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Dr Shoe: Advise And Assist On Modification And Shoe Making Projects


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Hi, Dr. Shoe, in your signature you say: "Graduate footwear designer able to advise and assist on modification and shoe making projects." Can I ask if you have contacts who have the ability to assist in creating heels or heel molds? I ask as my wife and I have a specific heel design we are interested in producing and here in South Africa there seems to be so little resources to do this? I have may ideas for different heel designs ranging from interchangeable metal heels to the the simplest being a heel mold to create a heel with an accentuated curve on it. Please let me know if you can contribute with any info or contacts regarding the starting of a project like this. Much obliged and TIA. BTW: Metal heel tips are the best!!! I agree :)

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Have a similar problem and it resulted in finding work-arounds unfortunately. I'm still working on a pair of lasts (first a digital 3d-model, and after I couldn't find any1 to fraise/CNC them, I built a hard foam prototype by myself which will be used to mold the final lasts. Same method's planned for the heels. Some time ago I tried to find someone to lathe metal heels for me and again, no luck. My plan is to build the slimmer heel part from a solid aluminum rod while the curvy thicker part will be molded around it. Did you take a look at my thread (it's right here in the same sub forum!) ? Sooner or later we might have useful information for each other...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have been able to find shanks for high heels on the net but so far have come up blank on pre made actual heels themselves. I want to make some ballet style heels and some 6 inch plus heels and find no makers of the heels. I plan to make custom lasts from silicone rubber molds of my own feet. Any suggestions? EBear_ca

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Yes. Don't even bother. Even people who knew what they were doing took years of development and trial and error to come up with a last and heels for ballet boots. I know first hand that it took LSB about 18 months to get it right. The heels for ballet boots are exclusive to the owners of the design and will not be released to anyone else. The reason why you cannot get stock heels is because they are produced to order. You need to quote the last number and the size before they'll make them for you. Expect to have to order at least 100 pairs. If you are using your own last, you will have to send one to them so they can find a style that will fit. If not, you will have to pay the development costs which can be £100s if not £1000s. The firm I linked to in my previous post may be able to suggest a company as they do work closely with heel manufacturers.

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Good luck... if you find some1 selling 6"+ heels please tell me. Don't try to use just a 1:1 foot mold as last. A foot fits into a shoe but a shoe isn't shaped like a foot! Dr. Shoe... weird. I cannot imagine why it is that difficult to shape ballet heel lasts. Recalling the shape of my owned ballet heels (Pleaser, Kassiopeya/cheap chinese brand) the last shape must have been rather simple. Or are you talking about the difference between a cheap ballet heel last and the ones from a quality shoe maker like LSB?

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It's all to do with balance. A foot does not "behave" like a last does...

Yeah right. Still I cannot guess what took them 18 months. (ok 18 months sounds like a lot but on the other hand it's also possible they had only time for one new last per month or anything.)

Either way one might find a lot more problems when the first prototype is finally done.

Hmm maybe I'll give ballet heel making a try when I finish my current project successfully. Just as a careful experiment and challenge. :)

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