A Shoe starts with a piece of wood

Posted by Sarah Sclarandis on

It takes time to make amazing shoes the right away.  As the old adage goes, quality is better than quantity.  You probably can guess that it starts with the sketch. 

I have a vision of what I want, but there are many factors that influence it:  what I see on the street, what I observe while shopping, how I would want people to feel while wearing my shoes.  I put together a giant Styrofoam mood board – composed of images and textiles and sometimes just simply words – that will inspire me. But the dream starts to become a reality with a piece of wood. 

Every shoe begins with a last, a form shaped like a human foot.  A pair of lasts is the framework around which the shoes’ soles, leathers, laces and accessories will need to coalesce to make it stunning. Italians make their prototype lasts out of wood, because it’s easier to shape and make subtle adjustments.

Are Italian lastmakers the best at their job?  I won’t answer that question directly but let’s just say Italy is the country where the Renaissance was born. It gave us Michaelangelo, Da Vinci and Raffaello, and whose exquisite design in cars, furniture and clothing is recognized around the world.

Yes the Italians know a thing or two when it comes to artistic tradition, style and glamour. 


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