian Footwear Solution always discuss with our customers to understand perfectly their needs since the foot should not adapt to the shoe but it is the right shoe which needs to adapt to the function it will endure. After receiving the correct information, we will suggest which shoe will better fulfill the needs and ensure the size/width are in accordance to the customers’ needs and requirements. One shoe fits all approach does not work and we understand that the most important thing is to listen to our customers, then fulfill their requirements and working together with best Italian technicians and materials to offer a beautiful esthetic shoe having in addition a perfect most comfortable fit.

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BASIC – Shoe Categories – Pumps

In order to categorize a shoe, we must look at the upper, the heel and its functionality.
Let’s start with one of the most complicated shoes to manufacture which is the Pump, Decolletee Scollata. This shoe covers only the toes, keeping the instep uncovered. It covers asymmetrically the flanks sides of the foot, in order to container properly the foot and also covers the heels. It must be very well constructed so it does not slip off the foot. A classic throat cut is when the outer and inner side are straight with a round curve around the throat. A good pump construction will have the throat covering right above the toe lines. Too high will pain and too low will make the shoe slip off. Another important factor of good constructions is the inclination of the back profile. The higher the heel, the more the inclination because the middle of the back profile must aim towards the front throat of the shoe so helping to hold the foot better. If the pump has a front opening slightly exposing the toes, it is called a peep toe. Taking into consideration that in a peep toe shoe the foot needs to move to expose the front toes, the last must be adapted to this and so it will also be from ½ to one full size smaller than a normal classic pump. There will be different designs of pumps or peep toe and we must consider that in each case, we always need to consider the comfort of the walk and not only the look while constructing the shoe. The pump could also have a plateau which obviously increases the weight of the shoe and so in order to ensure a good fit, comfort and walk, the designer needs to adapt the design accordingly.

The ballerina is a type of shoe inspired by the classical ballet shoes. It is very similar to the pump having a short vamp with a throat opening, asymmetric sides and counter. In order to hold the foot better, a elastic band inserted between the upper and the lining can be added. One important technical detail to note is that the vamp and the sides have the function to hold the foot during walk so if the vamp is shorter, then the sides should be hither and vice versa, if the sides are lower then the vamp should be longer.
Another type of peep toe is the asymmetrical peeps toe where the inner flank has no side. This makes it very difficult to hold the foot in place. This can be obtained by designing the inner side of the throat and the inner side of the counter higher than normal giving more grip.

The T-Strap or Carlo IX which has an extension of the vamp in the middle which crosses with the ankle strap which is blocked by a buckle, holding the instep into place while leaving the lateral side of the foot uncovered. If the T-Strap shoe has a back opening, then it is also considered a T-Strap sandal.
The Mary Jane is a pump having a instep strap in the middle. A variation of the Mary Jane would be the DÓrsay which is a pump with no sides, but having straps starting above the vamp, crossing in the instep position and finishing in the counter with a buckle.


We can conclude that the shoe must hold into place so if the counter is reduced, then there must be straps to counter this. On the other hand, if the counter and vamp are prominent, then the foot can be contained in the shoe without the support of the straps.

The Chanel ( sling back shoe ) is a peep toe with a back strap replacing the counter and secured by a buckle or elastic, ensuring a perfect fit.
Lastly we have the ankle strap shoe which is a D’Orsay with additional ankle strap to secure the foot in the shoe. It is important for the perfect fit and feel of this type of shoe that the straps go above the ankle or else it will disturb the wearer.


FUNCTION: The Pump is a very elegant shoe designed in many various ways. The designer plays with the counter, the straps, side flanks and vamp. All these shoe parts function like the gears of a watch which are all inter-connected and dependent on each other for the good function, comfort and fit of the shoe. The designer together with the last technician must work together to ensure the walk and fit are perfect with every step.


Italian Footwear Solution will work with best technicians available ensuring the proportions of each part of the shoe not only give a beautiful esthetic look, but also have a perfect most comfortable fit.

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BASIC-Various shoe construction

As we explained in our previous lesson, there are various ways to construct a shoe. The type of shoe constructions we will use will depend on the type of shoe we want to construct, the comfort, and the ability of the shoe maker. There are some simpler ones like the cemented constructions and the more complicated and time consuming ones like the goodyear welt construction. The price of the shoe will depend on the quality of the materials used the time it will take to make the shoe and the level of skill of the technician.
We can classify three major types of shoe constructions which depends on how the upper is attached to the outsole; Cemented, Stitched and Injected/vulcanized.
Lets’ start with the easiest one which is the Cemented construction. As the word says, the upper and lining will be pulled around the last and glued or cemented to the bottom part of the insole. Afterwards, the outsole will be glued to the bottom part closing the shoe. A special glue is used which gets activated with heat so both outsole and lasted upper are placed in a special heated oven to activate the glue and then united together. In some cases, small nails can be added to reinforce the bonding mainly with leather shoes. A press will also help in bonding these two parts forming the shoe.

Second type of construction is where the outsole will be first glued as explained above, then stitched to the upper, lining and insole with a vertical stitch from the exterior to the interior of the shoe. This construction is called the Blake Mackay construction or simply Blake stitching. This will give a added value to the shoe since it will be almost indestructible so long lasting. Some shoes will have a fake sole stitching and so to identify a real blake construction, you can look inside the shoe or in case of a moccasin by bending the outsole or upper. In order to construct a shoe with blake stitching, you will need a patented sewing machine with a double threaded strong needle called Blake sewing machine.
Another type of stich construction would be the Stitched-out construction also called Ideal construction. In this type of constructions, the upper and lining will cover the last but will not turn under the insole and stop on the outer upper side of the insole. The stitching will be vertical as well in two different types. One way is to stitch the upper and lining to the insole, then gluing everything to the outer sole. A second type is the stitching will perforate also the outsole making it much more durable. This type of construction also called flexible construction makes a very casual and comfortable shoe by adapting to the owner’s foot.


A more advanced stitched out construction is called San Crispino where the upper and lining will be stitched as a stitched-out then go under the insole and stitched as well. This vertical stitch will catch the upper at the top edge position, go through the insole and finish at the bottom part of the insole. Once this operation is completed, the outsole then can now be glued. For additional solidity, the outsole can also be stitched to this construction.

Opanka construction is also part of the stitched construction. The sole used for this type of construction is often called a cup sole because of its shape like a cup. The upper and lining will be assembled to the insole just like the cemented construction, then this cup outsole will be wrapped at the bottom and side part, then glued and additionally be stitched horizontally to the upper. This is a more expensive construction so again this stitching could be fake and to see if it is really a opanka construction, we need to see the inside of the shoe. A more expensive version of the opanka construction is when the outsole is made of leather because the leather is more expensive and the sole manufacturer will need special machines to bend the leather in a cup shape.

Finally, we have the Goodyear construction also said the welted construction. This is a very expensive construction because mostly done by very skillful craftsmen by hand. The insole is not flat but has a T section like a lip, so when the upper and lining will curve under the insole and stop on this lip. On the other side of the upper, we have the welt. The stitching will go from the insole lip through the upper and through the welt. The outsole can then be lightly glued to the welt, which will then be stitched just like a blake construction. It is the welt stitched to the outsole which holds it in place. This construction is very elaborated and uses almost no glue so at the beginning the shoe will be heavy and stiff but then will adapt to the wearer and be one of the most durable and comfortable shoes. Because this special insole has lips to allow the stitching of the insole to upper and welt, the middle part will be empty so we will need to fill it with cork past which will harden but still be bouncy like cork.

In all these types of stitching construction there is a channel on the outsole which acts as a guide.


The third family the outsole is made of rubber either natural or synthetic. We have the vulcanize construction and the injection construction. Many sneakers will have this type of construction. In the vulcanized, the outsole is constructed around the shoe by gluing these parts to the upper then inserted in a autoclave where high pressure and hi heat will fuse them together as one piece. Another type of vulcanization is what is often used for safety shoes where the outsole and all its components are placed inside a heated mold, then the upper with heated metal last is pressed on it. The heat for several minutes will bond them together by vulcanizing them together.


The direct injection on the upper construction will insert the upper which is usually constructed as above in a Strobel sock, into melted material. This way we are making the outsole by injecting the compound directly around the upper. We have safety shoes, sport shoes and other type of formal light weight shoes.


FUNCTION: Depending on the type of construction we can obtain various durability, comfort, and functional shoes. As we already said in many occasions, the construction of the shoe will depend on the good quality of all its materials and manufacturers making those materials.


Italian Footwear Solution will utilize all type of construction depending on the final function a particular shoe. We will also ensure to work with manufacturers who are specialized in a particular type of construction. The Comfort and Perfect Fit is our main objective, so each type of shoe will have the best construction to perform that comfort feel.

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BASIC-The shoe construction

There are various ways to construct a shoe and each one is good for the finality of the shoe. The more complicated the more costly because of labor involved. The easiest one is the so called Cemented construction. The cemented construction is the easiest and fastest way to make a shoe. This is industrialized and you can pull (also said last) the upper around the last and fix to the bottom insole. The leather will not cover entirely the bottom insole (in order to save material and cost) so leaving a gab in the middle. In order to make it flush, we will fill this gab with a filler made of past of leather or cork or other material.


The insole in most cases, is made out of carboard. The forepart of the insole is flexible so to flex during natural walk while the back part is rigid giving stability to the shoe. In order to increase this rigidity and stability, especially with lady shoe which has a heel, an additional reinforcement will be there in the back part middle called shank. This shank is made of metal or fiberglass (tpu or nylon). A perfectly made insole will follow the bottom curvature of the last adhering perfectly to it. Very few specialized insole manufacturers will make a customized insole for one particular last and make it with the upmost precision. We need to remember that the insole is the core and main skeleton of a shoe giving it a perfect balance with all other materials. Since the upper material, including the insole, the toe box and back counter must all fit into the outsole, it is natural to understand that the outsole must be wider of a few mml in order to make all these components fit perfectly inside. In order to make a perfect insole which will fit perfectly to our particular last, the insole manufacturer will have to make one metal die for each different last. Because this is very costly, many footwear suppliers use preexisting insoles which causes the foot to suffer severe pain.
We can also have an insole with a platform which will then be covered by the upper and bottom covered by the outsole. In the case of a sandals with straps, a perfectly made insole for sandal will have incisions to allow the straps to be fitted perfectly inside and so to avoid bumps and deformity.
During the manufacturing process, we need to fix the insole to the last and this can be done with nails, staples or adhesive tape. In all these cases, they must be removed before the outsole is assembled. Once removed, the bottom part can then be sanded and smoothened in order to get a very good adhesive with the outsole. This will ensure that the attachment to the outsole with glue will be as perfect and strong as possible.

An insole with heel will have a dent in the back part called heel seat to allow the heel to fit perfectly in this position. It is important to know that also the heel must be perfectly calculated and this is done by another manufacturer specialized In heels. By placing the finished shoe without heel on a special heel calculating machine, the technician will be able to develop the perfect heel to fit perfectly to this structure. It will calculate the heel height according to the toe spring and other measurements.
We can now classify different type of heels; we have the so called breasted heel which has the tail in the back covering the front part of the heel. We can also have the attached heel. In this case the outsole can stop where the heel begins or the insole will be slimmed down to fit under the heel. We can also find a prefabricated outsole with heel included. Here there is no attachment since they are one piece all together.

FUNCTION: As we already said in many occasions, the construction of the shoe will depend on the good quality of all its materials and manufacturers making those materials. Each component is an essential part of the puzzle to manufacture a good shoe. If any of the components are of poor quality, the result will not only be visible but even worse, very painful during the entire walk for the entire life of the shoe. Good materials come from specialized material manufacturers like heels, insoles, counters, toe puffs, leathers and so on. These materials have been perfectioned in time using old tradition by passionate craftsmen. A good sole for example should be lightweight and flexible making the user feel almost as if, they are not wearing a shoe and should follow the natural movement of the foot during walk. The upper materials used should be of highest quality, soft and anti-allergic to embrace the foot without any compression in any point with function of following the foot during walk. The fit of the shoe must be the most important calculations the designer should focus on during the creation. The correct measurements of the foot circumferences and length, will allow the designer to manufacture any style of shoe having a very comfortable fit. These calculations take into consideration the walking movement, the standing position and also the sitting position which are obviously different due to the pressure our body exercises on the foot.

Italian Footwear Solution with 3 generation of footwear manufacturing experience, we will take all the above factors into consideration while designing and manufacturing a shoe. We will also ensure to work only with the best material producers which has the same passion as us. The Comfort and Perfect Fit is our main objective, so before any design is created, we will ensure the basic designs and materials fit these criteria’s, ensuring comfort of our customer during each step pampering their delicate feet all day long. As we always say… “ Happy Feet = Happy People “.

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BASIC-Want to know your Real shoe size?

Often, we struggle with various numbers printed on our shoes increasing our confusion on what is our actual shoe size or should we say, our real foot size. It is not the shoe who determines our size but our foot. If we realize that our two feet have also different measurements, it will become even more confusing. Let us try to put some clarify into this very confusing subject for everyone.

First of all, let us be clear that there are only two principal ways to measure our size and this is in CM or Inches. This means that in any part of the world, you will get the exact same measurements from anyone’s feet. The problem lies in the way we then interpret these measurements into shoe size which depends on the geographical area.

Let us start by identifying the most popular shoe sizes we can find in the market; a) French size (also called European size), b) UK size, and c) US size. When the brand exhibits his shoes at a shoe exhibition, they will only display the base size, which is 42 for men and 37 for lady. The reason for this is that the cost of developing all the sizes is very high so manufacturers will only make one size (called the base size) to start. If this new style gets enough orders necessary to amortize the entire size range investment, then after the show, they will invest in all the sizes (usually 40-46 for male and 36-41 for lady). Few suppliers will go further in developing width girth like Normal fit, Wide fit and X-Wide fit. Some very fewer suppliers will also extend their range adding ½ sizes in their range. By including different width girth and half sizes, you can be sure that you will satisfy mostly all types of feet. When we change the last size, we talk about scaling, while when we talk about width, we talk about grading usually calculated by the instep girth.


The US system will have a last difference of width girth of 6.35mm equivalent to ¼ Inch while in the European (French) system the difference will be of 4.5mm. As we already said, we also need to measure the length which is measured from the heel point to the center of the toe giving us a measurement in cm/mm. The French system will calculate the Paris (or French point) which equals to 6.66 mm = 2/3 cm which is little longer than half a cm. The English system (English point) is 8.46mm = 1/3 inch since one inch = 25.4mm. So, the difference between size 8 and size 9 = 8.46mm. The American system also has a difference of 8.46mm between a size 4 and 6. There are also other systems like the Russian, the Japanese, the Mexican, and Korean. In order to find a table with conversions, you can visit our website at: https://www.italianfootwearsolution.com/size-guide/.

The fitting girth or width of the last in the UK system is classified by C, F & G while the French system uses numbers and so F which is central or normal fit is the 6th letter of the alphabet called 6 and C = 4 and G = 7.

In the American system we will have 1 width in normal fit called M (medium = 6), Narrow = S or SS or SSS and Wide E or EE or EEE. Since this would create even more confusion to the public, the American system will only display on their shoe box; N = Narrow, M Medium & W = Wide.

French widths: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
English widths: A B C D E F G H J K
American widths AAAA AAA AA A B C D E EE

Different ½ sizes with option of various width is to give a better option to the customers.

FUNCTION: In order to get a comfortable fit when wearing a shoe, it is important to take into consideration different factors which play a very important role. The sole should be very lightweight and flexible making the user feel almost as if, they are not wearing a shoe and the natural movement of the foot during walk is harmonic. The materials used should be of highest quality and soft to embrace the foot without any compression in any point but just following the foot during walk. The fit of the shoe must be the most important calculations the designer should focus on during the creation. The correct measurements of the foot circumferences and length, will allow the designer to manufacture any style of shoe having a very comfortable fit. These calculations take into consideration the walking movement, the standing position and also the sitting position which are obviously different due to the pressure our body exercises on the foot.


Italian Footwear Solution will take all the above factors into consideration while designing and manufacturing a shoe before any design is created since the Comfort and the Perfect Fit are our main objectives when designing a shoe. Once the perfect fit measurements are reached for our particular style we wish to create, we can then create our fashion around this base design. With the design in mind, we need to use our traditional experience in purchasing the most soft and flexible materials which will ensure comfort the feet of our customers during each step pampering their delicate feet all day long. As we always say… “ Happy Feet = Happy People “.

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BASIC-Comfort Shoe Calculations

In our previous lessons, we spoke about how the last will change the comfort of a shoe depending on its length, width and volume. One of the important measurements which will affect the good comfort of our shoes is the length of the “toe allowance” which is the space inside a shoe in front of our longest toe. This space will allow our foot to move forward during normal walk. It is usually 1cm but will vary depending on the shoe size. In our previous lessons we also made the distinction between Roman(square), Egyptian(round and our reference, and Greek(Pointy) foot but there is also have the Flat Foot(almost no Arch and minimum Instep Girth, Curved Foot(exaggerated Arch with exaggerated Instep Girth also called the Claw Foot) and the Average Foot(Normal Arch with normal Instep Girth). In order to make a good shoe we will need the following measurements considerations.

Let’s start with the “Toe Spring” which is the height measured from the tip of the last (Toe Point) to the ground (approx. of one finger from the ground). 1) The toe spring will allow the foot to bow for a comfortable and normal movement during walk or run. 2) The fitting girth (girth = volume), also called the ball girth, is measured by the circumference of the widest point of the fore part of the human foot, also called the two ball points. This line will pass around the 1st and the 5th metatarsal bone. 3) The instep girth measured by the circumference of the maximum volume around the waste (the shank) and the instep of the last or the top of the last’s cone. 4) Heel girth measured the circumference of the heel feather edge, across the cuboid, to the point where the instep girth crosses the main axis. In other words, from the heel to the cone. 5) Heel height measured by the height of the heel edge feather to the ground once the toe spring is in the correct position and height. 6) The length which is calculated from the heel to the longest toe.

Once we have all the correct measurements, we can then design a shoe with a square/round/pointy toe shape, or any shape our wildest designing fantasies create since if the volume is correctly calculated, the foot will fit perfectly into a comfortable shoe.

FUNCTION: The correct measurements of the foot circumferences and length, will allow the designer to manufacture any style of shoe having a very comfortable fit. These calculations take into consideration the walking movement, the standing position and also the sitting position which are obviously different due to the pressure our body presses on the foot.
Italian Footwear Solution will take all these measurements into consideration before any design is created since the Comfort and the Perfect Fit are our main objectives when designing a shoe. Once the perfect fit measurements are reached for our particular style we wish to create, we can move our designs around them if needed. All of our shoes will always have our Perfect Fit Calculations to ensure our customers enjoys wearing our shoes for hours to come by pampering their delicate feet all day long.