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Munson Last

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by WildCelt, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. I love the munson last on my Corcoran Jump Boots; they're one of the few pairs of shoes I have that don't pinch my toes. I thought it was a shame they only used it for boots. Then, in the Army & Navy Goods Store ad here from 1921, I saw they were advertising “Munson Army Last Dress Shoes.” The only shoes I know of still being made on the munson last are Corcoran and repro jump boots and service shoes. Does anyone know if any companies still use the munson last for dress shoes (new or repro)?

  2. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    I use them all the time. this is a 9.5 eee
  3. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    1904 to 1928 "Russet Marching shoe" worn as a dress and field shoe until 1916 and as a dress shoe until 1928.
  4. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp One of the Regulars

    Bigshoe, where do you get stylish extra wide shoes? I'm 10 EEEEEE, and my choices are Hitchcock in Massachusetts, or New Balance ortho looking things. Any hints?
  5. MisterGrey

    MisterGrey Practically Family

    I'm curious myself. I'm an 11.5 wide (Not sure if it's E or EE) or 12 wide depending on the make of a given shoe, and it seems I'm either relegated to uber-cheap stuff I can find at Wal-Mart, or ungodly expensive designer stuff I can find online.* Being that I'm a college student with a limited income, I'd really like to find shoes that fit me and hurt neither my feet or my pocket book.

    *Surprisingly, IME, a lot of "designer" shoes don't cater to wide-widths, either. I'd thought for sure that they'd have tapped into that niche market.
  6. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    I do not know if this would be considered advertising. If so the bartenders may feel free to pull it.
    I started making shoes because I too was never able to find shoes that fit. After 17 years I have found that some 40% of the shoes I make are for folks with extra wide feet. Most shoe factories make sizes based on statistical data bases for what sizes sell the most. The expense involved in pattern making, lasts and cutting dies is considered too prohibitive for the bean counters who run the world. On the other hand bespoke makers like to keep the fitting wraped in mystery and art so they can make a living. If you are making one off shoes the extra labor and materials is not that great. Often it is just a matter of building up an existing last in the makers stock with some scrap leather to fit. You don't always get it right the first time but you can more often then not. You can p.m. if you are interested in having something made.

    That is the reason I am so fond of the Munson last it was desgined to fit the widest possible range of feet with the least amount of discomfort for real walking. It is narrow in the heel and the shank, wide in the forepart at the ball of the foot high at the toes and curved up at the toe for "toe spring" which helps with a true heel to toe stride. Since it was desgined by the Govt. it is public property and any maker can order them with no model charge or copyright problems. It is not stylish like most bespoke shoes and a little hard to pattern since like the foot there is more last on the out side of the center line then inside.
  7. Torridsticks

    Torridsticks New in Town

    Not "dress," but check them out.

    I recently found these Munson last work/casual boots and ordered them right away. I plan to use them for walking, hiking, and casual dress with chinos or jeans. Naturally, when I'm wearing my dark-brown fedora, and tweed or leather sport, I expect them to go well together. I don't expect them to be fit for dress, but possibly dress-casual. Check them out! T.

    Katahdin Iron Works Engineer Boots
  8. Doug C

    Doug C Practically Family

    Bigshoe, are you saying that you can produce the classic officers dress low quarter with the munson last? That would be a worthy project as they're nearly impossible to come by, how much would a pair cost?
    -Doug C
  9. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Not at all. You seem to be doing good work in a unique field of interest to us all. Please tell us more.
  10. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    A comparison of lasts. The Blue one is a munson last from left to right a 7.5 3e, a 7 munson, a 7.5 d shoe last, a 7.5 work boot last and a womans 7.5 b
    Note the munson 7 is slightly longer then the 7.5's it is as wide in the ball as the 7.5ee, the cone (instep) is higher and runs futher foward then the others and is as narrow in the heel as the womans 7.5. I will try to take some pics of the bottoms to explain the reasons for this later.
  11. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    Doug C send me an e-mail
  12. Doug C

    Doug C Practically Family

    ..just did :) .
    Doug C
  13. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

  14. Bigshoe,did you make this boot?
  15. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

  16. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    I have made three of them and am not quite happy with the pattern yet.
  17. DerMann

    DerMann Practically Family

    I may be interested in a pair too.

    Keep us updated.
  18. When you get it the way you want I'll be in line.
  19. bigshoe

    bigshoe One of the Regulars

    Just as background. Lt col.(later Brig. Gen.) Munson A.M.; M.D. was director of the Army Field Service School for medical officers when in 1908 he was appointed president of the Army Service Shoe Board. For 43 years from the end of the civil war the army had experimented with numerous types of footwear, lasts and means of construction to no satisfactory end. There had been no true scientific reaserch into footwear on a mass scale with the exception of some work by a swiss army doctor in the 1890's. Munson and the Board had a couple of advantages, they were far enough away from D.C. to avoid politics, they had over 4,000 infantry men to play with and an x-ray machine. Munson early on hit on the idea of a shoe shaped like the foot that provided stability, protection and support for the foot. The last adopted in 1912 by the service shoe was used exclusively until the 60's and is still accepted today.
  20. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Hey, I just want to say that I've seen Bigshoe's site, and
    I really wish I needed a pair of shoes right now. This guy
    at least appears to be a real find. Check it out:


    No, I've never so much as held one of his shoes and
    I don't get a percentage. It's nice to know someone
    is doing what he is doing.

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