HAVING YOUR BESPOKE SHOES MADE

When you come to us for a new pair of bespoke shoes, you will want them to reflect the unique Foster & Son character for which we are so well known, but our objective is to make something that is uniquely yours.
For a first meeting we suggest you make an appointment so that we can give you our best attention, and allow an hour for us to measure and assess your feet, discuss the models, toe shapes, leathers and decoration that appeal to you.
We then make your last, which gives the shoe its unique shape and personality.
From the last, we create paper patterns, and from them we cut the leather components for the uppers. This is called “clicking” from the sound of the sharp knife on the cutting block.
The upper components are now stitched together. This often requires highly skilled and detailed hand work, and is called “closing” the shoe.
At this stage, the uppers and the inner sole are fitted to the last and stitched together by a skilled shoemaker using flaxen thread that he makes himself. 
If this is your first pair, we stop the making before the outer sole is attached, and ask you to try on the shoe to ensure that the fit is correct. 
Once we are satisfied that the fit is perfect we proceed to the final stage of making, attaching the sole and heel and then finishing the shoe with meticulous care.
The artistic co-ordination of the last maker, the pattern cutter and the shoemaker make the resulting shoe a unique combination of craft and design inputs.

YOUR BESPOKE LAST


Once your feet have been assessed, we can make your last. The last is the form on which the shoes will be built and gives the shoes their unique shape and personality. As Senior Last maker Terry Moore has said, “you can’t make  a good shoe from a bad last”.

Hand carved from a block of kiln dried Beechwood or Hornbeam, the last incorporates the shapes and measurements of the foot so as to be comfortable and healthy for you. This process takes time, but once we have the last correct we can be confident that your shoes will always fit perfectly.
The last is used to shape the paper patterns from which we cut the leather components for the upper parts of your shoes.  Then the inner sole is soaked in water, attached to the sole of the last, and left to dry out for a long period so that it assumes the correct shape for you to walk on. So the underside of the last gives your sole its unique shape.

Then the uppers and the inner sole are fitted to the last and initially nailed and then stitched together by a skilled shoemaker using flaxen thread.
The last is used again in the final stage of making, attaching the sole and heel before finishing the shoe with meticulous care. We leave the shoe on the last as long as possible, so if you arrive unannounced to collect your shoes you may need to wait until we can get the shoes off the last, which can be quite a physical process.

Your last is then indexed and stored indefinitely until you commission your next pair of shoes.