making better sneaker lasts


"Last comes first" is one of the most popular expressions in the footwear business. But actually it should be: "foot comes first!" The general assumption is that lasts represent an average abstraction of the human foot, but that is not correct. There are many elements to the shoe lasts that we use today that are shaped the way they are to accommodate mass manufacturing methods, NOT because of the way our feet are functioning! Especially when it comes to supporting - or correcting - the movement of the feet during sports, there is a lot that could be improved to our current lasts.


Footwear innovator Mike Friton - who worked as a senior innovator at Nike's Innovation Kitchen for more than 30 years - has developed a unique approach to making optimal lasts for sports performance and he will transfer this knowledge during an intensive workshop week at the Shoe Style Lab in Vigevano, Italy: a beautiful historic location, but equipped with the latest machinery for footwear making. This is an ideal course for designers of sports performance footwear, as well as for bespoke sneakers makers and for orthopedic shoemakers. At the end of the course you will have learnt new ways of last making or adjusting and will have your own custom last. Please take a look at the video at the bottom of the page to get an impression of some of the issues you will be discussing more in-depth during this course.


course program:

In the course of five days Mike will discuss the following aspects of innovative last making:


Anatomy of the foot - Important features of the foot that relate to fit.
Dynamic movement - Natural movement of the foot verses restriction of the shoe.
Last and Foot alignment
Dynamic testing
- Methods of testing dynamic movement with the shoe. This is hands-on and fit to each individual to experience in the class.
Building a custom Last - Quick and easy method of producing a custom last for each student.


course details:


Level: this is an intermediate course meant for people who already have some footwear experience and understand the basics of how shoes are made. If you have no footwear experience at all we recommend that you follow our Sneakerology course first.

Location: Shoe Style Lab, Castello di Vigevano, Piazza Ducale in Vigevano, Italy (about one hour from Milan, but we recommend that students stay in Vigevano)

Duration: 5 days

Maximum number of participants: 10

Teacher: Mike Friton


Dates in 2018:

April 2 - 6


Course times: 10:00 - 17:30 each day


Price: 5 class days at an intermediate level price, so this amounts to €1000 (excluding VAT, if applicable). This amount is to be paid in advance.


Included in the course price: materials that are used in class, including your custom lasts

Not included in the course price: flight tickets, hotel accomodation, transportation to and from the Shoe Style Lab and lunch


How to apply: please send an email with your CV (LinkedIn profile) and short motivation to join this course to [email protected]


Combinations with other courses:

After this week Mike will be teaching another class: Designing Sneakers through Making. This is an ideal combination with this class for all sneaker designers and bespoke sneaker makers. You could then use the custom last you made to create several designs. If you follow both classes you will get a 5% discount, so in that case you will only pay €1900 for both weeks.