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Everything You Need to Know Vol. III: Lasts



There’s a certain confidence gained when you look into the mirror and see a suit that fits perfectly or that your new haircut is exactly what you were looking for.  The same can be said when you look down and your shoes and boots look exactly like you want them to. Although lots of details lead you to loving a style, the shape of the boot is a huge part of how you feel when you see that pair that calls out to you. 





You'll sometimes hear us mention "lasts" when we talk about our styles.

"What in the heck is a last?" you might be saying (we can't hear you but we're guessing some of you are at least thinking it...)

The boots in your closet and on your feet are the shape of a foot because of a last. The term is referring to the solid form that a shoe is molded around, defining the shape and design of your favorite styles (think Pinnochio's feet minus the puppet). They often come in pairs made from various materials - hardwood, cast iron or high density plastic.




While the same toe shapes can be seen universally throughout the fashion industry, the names will vary among brands. We've listed our two most popular versions using the unique names we call them by here at HELM, but don't be deterred. No matter what brand or even what continent you're on, these are two favorites that you're sure to see everywhere.


THE 323


The classic Americana work boot styles are usually seen using this last. With it's rounded shape and added room in the toe box, this is a tried and true favorite that you're sure to recognize.

A perfect example of the saying "form follows function," the 323 shape is made to be comfortable and functional, with a clean and straightforward design that will never go out of style.

"I love to design on the 415, but I always come back to wearing the 323, I think because of the nostalgia it brings looking down at it in it’s similarities to my old hiking boots and work boots."

Joshua Bingaman | Founder of HELM



THE 415


Many people view this as a "dressier" style of last, as it has a more tapered and streamlined appearance. Although capable of taking on a more casual look when paired with a cap toe, this is one of the most versatile shapes and, when looking for an everyday style, is a last that can be dressed up or down with ease. Even though it looks more narrow than other options out there, the 415 is available in both D and EE width for plenty of room and comfort. 

"The 415 is my favorite because I can wear it casual as much as dress it up. The toe is just tapered enough to wear with a suit and just round to enough to sport with denim."

Bradley Day | President of HELM



Now that you're well versed in lasts, you're ready for the next blog in the series. You won't have to wait long, so stay tuned for the fourth installment - leathers.
Want to know what you missed in Volume I and II? Check those emails out here!