A shoe last is the block of wood in the shape of a shoe on which the leather is stretched to craft the shoe. “Made-to-measure” shoemakers will use a stock shoe last and make slight modifications to try and match the shape and measurements of your feet. We do not offer made-to-measure services. At Bondeno, we sculpt and carve the left and right lasts from scratch using the left and right foot's shape, volume and fitting preferences because no two feet are the same. We also understand that each foot's center line/axis is unique and it rarely matches the center line/axis of an adjusted or modified stock shoe last. Carving a set of lasts with a beautiful toe shape that also provides the right fit is the standard of excellence our last makers in Italy have delivered for over 5 generations since 1908.
CUSTOM TOE SHAPES
When it comes to toe shapes, we offer the classic round, the classic square, the chisel toe, and the perfetta chisel toe.
FREE LIFETIME SHOE LAST ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM
Our feet get wider and our arches begin to slowly fall as we age. We offer free adjustments to your bespoke lasts if needed every time you place a new order with us so that each new pair of shoes fit you as well as the last.
OUR COLLECTION, REPLICATE OR CUSTOM DESIGN A PATTERN
During the customization process for the upper of the shoe, the client may choose one of our house styles, have us replicate a design, or commission an entire new design, within the oxford, loafer, derby, monk strap, and boot categories. The final pattern selected by the client will be custom designed using the client's custom carved lasts.
LEATHERS & EXOTIC SKINS
For our shoes and boots made in calf leather, we use "Sicalf", a 1.4 mm A-Grade full-grain calfskin produced by Tanneries du Puy, stablished in 1946 in the South of France, and currently owned by the Hermès Group. We use Sicalf for its suppleness, durability, and superior quality.
We also offer exotic skins including alligator, caiman, crocodile, elephant, lizard, ostrich, python, shark, stingray, zebra, cobra, and hippopotamus. We only offer exotic skins on second time orders.
In terms of sole constructions, we offer: a single leather Blake construction known for its thin profile, weightlessness, and flexibility. A double leather Blake Rapid construction known for its thicker profile, durability and waterproofness. A full Vibram rubber Blake Rapid construction known for its flexibility and water resistance. A Goodyear welted double leather sole, known for its cork filled foot-bed that molds to your feet overtime, provides extra cushioning, it is easily resolable, and is also the most waterproof leather sole available with a double stitched out-sole.
A standard heel height for a pair of classic dress shoes is around 2 cm or 0.78 inches in height, depending on the length of the shoe, but you are given the option to commission a taller or shorter heel height according to your personal preferences.
INTERIOR HEEL CUSHIONING
We use a high density memory foam heel piece that never goes flat and provides the most comfortable cushioning of all heel pieces we have come across over the years. This feature comes standard in all of our shoes.
CARVING OF THE LAST
Our master last makers in Italy will carve a set of lasts using the exact dimensions of the interior of the client’s most comfortable pair of shoes or boots through our reverse engineering process. Carving a set of lasts when using the client’s measurements is 50% art & 50% science because getting the client's measurements just right is only the beginning. A beautiful pair of shoes is determined by the shape of the lasts, complimenting the client's unique foot shape, body height and weight.
The design of our shoes are sometimes born of the wishes and specific needs of the client. The design is enhanced with personalization, which starts with the planning and shaping phases.
The cutting of the leather that creates the vamp is done exclusively by hand, to ensure that only the best leather is chosen for a specific model.
Each pair of our vamps is crafted from beginning to end by a single artisan. This guarantees a precise and accurate semi-finished product, perfect in the smallest details, whether it is visible or not.
The shoe takes shape in this stage. This is done mostly by hand, with pliers, hammer and nails, just like the handmade tradition demands. The machinery helps the artisans somewhat. It can’t however be a substitute for the taste and the expertise of artisans with decades of experience.
PREPARATION, STITCHING, & FLATTENING OF THE SOLE
Before and after the stitching of the sole, many tasks are necessary to bring to completion the creation of a reliable and comfortable shoe. They are very specific tasks, crucial in making the product unmistakably unique.
All our shoes are polished on the lasts by using only the best creams: no sprays or polishes cover the beauty of the leather used. The final result is a clean shoe that shines naturally. It does not matter how long it takes to achieve this goal.
THE "HANDMADE" STANDARD
Our handmade shoes crafted in our small family workshop in Italy carry traits that are not found in shoes made in factory assembly lines. When Picasso draws a perfect circle by hand we know it could never be as perfect as one drawn using a compass, but just like some people will still prefer the one by Picasso, to this day many prefer handmade shoes because they provide the quality and elegance that machines cannot replicate. Our shoes are hand-welted, hand-lasted and hand-soled.
When it comes to colors, we offer a choice between our solid colors, or our traditional hand-painted patinas. Our patina colors are applied by hand, so the colors on each pair of shoes will vary slightly each time. Hand-painted colors gradually change over time and develop into beautiful patinas, whereas solid colors on calf leathers dyed at the tannery will keep the same color overtime.