Terminology of the Last – ¾


Oct 07, 2022

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Now that we have learned in our previous lessons most of the last terminology, we can now talk about the last dimensions which are very important in order to design our shoe pattern. The last dimensions are also important to communicate with the last manufacturers and to explain dimensions in finished shoes. Even though in the shoe store only the length and width are described, with a last we need to know different width and different lengths. The volume taken around the last are said girth measurements.

In the previous lessons we talked about heel seat and toe point. The distance between these two with a measuring tape is called Standard Last Dimensions.

By measuring the circumference around the line from the widest part of the last on the inside ( medial ball point ) and the outside of the last ( lateral ball point ) we will get the volume of the BALL GIRTH. This measurement will make the difference slim, normal, wide and extra wide fit.

The INSTEP GIRTH is a very important measurement since it will make a shoe comfortable or tight and painful in the instep area of the foot. We measure this volume by wrapping the tape from the shank around the last cone and back to the shank. This position is where the top of your foot presses against the vamp of the shoe. Too tight and it will pain. Too loose and shoe will move around too much.

The volume in midpoint between the Ball Girth and the Instep Girth is called the Waist Girth.


TOE SPRING is the measuring height from the ground to the tip feather edge of the last. As a general rule of thumb, the stiffer the outsole, the higher the toe spring. The more flexibles’ outsoles instead will have less toe spring since this flexibility will create it naturally during the walk. A military boot for example will have a stiffer outsole and so an increased Toe Spring. A sneaker having a very flexible outsole will have almost no toe spring.

TOE BOX HEIGHT is the height measured from the feather edge to the top of the last at the big toe position.
Long Heel Girth is measured from the top heel counter point to the vamp point on the main axis.
Short Heel Girth is measured from the bottom heel counter at the feather edge to the instep girth crosses the main axis.
Heel Height is measured from the heel seat to the ground. A flat shoe will have 0 and high heel 100.
Stick Length is the length measured from the toe tip to the heel curve.
Bottom Length is measured by putting the measuring tape at the bottom side of the last from the tip feather edge of the last till the heel curve feather edge following the main axis.
Ball Width is the measurement at the bottom of the last from the medial ball points to the lateral ball point which is the widest part of the last.
Waist Width is measuring the width of the bottom last at 25mm behind the ball width.
Instep Width is measuring the width of the bottom of the last at 25mm behind the waist width.
Heel Width is measuring the width of the bottom of the last at 25mm behind the instep width.
Cuboid Width is the measurement of the largest point of the back heel part.
Cone Length is the longest side of the top plate.
Cone Width is the measurement of the cone at 90% of the cone length.

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