I paid a visit to shoemaker W.S. Foster & Sons the other day in search of a mid-brown leather for a pair of oxfords, and departed unfulfilled but happy.
I had been corresponding with Foster's Miss Emma Lakin about a particular tone that I had seen on some shoes made for Charlie Watts but it was not available at this time. While we talked, I perused actor George Hamilton's last.
The wear on the bottom is from the nails used to hold the upper on to the last as each pair of shoes is made. The Hamilton last has seen quite a bit of use.
Bespoke customers generally have two lasts, or at least the customers that get both slip-ons and laced shoes from their makers do as each of these styles requires its own for a proper fit.
I will be a two last customer at Foster's after deciding that the rare piece of dark brown Freudenberg leather that Ms. Lakin was so enthusiastic about would be a more useful part of my wardrobe as a slip-on shoe. And so we agreed on a model I had admired in the past: a cap toe with two curved lines of brogueing that is formal enough to wear with suits.
Since it requires a new last, the slip-on, which is the shoe in the lower left of the photo, will also require a fitting. That means I shall see my shoes some time in 2010.
Perhaps Mr. Hamilton will find further use for his last while I wait.