As many of you know, there is nothing worse than an ill fitting boot. The pain you experience after a couple of hours or so can be TOUGH! Whether it's tightness in the ball of your foot or calf, or even that searing pain in your arches, the pain is real and often unbearable.
While these "off the shelf" boots or even misfitting custom boots can be a pain, they are often what lead customers to our doorstep. Handcrafting custom cowboy boots is no simple task, and many often inquire on what exactly it entails. Therefore, this blog series is going to center around the art of making a custom cowboy boot.
The obvious first step in boot making is taking your measurements but it is after this that the crucial first step of the manufacturing process takes place; last making. To begin, lasts are wooden molds of your feet derived from your measurements. Recently, I read that less than 10% of people over the age of 20 years old have identical feet so you can imagine how much time and precision goes into these wooden shapes.
This process takes time and dedication to learn as the last maker reading your measurements is like a translator. They translate your one dimensional tracing along with several measurements in order to build 3D representations of your feet. It is here that a mere 1/16th of an inch can make all the difference in the world.
To begin the translation process, they start by finding a standard stock last that comes closest to your measurements. From here, they build up the last where it is necessary. For instance, they add leather in areas where your foot has irregularities due to age or injuries, such is case for bunions, "hammer toes," and various other foot issues. They create these "build outs" with pieces of leather glued to the last. After this, the leather can be skived and sanded down in order to achieve the ideal dimensions.
Additionally, we like to add a small piece of leather and begin the toe shaping process. While this is not necessary, we like to do this in order to make the process run smoother once the boot reaches "toes."
Once all the additions are made, and the toe is securely fastened, our last makers will go back and check all their measurements before giving the last a smooth finish and passing it along to the next station; patterns and leather cutting. Stay tuned to learn more on the art of boot making!
1) How long does Paul Bond Boots keep my last?
If you are a frequent boot purchaser, we will keep your last forever. However, if it is a one time purchase, we might use your last for someone else after a year's time. The good news is, we keep your card which has a detailed description of how your last was built. That way, if you decide to order again, we should have no problem replicating your last.
*Fun fact, we have one of the largest collections of wooden last in the world! Therefore, if we don't need your last for someone else, your last could be around for a longggggg time!
2) How long is my last "valid?"
We ask for new measurements every 10 years as your foot changes over time. We want your last to reflect those changes.
3) What happens if I receive my boots and they aren't fitting properly?
We will make the necessary adjustments to your boot in order for it to fit you. Additionally, we make the alterations to your last to ensure your next boot fits even better!