Insole Shape Construction with the Geometric Method

IMPORTANT: I do not approve to use this tutorial in any blogs, forums, websites  or any printed or broadcasted form. This is created only for personal educational purposes.

Foot measurement is always a question I got from student. I know ways to measure feet, but somehow I always had to tell them, that you, as a shoemaker, not just make shoes for feet, but for minds… how come? Well, some people wants to have really tight ones, some others don’t feel good only in loose footwear – if you just measure feet, you will never realize this. (this is one of the reasons, why remote bespoke process doesn’t work). Anyway, let’s focus on those people, who are not special, and who could be happy, with a normal fit. For these guys, here is a method, how to edit a sole-form, what can be a help for selecting the right last or even make it.

I translated and commented this method from an old book, called  “Cipészipari Ismeretek”, and (I believe) it has been published first in 1897 in Budapest. This is basically the Knöfel geometric method.

So, step by step.. (appreciate it – you can hardly find these steps in the book – they didn’t waste time to use line breaks in the book.. 🙂 )

1. Measure the foot!

2. Let’s calculete with a foot with a 36 PP (24 cm) lenght! balls: 22 cm (width from this: 22-1=21, 21/3=7, 7+1=8 cm. This will be the width of the insole.

3. Create a rectangle! let’s add a half centimeter to the 8, and add 2 cm (modern times: you can use 3) to the lenght.

4. Mark the corners

5. Mark “A” from “1” up 2/3 leght of the foot! (24 cm x 2/3 = 16 cm), then measure up 2 PP* and you get “B”, cut it half and mark “C”

*why 2 PP? Good question, thanks! 36 divided with thew smallest foot size in use: 18. If you make this to a bigger foot size, you have to alter it

6. Start a line from “B” to 2-4. You got “D”

7. Measure 105° from C

8. Name the new points: D, E

9. Mark 1,5 cm from “4” right, 1,75 cm from “3” left

I believe now you can use a picture, hmm?

Good. Focus. More stuff will come.

10. Give 2 cm to the length and draw a line

11. Measure half centimeter from point “B” – name it “F”

12. Connect FG, then DH points

13. take the 1/5 of the length and mark it on the “1” “4” line. Measure down 1 cm. Call them “5” and “6” points

14. Measure 1/2 cm from “6” right (name: “K”) and measure 1/5 of the instep right (This is not a strict rule – check the footprint also!)

15. Connect “K” with the half of “E-C” line (“S”) and “L” with “D”

16. Take the half of “K” “L” line, name it “O” then measure 1 cm left (name “P”)

17. Connect “P” and “F”

18. Make a line from “5” to left and name the new point “M” and “N” – we don’t do nothing with this line at the moment, but this is an important line. We call it (sorry I can just translate Hungarian) “heel-trace-line”.

19. Measure 1/2 cm right from “1” and 2,5 left from “2”. Name them “7” and “8”

20. Almost done! Connect “7” – “K” and “8” – “L”

21. Find the front – take the half of the line there. Name it “I”

If you have followed all the instructions, you must have something like this:

And now freehand drawing, and you are done!

I would do it like this:

Note: this guide is from more than 100 years old – feet were more narrow and fashion was also different.

5 thoughts on “Insole Shape Construction with the Geometric Method

  1. Strangely enough, this looks a lot like my foot, except that my toes would be all squished together in this shoe. It is also almost an exact duplicate of Italian lasts I recently bought which date from the 70’s or so. That must be the design for the mind or how we want our feet to look opposed to how are feet are naturally structured.

    1. Do not judge like this. Believe this is a comfortable form, thanks to the “action length”, which is longer of these shoes, than normal ones. We design this last with plenty work and believe or not: we count with the foot in.

      ps. in the ’70s I can hardly believe they produced wide lasts with asymmetric axis, metatarsal support.

  2. Everytime my shoes are too tight or too loose, or I need to buy thight ones to make them fit after soaring days)… congrats for you site! I love to see your shoemakings.

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