How to Make a Shoe Last
Can you make a shoe last at home?
Yes, you can make a shoe last at home! In this article, we will review the basic techniques you can use to make a shoe last. If you have a custom shoe project in mind for yourself, or need a shoe last for a DIY or school project, you can use these techniques.
There are several ways that you can make a last for your shoe projects.
1. Carve the shoe last from wood or foam.
2. Build the last from stacked wood or cardboard.
3. Make an Alginate™ foot casting in a box mold.
4. Make a shoe last inside a foot form with plaster gauze.
5. Use a 3D printer to make a shoe last.
Carve the shoe last from wood
If you have some woodworking skills, patience, and access to equipment, you can carve a custom last from wood. The wood-carved last is the most traditional way to make a shoe last. Starting with a block of wood that is free of any knots or split grain, draw the side profile and bottom shape. Then, using a band saw or hand tools, cut the general shape of the footwear last. From this point, use chisels, sanding machines, and files to refine the shape.
This process is very time-consuming. If you have access to CNC equipment at a MakerSpace or a school woodshop you may choose to do the rough cutting using the machinery and then finish by hand.