Know Your Barker Last

Posted by Lee Fleming on

Barker Last Guide - Know Your Last

A well made Goodyear-welted shoe will last a long time but the same with good fitting will last considerably longer. The comfort and wearability of a Barker shoe is paramount to our customers around the world and is an important part of the design process to ensure good fitting across the Barker collection.

At the design stage of a pair of shoes a conscious decision has to be made about the type of shoe to be produced. The design team at the Earls Barton factory would select a last shape to design the shoe on as they continue to champion the traditional technique of masking a last and drawing directly onto the tape to ensure the proportions are perfect for each and every design.

The last is next seen in the Lasting Room where the anatomically shaped models finally meet the upper. This part of the shoemaking process involves the insole being temporarily stapled to the bottom of the last before the upper is firstly moulded on the heel of the last, followed by toe lasting where the upper is pulled over the last by the lasting machine. Each shoe is then side lasted by hand which allows the upper to be accurately lasted to give the finished shoe its true shape. The last remains in place throughout the shoemaking process until it reaches the Finishing Room where the shoes are antiqued and mopped for a beautiful finish.


All Barker lasts are based on over 100 years of study of the anatomy of the foot and its contours. Barker lasts are graded to different fittings and sizes (full and half sizes) to ensure that all feet can be correctly comfortably fitted. The last shape also determines the fit of a shoe

The current Barker shoe range is made from over 30 different last shapes with certain collections preferring specific lasts than others. Should you find a last that reflects your own foot shape well there is greater probability of good fitting providing the correct size/fitting is selected. The last shape determines the fit of a shoe but it’s also important to remember a last can be available in various fittings such as the Arnold, a classic toe cap Oxford shoe available in E and G fitting.

Explore the Barker Last Guide online to browse the latest collection by the last the styles are made on and should you require further information contact us online or visit a Barker store/stockist.

Barker lasts are proudly made by Northamptonshire lastmaker Springline.