Last Guide

Back to help


The word ‘last’ comes from the Old English ‘laest’ meaning footprint and is a fundamental tool used by shoemakers and cordwainers in the manufacture and repair of shoes. The last is used from the start; the anatomical foot form Barker design our shoes with to the construction and shaping in the shoemaking process.

The last is as important the shoe design as it is in the manufacturing process to give shape but equally the shoes fitting qualities derive from the last to ensure well fitting, comfortable shoes.

The process of last making and test fitting is a lengthy process which Barker has dedicated over a century studying the anatomy of the foot and its contours to develop our lasts, all crafted in Northampton at the heart of the British shoe-making industry.

Barker lasts are graded to different fittings and chronologically numbered with the lowest last numbers having the earliest date of origin:

Charles in  Cedar Grain

LAST 29

A true Barker classic, the 29 last is one of our remaining traditional lasts still in use at our Earls Barton factory. Last 29 features in the BarkerFlex, Country and Creative collections with styles available in F & H fittings.

F Fitting: Charles, Glencoe, Grassington, Hawk, Nairn, Westfield
H Fitting: Portrush, Southport & Staines

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 29 last fits true to size in both F and H fittings.

LAST 69

The second oldest last currently used by Barker and features in the Handcrafted, Country and Professional collections. Available in E, F and G fittings.

E Fitting: Arnold
F Fitting: Clive, Newborough
G Fitting: Albert, Alfred, Arnold

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 69 last fits true to size in G fitting they would recommend a half size smaller in the G fitting. Please note the Arnold is available in E and F fitting.

LAST 386

The 386 last is one of Barker’s most popular lasts featuring in the BarkerFlex and Professional collections predominately. Available in F and G fittings.

F Fitting: Malton, Malvern, Mirfield, Morden, Tunstall
G Fitting: Cheltenham, Felix, Madeley, Malton, Malvern, Mirfield, Morden, Northcote, Perth

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 386 last fits slightly over-sized due to the long toe cap and they would recommend a half size down.

LAST 396

A firm favourite within the Handcrafted and Professional collections, the 396 last is available in F and FX fitting.

F Fitting: Montrose, St Austell, St Ives
FX Fitting: Plymouth

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 396 last fits true to size.

LAST 443

The 443 last is one of Barker’s most popular lasts featuring in Creative and Professional collections. Available in F and G fitting.

F Fitting: Brandon, Darlington, Grant, Jackson, Johnny, Luca, McClean, Woody
G Fitting: Haig, Larry, Leo, Liam, Luke, Lyle

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 443 last fits mainly true to size in F fitting but if you have a wide foot you may consider going a half size larger. 

For the Derby shoe style (Woody) and all G fittings they would recommend a half size smaller.

LAST 463

The 463 last has a loyal following and features in the BarkerFlex and Creative collections. Available in F & G fitting.

F Fitting: Timothy
G Fitting: Ramsgate, Rushden, Southwold

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 463 last fits true to size in F fitting but they would recommend a half size smaller in the G fitting.

LAST 464

The 464 last features in the Handcrafted and Country collections. Available in F & G fittings.

F Fitting: Calvay, Fleet, Newchurch, Orkney, Skye
G Fitting: Falsgrave, Lerwick, Newmarket

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 464 last fits over-sized and would recommend a half size smaller in F and G fitting.

LAST 469
 
The 469 last is one of Barker’s most popular lasts featuring in Country and Professional collections. Available in F and G fitting.

F Fitting: Foley
G Fitting: Bedale, Burford, Deene, Duxford, Hampstead, Nelson, Wickham, Wilton, Winsford, Woodbridge

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 469 last fits over-sized and would recommend a half size smaller in F & G fittings.

LAST 487

The 487 last features in the Professional collection and is only available in F fitting.

F Fitting: Portsmouth, Studland

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 487 last fits over-sized and would recommend a half size smaller.

LAST 493
The 493 last features in the BarkerFlex collection and is only available in FX fitting.

FX Fitting: Armstrong, Ellon, Sergey, Turing, Wright

Fitting advice:
Our Barker stores would advise the 493 last fits over-sized because of the inner sole and would recommend a half size smaller generally possibly a full size depending on foot shape.