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Walking Shoe Guide: Shoe Construction

What They Mean by Boards and Lasts


Updated March 29, 2014

ABEO SMARTsystem 3650 Shoes

ABEO SMARTsystem 3650 Shoes

© The Walking Company

Remove the insole of the shoe and you can find out many things about its construction.

Slip lasted shoes: You will see a sewn seam running the length of the shoe. Slip-lasted shoes are the most flexible and and are less stable. This is good construction for feet with high arches.

Board lasted shoes: Under the insole, a cardboard board runs the length of the shoe. This is a very stable and less flexible construction. Board lasted shoes are good for flatter feet.

Combination lasted shoes: These shoes have a cardboard in the rear half, and a seam up the front half. These are more flexible than board lasted shoes, and more stable than slip lasted shoes.

Outer Sole
Carbon rubber is very durable, but is heavy and not very flexible. A blown rubber outsole is lightweight, but not very durable.

Shoe Last
Look at the bottom of the shoe to see which last the shoe was formed on.

Curved last: A thin strip connects the heel and ball of the foot. This makes the shoe light and flexible and is intended for people with a high arch.

Semi-curved last: This is more flexible than the straight last, yet more stable than the curved last. It has a wider strip connecting the heel and ball of the foot. It is intended for people with normal arches.

Straight last: This is the least flexible and the most stable kind of last. They are intended for people with flat feet.

What is Your Arch Type? Wet Test: To tell what type of foot you have, dunk your foot in water and then place it on a surface that will leave an imprint of your foot. If the ball and heel of your foot are not joined or are joined by a narrow band, then you have a high arched foot. If they are joined by a wide band, then you have a normal foot. If they are joined by a really wide band and have little flare where the arch should be, then you have a flat foot.

Next page: Test Shoe Flexibility

Walking Shoe Guide
1. Walking Shoe Guide Intro
2. Top Picks for Shoes by Shoe Type
3. What Do Shoe Lasts and Shapes Mean?
4. Flex Test Your Walking Shoes
5. How to Get Fitted for Walking Shoes
6. Finding the Right Shoe Store
7. Walking Shoe Reviews

Based on article contributed by Paul Adams, 3/97.

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