I know you’re thinking, “What in the world is a shoe last?”, well a shoe last is an impression of a human foot made so that shoemakers can use it and design around the model. A rare photo of one surfaced today on the internet is one of Nike’s original shoe last. The last was modeled after Steve Prefontaine, a world class runner from back in the days when Nike had just started off. This shoe last is an important relic not only to Nike but to the millions of Nike sneaker owners. As Kicksologists we not only need to know what we’re wearing, but also how we’re wearing it with the stories behind it.
The impression was used to make many of the early 70’s silhouettes so designs like the Nike Montreal or the Nike Cortez basically any old classic runner model was based off Prefontaine’s foot. With the innovations made since then Prefontaine’s shoe last was the forefather of Nike Running so now you have things like the Presto or Air Maxes or even any of the Flyknits we have today.
The Prefontaine last is owned by Nike shoe innovator Mike Friton who probably still uses it til this day. It’s interesting to see things like this surface the internet because as consumers we don’t really think of the creative processes behind making a shoe but with an artifact like this, especially when it’s still used today, it allows for us to dig into some of these things and learn some history.