Cowboy Boot Fitting | Texas Traditions Handmade Boots | Lee Miller

Hi I’m Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project and here at The Hanger Project we
love to help the well-dressed take care
of their wardrobes. Earlier this year I had an
opportunity to go down to Austin, Texas and visit with Lee Miller from Texas
Traditions. He’s easily one of the most renowned preeminent custom bootmakers around these days and he is a legend in his own right here in Texas. I had an opportunity to visit him to commission my first pair of custom boots through Lee Miller and the first part of that process
was going down and having him take detailed measurements of my feet. You know, based in a small humble workshop off of South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, Lee Miller is not just making boots for country music legends and Texas oilmen but also for ordinary people like you and me. Lee Miller is an absolute pleasure to work with and one of the things
that really struck me is his humility and commitment to the craft and speaking with Lee he is as passionate about boot making and about craftsmanship today as he probably was when ever he
began his career. And it’s one of the things that I’ve
really appreciated about him was his humility his genuineness and just his true commitment to craftsmanship and so and going down and having my measurements taken it absolutely blew me away because it was one of the most thorough and detailed processes of having my measurements taken that I’ve ever
experienced. And so in this video we’re going to show you the full process of lead taking measurements and he actually walk you through each step kind of explaining why and what he’s doing so that you can better understand them. And so this is quite a long video I
believe it’s almost 45 minutes. But we didn’t want to cut anything
from the process. We really wanted to have the entire
process available to you through this video so that you could see everything
that he’s doing and really understand the purpose of his measurements and his process. So enjoy this video if you have any questions about this process. Feel free to ask them in the
comments section below. I’ll try to get back to all those
questions personally. And lastly I hope you’re able to
enjoy this process as much as I did. Lee, nice to see you. Thanks for coming. Oh sure. Thank you for coming into
the show. You know it’s so exciting to finally
be back. You know I’ve been I guess looking
forward to finally getting a pair of boots started for
years it seems like. Well we’ll do a good job for you. So the first step is going to be taking measurements, right. Yeah absolutely. So that’s the beginning of making a
pair of boots is just measurement for you. So I’m gonna spend some time with you. We’ll go through the
process and then after that it’s just
setting up the last and taking it from
there. Okay so great anyway so go ahead and remove your shoes and then the socks you’re wearing
today, Kirby, are those the socks that you
might wear with your boots? Yes it’s a pair of
dress socks, is that- do people wear different socks with their boots? I don’t I don’t know what . It’s all personal preference. Some customers like a thin sock. So I wear a heavy sock. But it’s all it just all comes down
to what you like. Yeah the thicker the sock obviously the more padding really. OK. So. Do you have any do you own any
boots, Kirby? You know, I don’t own any
boots. This is my first pair. I do have a bunch of dress shoes of
course. OK. So this will be your first pair. Wow. OK. It’s a privilege. Do you have any issues with getting anything to fit? You know the biggest issue I have with is that kind of a high instep right here. OK. And so. I’ve got a bump on top of my foot that you know anything produces discomfort around my shoe that’s it. Yeah OK. Other than that it’s ok? But other than that I. Have a pretty straight. If you were to buy something just
off the shelf what would you wear in terms of
size? Like a 9. A 9. And what about width. A standard D. OK so a 9D shoe. And what I’m going to do is I’m
going to write down the comments you make so that I know to pay
attention to that. So for instance you feel like you have a high instep and you can’t you’ll sometimes get
pressure on them. Especially towards the end of the
day. Sure. So yes as I work on your order Kirby the things that you tell me
I’m going to be focusing on and I’ll make some notes too as to what I see what I’m looking at when I look at your foot Kirby is
just trying to determine the
characteristics of your foot. So you have a high arch a high arch and a high end step your foot your foot is fairly thin. And so that means that anything
that’s tight is going to hurt you. OK. And so because there’s not much padding on your
foot like somebody had a very fleshy foot and then you could squeeze and the customer wouldn’t feel wouldn’t really feel it probably
would even like it. A lot of times when you shake someone’s hand basically you’re shaking there you’re touching
their foot because the hand and the foot are similar in terms of how they’re how your body is made. OK. So you have your handshake. If it’s if it’s a fleshy hand the foot will be similar. So when you’re really when you’re
meeting somebody. I had a professor tell me that once. And it’s actually true. Now whenever you shake someone’s
hand you think of their foot. Well you’re supposed to if you have your act together. Part of the fitting. Yeah. And so for instance you have a high arch high instep and you have a straight heel. OK. So those are all things that I’m looking at. They go they go
together as a package. And so those are the kind of notes and I’m going to be making as a
description of your foot. So the high instep you would build it up. The arch would be support in the
insole. Yeah. I mean. What about that straight heel. I mean how does that change. Well you just want to make sure that
like for instance if something had too much
cop in the back it would hurt you. OK. And so it’s really it’s just it’s a description of what the last would look like. The last should have a high arch the last should have an instep
that’s similar to your foot and all of the stuff that I’m going
to do is going to show me and these notes just kind of highlight it. Yeah. And I’m going to use a
Brannock device and you’re just going to remain
seated. There you go. OK. And so you’ll do a Brannock device and the Brannock device is going to
give me a total length and then it’s also going to give me
the heel to ball. So total length you’re actually really a 10. And then heel to ball which is what
the critical part is that’s for the fitting. Looks like you’re a nine and a half. So all that means is you have long toes and you’re shorter this way. OK. And we’ll do that on each
flight. And so where the shoes should flex. Is that is the. Yeah you always whenever you fit you always fit the ball. So once again Kirby and in terms of length and the Brannock device is pretty accurate. It gives you a starting point. So if you were to fit me in a pair
of off the shelf boots, you’d fit in a 9 1/2? 9 1/2, yeah because that’s that’s what you are heel to ball. I guess I’m a 9 UK. And the first thing we’re going to do is we are going to do. And we will do this foot first. Set your foot there. And. So I’m just going to have you
stand up Kirby and just stand normally and try not to move, equal weight on each foot. So we’ll do a side profile. So this is all of this information that I’m taking this two dimensional information. It’s all going to be used to create the last. So now we’ll trace do a border outline of the foot and once again I’m using a tracing
device. Really kind of getting around those
toes. Yeah and I’m also pressing on the toes to make sure that they get full extension. And then we’ll get the center of the
big toe the center of the small toe. The fifth metatarsal and the beginning of the metatarsal which is here. And then over here the first joint. And then we’ll do an inner wayfaring
line. And what’s that? That is really just where your foot
is touching. The paper. And that was something that Charlie
Dunn did. It really he didn’t see a lot of
bootmakers doing. So. Charlie didn’t use an ink print. He used the pencil just to give him. I’ll be using both. Now we’ll get a total, total length. So you kind of you reference those
two and triangulate it together. Absolutely. It’s all connected to the total length standing. And then go ahead and have a seat
please and just leave your phone right
where it is and then we’ll use the contour
gauge. This is kind of interesting. This is something that I first saw in 1976 being used to measure John Wayne. Really? Yeah I graduated from school in 1976 and bought an Esquire magazine because it showed John Wayne being
measured for cowboy boots. And there I saw the contour gauge being used for the first time. And this is really a very important tool. It’s going to show me if I was to see what your foot looked like, at the straight ball, this is what your foot would look
like. And so the last should replicate that. So this little bit of information is
critical. So there’s your foot. And you can kind of see the shape. So this is how tall that joint is. This is how broad it is. So I’m going to make a copy of that. I saw John Wayne having his foot measured that way. And then when I came to work for
Charlie Dunn he was using it. OK. And so yeah. And so it’s really it’s great. It’s an easy tool to get. I mean they sell this at any
hardware store. And again just about triangulating, so what points on a foot do you do that, do you do that at
the straight ball? So that’s going from the first join to the fattest part of a little toe. OK so that’s a straight ball. Yes so everything all is connected. And it all has to do with giving your giving you a good fit. So we’ll do the same thing to the
other foot. And so the straight ball I guess, where the foot flexes I mean is affecting kind of the way the
foot feels like it balances on the shoe the way that shoe feels like it
balances on the foot? Right. Because I’ve had pairs of shoes
before. I feel like the balance is off on
one of the shoes because the flex point might be a little off. Interesting. Well if we make the last match your foot then we’re there. And that’s the whole goal is to get the last to be the same as the
foot. OK we’re going to do the exact same
thing here Kirby go ahead and stand up and stand with equal weight on each
foot. So everybody who measures is going to do it a little bit
different. And they’re all going to use just different things that they feel that they need to do the work that they’re trying to do. So I’m doing this really just to get the information that I’m looking for in order to
build the last. How has your measurement techniques
kind of changed or evolved over your career? In the beginning you know of course
you’re starting from zero and you don’t know anything and. And then in school you learn very basic information. Charlie Dunn was a big help to me in terms of getting me started. He was known as a fitter. And so he was doing things that I’d
never seen anyone do before. Like what? Like the weight bearing line. The contour gauge, things like that. Paying attention to. I’m going to show you in a second, Kirby, something that you know is really important in terms of making a pair of cowboy boots. And you’ll you’ll see like some people will will measure the foot with a tape measure while while you’re seated. And what we’re going to do is we’re
going to measure your foot in the air. And so you’ll get a different end
result. A lot of people will do it with the foot resting on the on the table and then with the foot in the air
you’re getting in a sense a truer measurement. And more reflective of what the last should actually be. And that’s a measurement of the foot
not under load? Yeah non weight bearing. So. So right now you’re full weight bearing and most shoe makers and some bootmakers measure semi weight bearing. And I’m going to measure you so I’m taking tracings of your feet full weight bearing then the contour gauge is taking
semi weight bearing and then all the girth measurements
will be taken non-weight bearing. And so you get a you get a good
picture of the foot that way. So go ahead and have a seat. Just leave your foot right where it
is and we’ll do the contour gauge
again. So this is taken right at the
straight ball. How do you see people’s feet
evolving? So like I’m 34 you know I’m investing in a pair of
boots. You know I hope to wear for three
four decades. Oh yeah. How will my foot change? Will I at any point have to come and readjust making adjustments to
the boot or. As you grow older you know it is just a question of gravity. Gravity. And because your feet your whole body rests on your feet your feet will go through changes as you age with certain feet they’ll grow
longer with certain feet they’ll grow wider and those are the kind of things
that you can adapt to. I think I was initially an eight and a half as a young adult and now I’m down to 10. This is just basically a bridge. And so as the bridge collapses slightly, which it will, your foot will lengthen. But somebody with a very high arch will not see much in terms of
lengthening they’ll see more in terms of
spreading. Really? So it really is foot type. How much does having a pair of bespoke shoes, you know if you’re always wearing bespoke, not always but wearing bespoke primarily
bespoke shoes or bespoke boots. Do you find that the shape of the
foot, because you have a more precise fit
doesn’t change as much if you’re wearing
ready to wear? Exactly. You can take a healthy foot and you can destroy it by wearing something that doesn’t fit. And the foot will go through
profound changes just to adapt to the space that you put it in. So yes if something fits you it’s going to be supportive. There are people who believe that we should just be barefoot. But if this is a structure that does change with time it makes sense to go ahead and to wear something that will support it and not allow it to break down unnaturally. So you can take a healthy foot and create an unhealthy foot simply by wearing something that
doesn’t fit. And what’s worse then. If one is worse than the other shoe that’s too large and there’s too much room or a shoe that’s too tight or, what are the worst characteristics
of fit. The common thought is that you
always fit long and you fit narrow. And that would be the best in terms
of preventative. If you fit short and wide that would be the best way
to hurt your feet. OK. So really when in doubt go long and go narrow. So as long as you do that you’ll get proper arch support. So go ahead and cross your legs so
that one foot is over the other and your foot’s in the air and just kind of bring it down. There you go. So you know we talked about some of
the differences in you know in boot making and shoe making and and so this is one of the things is now your foot is non weight bearing. And so because of that I’m going to
get the smallest possible measurement that I could get. And the tape the function the tape
is… The function of the tape is just to
mark points of reference and everything will be recorded. So this is the short heel. And of course how you pull the tape is critical. You just don’t want to do anything
to the tape. Just have a natural measurement. Which is what I’m trying to achieve. This is just a position point. So that’s the position point from
which all other measurements are taken? That’s just the position point from where these measurements will be
taken. It’s a reference point for me. So what I’m going to start doing is
I’m going to start measuring your foot Kirby as we descend and go towards the toe and I’m going to be making notes of
any changes or how it changes. And so as you’re validating the
measurements on the last you’re checking this measurement you to do the same
measurement on the last to make sure that
they… These are all reference points. And so I’m trying to go off of
specific bones. As if you look at the tracing you’ll notice that there are
certain reference points marked and those are all bones. And so we’re measuring really from. For the most part bone to bone. And you’ve had your feet measured, Kirby, by a lot of different people? Well I mean three. Three, and have you noticed just – is that three counting me or three others? Three shoemakers plus you. OK. And have you noticed that those
three shoe makers did it all differently? You know, they all do it
differently. I mean some take more measurements
than others and then you know I think what’s
been fascinating for me was shoemaking is to see who is it that does an intermediate
fitting and who doesn’t. And then what’s
that intermediate fitting like so. Right. You know John Lobb London is
straight to finish. Is that right. You know, I’ve never seen their measurements but they just claim to have the
experience to be able to take it straight to
fitting or straight to finish. Well you know Cleverley does an intermediate fitting, Foster’s does an intermediate
fitting, Dimitri Gomez in Paris has an actual trial shoe that he
cuts open you know to actually see where the
shoes fitting. OK. Or where the foot is fitting in the
shoe. This is the waist of the foot Kirby and the waist is that natural
hollow. Yeah I’ve I’ve found that if I pay close attention to this part of it. And take lots of information and then if I pay pay close
attention to the next step which is making the
last I generally take two days to make the last. And so because I really slow it down and take careful measurements and then I carefully interpret it because of that, I generally get better end results. Eliminating the need for a trial
fitting. You also want to make sure that the person who measures the foot is the person who makes the
last. OK because there’s all these slight little variances. And when you start interjecting other people in it then you get
different interpretations. So it’s really tough. You know so I measure your feet. I’ve set up last. How soon after you do the measurements do you do the
last. I could I could I could do it three years from now. It wouldn’t change anything. OK. The only thing that would change
would be maybe your foot. But if you keep your weight stable then nothing should change. So if you notice I’m making
measurements, I’m making points on the tape as to where everything crosses over and the tape is going to get saved. And so you put this tape on the
last? No the tape is just going to be measured but it won’t be put on the last. So I have one more point on the foot
that I’m going to take which is the straight
ball and if you remember I did the
contour gauge of the straight ball so now I’m
taking a girth measurement of that same point and both of these things are going
to work together. But that’s the straight ball is more comfort of the toes, of the fore part. So there we go. This is done. The only thing we’re lacking really
is a leg measurement on this. So we’re going to do the same thing
now to the other foot. So seeing that done Kirby I mean did you did you notice things that I was
doing that maybe other people… Yes I don’t so many people do the vertical measurement of the foot. OK. You know I’ve have never seen
someone do the non-weight bearing measurements. It’s always a weight bearing a semi,I’ve seen semi and full. But never non? Never non. So what’s interesting is and this is this is actually true. If I take your foot measurement here and I get nine inches and then I bring it down here I may get nine in three days. But normally shoemakers will go
ahead and reduce that measurement to achieve their ultimate goal which unbelievably is non-weight bearing. So it’s kind of like you’re going in
the back door to get to the front yard. This where we’re just going to it. And the other thing you see is a
bunch of scribbling something like know “high instep” scribble it on the
tracing. If you notice I haven’t done
anything. No scribbles. Yeah. And that’s because there’s nothing
to note. Everything and everything. Everything is just going. There’s nothing glaring. So if this was a tall joint I would make a note of that. If this was protruding greatly I would make a note of that. So you would scribble? Oh yeah absolutely. But in your particular case nothing has been nothing has been nothing is really sticking to that extent. That’s a good way of putting it I
guess. So once again we’re going back to
the straight heel. I’m sorry the, the short heel. Now the short heel is not used in really in shoe making. It’s used not in this manner. It’s used in a pull on boot. So a pull on boot would be like a riding boot? Riding boot, cowboy boots anything anything you pull on you don’t lace generally has to do with heel height also. So this is 13 and an eighth. That’s quite a bit
different than the other one. And so how is that important in
terms of the construction so that so that it doesn’t slip at the heel? Yes that’s actually true also too. We’re going to be cutting
paper patterns. And that short heel is used in certain aspects to get your foot in a pull on boot, we have we have dual problems. We’ve got to get your foot into the
boot, and then once your foot into the
boot the boot has to fit. So we have we have a problem of just getting you in. And so the short heel is going to
come back and help us getting your foot in the boot. It’ll come and then as I descend the instep that’s when the measurements become relevant to the last. OK. So the short heel is really just to get you in and out of it. OK. If that makes any sense. And that’s something that you’d see
maybe like an English shoemaker using for riding boots. Exactly. And they would be measuring you
different writing. Well they would be
measuring you semi weight bearing and that would change everything. That would change all the
measurements everything would expand. And so how much, you know, whenever you’re kind of
studying you know you’ve studied a lot in terms of I guess developing your method. How much of it is taking inspiration from shoemakers taking inspirations
from bootmakers makers or just completely
developing your own technique or what Charlie taught you? What you find out is crafts person artists anybody who makes anything that you really need to focus. You need to pay attention to what
other people are doing to find hints of how you might be able to use that knowledge and then you basically take it back and you could call it woodshedding where you’re using it you’re trying to see what works what
doesn’t work and you throw out the things that
don’t help you. So really it’s in the beginning in the early in the early years you’re more you’re being open to new methods and things like that. And then as you slowly develop your own style you slowly find out what works what doesn’t
work what’s necessary what isn’t
necessary. In the early days of measuring I might have taken an hour to
measure someone’s feet and they may have a plane to catch. Yeah. And so you’ve got to go ahead and you can’t. You don’t have the luxury of just spending time. So you really, so in the beginning
you do pay attention to everybody and all the things that are out
there every little nugget that you can find and then you slowly learn what is relevant and what isn’t. And of course the ultimate goal is
the same thing. You want to make sure you do
a good job and that’s what this is all heading towards. It is for us to do a good job for you. Have you trained any other last
makers? I have trained a few. This this is really in my opinion the hardest part is to measuring the foot is not hard and it’s taking that data and making a last. And I read a book that Ferragamo wrote called what was called Shoemaker Dreams. And in the book he talks about the secret that he developed fitting. And how to make a shoe that fits so
beautifully but he never tells you in the book. So when I read the book it was in
1986. Well number one I was angry because I was looking for the secret. And he didn’t. He just he kind of tantalized you that it was there. But he didn’t tell you what it was. But I’ve spent from 1986 till now finding the secret. And I did find it. But you can’t tell us. Not at this point but but maybe what it is is that you know… On your tombstone: “The secret is…” Well no I, the people that work for
me Kirby the people that work here they all are part of it and we show them you know all of the stuff that I’ve learned passing
on to them. And so the secret will be, they’ll be shown. Yeah all of that stuff. It’s not going to be on my
tombstone. Did Charlie share that with you? I mean he Charlie was an amazing figure and yes he was very open about his techniques. And at any time I had a question he answered them. But I’ve learned a lot also on my own and so my techniques are a combination of all of the years of just me working as a bootmaker. You know I started in 1975. Wow. You’re going on 40 years. I haven’t done the math. It’s hard to do that. Incredible career though. It’s funny. I mean it’s just really
it just started out as something I
wanted to do and it’s become a passion. I mean your Instagram page I love
following because you know it’s very clear, you know, you’ve got the passion. You know really someone that’s just been keep getting out you know. Yeah. I mean that that the fire and the intensity and the passion
you can tell is still as strong today as you know it is for many people
whenever they just begin something. That’s critical to keep that passion going because what happens is you keep learning you keep getting
better you keep fighting you keep finding out little little nuances and that that’s a continuous
improvement. What challenges you? I mean like
what is it that you know kind of during your craft
whenever you get a ride produces that kind of profound sense of satisfaction? Well honestly Kirby it’s when… I know that I can make a beautiful
boot. But it’s the fitting. That’s the hard part. Making sure that your boots fit
properly everything just kind of is right
there. It either does or it doesn’t. So for me I know I can make a beautiful well-balanced boot. But the fit is the critical part and so that’s the challenge is to
make sure they fit. And everybody’s foot is different. Yeah. So it’s a continuous challenge to make sure that I do it right. So when’s the moment when someone, I don’t have your boots yet, right so I don’t, it is, you know whenever a customer puts on
their boot for the first time you can see their face? I mean yeah I mean I’m literally
looking at their feet. Their feet. Yeah but you’re feeling it like…? Well I try not to be so obvious but I’m looking at their feet. And of course I want them to be
happy with it, but it really is… Everything just comes down to that
one moment. Where they try them on. And if there’s any if you’ve done your if you’ve done your work right, the boots fit wonderfully and they’re going to be supportive and almost magical in terms of how they make your feet
feel. And can you feel that or can you see it? You can feel it and see it. Yeah. Now the last thing I’m going
to measure on you, Kirby, is your leg. OK. I don’t know how tall you want your
boots to be but the standard height is 12
inches. Do you feel you want to – You know I
like a taller boot. But it is a personal preference. Have you thought about that? I haven’t really thought of that. OK. I can give you a boot to try on. You can just see if I mean it won’t
fit you but it’ll be it’ll be the right
height and you want to do that? Or do you want me just to measure
leg and you can see? Well pull your pant legs up. I mean so obviously a tall person might want a taller boot but it does come down just a
personal preference. I like the way a tall boot looks. Yeah I think I might prefer a taller
boot. OK so the standard boot is going to
be, and you just remain seated, the standard boot is 12 inches tall and so 12 inches is going to hit you
almost mid calf. So there’s 12 inches so we could go
up to 13 and that might be good. I’d probably go 13. I mean I like the idea of a formal
boot. You know, something that’s a little
dressier. OK. If it’s too tall you might find that it’s there’s 13 and it hits you about mid-calf. You want to settle there? That looks good. OK. So we’re at 13. How do you determine how much
allowance that you give the top of the boot? I mean basically I want to I want to give you a half an inch over your light measurement and you will have some customers that will say I want to tuck my pants in and so we have to allow for that. So the standard is a half an inch
over the leg measurement. OK. And that would be to fit underneath
a jean or a trouser. I mean you will have some customers that say
“listen you know my legs are really skinny. I always have problems with boots being extraordinarily
loose. I want them tight fitting to my
leg”. So of course I’m going to do that. But if you’re doing a measurement
plus half an inch and- Yeah. So so pretty much it’s just it’s a half an inch over the leg
measurement and that gives us a little bit of… So after I measure your leg the last thing I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and take an ink print of your feet and that will be used also in the last. Ok. And the ink print is a reference
point to the load or the load bearing trace. The ink print is going to give me a border outline which is what I
have already. And it’s also going to give me a
weight bearing part of the foot. OK. And from the ink print I can see the arch. I can see the structure of the foot. And that’s going to help me do the
bottom. So when I contour the bottom I’m
relying on the ink print. I’m relying on
this too, but the ink print gives me more depth. Nowadays most people have abandoned the ink print but you’ll see shoemakers and bootmakers still using it. Why would someone abandon the ink
print? Technology. Nowadays everything is in 3-D imaging and I mean as a bootmaker I need the clarity of the print. And I believe rubber was invented in 1836 and as far as I know the this came one year later. Really. Yeah. So all it is is a rubber
bladder. Back then. So bootmakers had been using this since the 19th century. Absolutely and there’s different forms in which it’s done. But it’s basically I mean ink to this side, put paper here you’ll stand on it you’ll push it. You’ve seen this before right, Kirby? I have seen it here. Have you ever had anyone do it? Never? Not all the shoe makers? Never in all my life. Oh that’s interesting. I don’t even know of a shoemaker
that uses them. Really. Now you have the book Handmade Shoes for Men. OK. In that book they’re using this. So that’s Laszlo Vass. Vass. Yeah. And so he’s using it but really you’re using it because you’re looking for information. And this will give you the
information you need. I’m using blue ink and blue ink will give you. It will be easier to read than if I was using black ink. Yeah. So it’s primitive technology. So I’m going set your foot on it
Kirby and then I’m just going to have you
stand. There you go. Just stand with equal weight in each
foot and just try not to move. So we’ll do a border outline of the
foot and I’m using a pencil, which is exactly what I used to trace your foot. And once again and pressing down on all the toes to get full extension. And then I’m going to mark the same
reference points that I did on the tracing. So this will show me things that I
can’t see with the traditional tracing. All right go ahead and have a seat
please and just lift your foot. There you go. So there is a great reveal. Wow! So there we go. You’ll notice how these two are very
similar in terms of the inner weight bearing. So from this I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to find the
metatarsals and that will give me the arch
curve. And if I saw any if I saw any darkness that would be pressure and it would I would want to work to make sure that the bottom is
sculpted to relieve the pressure. So I mean obviously there’s darkness here darkness there. Normally it’s the foots like a
tripod. And so you got one two three. And I can see there is the fifth metatarsal there. So when I get ready to use I’m going to find all the metatarsals and I’ll do a centerline of the
foot. And you’ve seen it on my Instagram
right? So but you can see things here that you cannot see here. Yeah. And so for me I need that because I’m trying to do a good job for you. So whenever you’re building in the
insole you’ll use that to kind of absolutely kind of
sculpt. Absolutely. What is it called. Dig it out or… We’ll go ahead and match the bottom of the last to the bottom of your foot. And we’ll be using primarily this, the information I gather from this. We had a young man who was here in 1991 from Munich, Germany and he went through the German shoe
making program. And so he came here to learn to make cowboy boots and so we had to do a curriculum with the German government. They were dictating they wanted to know what he was going to be
taught. This was a two and a half year
program we did with him. And they even told us how much we
had to pay him. Oh really? But anyway this guy was amazing. Of all the people that we’ve had here, he was the best. And where is he now? He lives here. In Austin? Yes. Is he doing boots? No no he said it was. Too difficult? Too difficult. You nailed it Kirby. I mean he was the best. I’m going to do the same thing to
your other foot. But I learned a lot from him, Kirby. What about the, I mean, you’ve had people come in from all over the world. Do you see a difference in like the
Japanese versus the British versus…? Oh yeah absolutely. The Japanese are amazing. I mean I’ve seen their work and it’s just it’s hard to believe that a human being can
achieve such levels of perfection. So they’re devoted to perfection. They’re devoted to the whatever they do they just seem to do it to a higher level. And that’s that’s very nice to see. It makes you feel good as a craftsman to see somebody poor their whole being into it. Do you find them and you think that someone can
become too clinical about a craft? Yeah you absolutely can be to come become too clinical. But if if you’re like, we’re in business, Kirby, and so you you can’t become so clinical that you just drive yourself out of business. So it’s all rooted in practicality. And as long as we’re rooted in
practicality it actually helps us. To not go too extreme. Go ahead and have a seat and just lift your foot. There you go. So you put it right here and then that’s…. Yeah. So I’m basically looking at this. And you can see the. You can see the correlation between
the tracing that was done to the pencil and the use of the ink print. But the print gives you more depth. That’s the way I would be using it. Yeah just like that. I want a center line. OK. OK and the center line will be you know I’m going to measure across the
heel to get a center point and I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to do all the five
metatarsals and I’ll get a nice I’ll get some type of an arch curve and then I’ll connect one to the other and I’ll be able to see it and that’ll show me how the foot moves and it’ll show me you know how to
support you. So I’m looking for I’m looking for the there’s the fifth
metatarsal. There’s the First metatarsal. And you can see that. I can see it. Yeah and then I’m looking for the others that are in the middle. And so I can find the center of your toe, and travel back to where the
metatarsal is and that can give me an idea of the shape of the bottom of your
foot. So it’s not an X-ray. You know, Kirby, that at one point
they were using x rays in footwear. You’ve heard that story? I haven’t. And if you if you meet somebody who’s old enough they remember
running into the shoe store as a kid and putting their hand in the x ray machine to see the bones. And we’ve had customers tell us
that. So you know they were using it so that you could go
ahead and X-ray the foot in the shoe and make sure it fit. Much like today you say they cut
open the shoe and peer into it. So of course it’s unhealthy. But those are the things I’m looking for, Kirby. I’m looking for the metatarsals, looking for any undue pressure. And that’s just helping the shoe be comfortable because again, the fit and the balance of the last. And this is something you cannot get in an off the rack shoe. It will be missing because the last is the key. And like the shoes you wore in today
are beautiful. So the last is the key. Here’s the last. And so I want the last to basically represent the foot. And then we’ll add the toe shape
after. And of course I’m going to do things
to will last. I’m not basically taking a mold of your foot I’m using it as is. I’m going to go ahead and sculpt it. So it will be it’ll be a facsimile of your foot but it won’t be your foot. OK. But but you’ll never get that in something off the rack. Yeah. And my point is this. Everything that’s made that you can just go in and buy off the
shelf, it all started with the last. Well, the person who made the last, if they didn’t know their trade ,they would make a bad last and then that would produce a bad
shoe and it would hurt the wearer. And they have to produce a last that is general enough that it can fit 85 percent of all feet. That’s right. But so there are so many points of reference on the bottom in the whole last long unless they are expert fitters they’re not going to do a good job. So the lastmaker relies on the seller to tell them if it’s a good fitter. And honestly the seller doesn’t
know. So you have a blind and a blind. So as the maker we can measure your foot we can sculp the last to fit you. And that’s the difference between
bespoke and off the rack is that it’s the knowledge of the maker in the last. And so even there within bespoke you
have a continuum because there’s a ton of custom boot
guys. You know but it’s like custom
shirts. And what does that mean? It’s all about focus and it’s what you focus on. So like getting back to what I said. I know that we can make a beautiful
boot. That part is relatively easy. Yeah this is the hard part. And so if I focus if my energies are focused on the hard part. I’ll have a better end result. So the last thing I need from you
Kirby, is your signature and all that means is you were here. That’s great. So this is, there you go, if you’ll just give me your
autograph. Right there. And we’re all done. What’s the day, September 21st? 22nd? September 22nd 2017. That’s exciting. OK thank you Kirby, so we’re done with the fitting. Hey Lee, thank you so much. You can step on down now. There we are. So as you can see, you know, Lee has taken detailed measurements and one of the
questions I asked Lee is that how soon after taking
these measurements. You know do you really need to sit
down and work on creating the last and Lee said you know with the detailed measurements and the precision and the thoroughness with which he does that he could take those measurements out of his cabinet a year or two years from now and still make a last that’s going
to fit perfectly. And Lee being particularly well known as such a great fitter, you can see that that the detail and the precision of his
measurements really do translate into a better quality last. So that was the first step, next step in this process is to work with his wife Carolyn to really determine what the boot design is going to look like so I’m going to do that next. I’m Kirby Allison founder of The
Hanger Project and here at The Hanger Project, we love helping the well-dressed
take care of their wardrobes. Please take a moment to visit where you can view the most
comprehensive and cohesive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care products in the world as well as other accessories for the
well-dressed. I’m Kirby Allison, founder of The
Hanger Project, and thanks for joining us.


  • I took as kirby being a little cocky shit, its almost as if he is mocking his methods, but i bet those were the best damn boots he has ever owned!!!

  • And how much are the cost of these new boots?

  • really wish you would have shown the final product.

  • ASMR ??

  • You are the Ben Shapiro of shoes.

  • I hope that you have a finished product video I would love to see them

  • 41:50 SQUIRREL!

  • You can tell this Kirby bloke is gay with a foot fetish.

  • I got the horses in the back

  • I'm from Texas, and have worn cowboy boots everyday for the last 33 years…..never even heard of this brillo haired creep. Dude damn sure ain't a Texan. "Oodles of time" f this guy….i wear luchesse

  • Fire, intensity, passion? How about careful, detail, analytical, focus. The bootmaker is a skilled craftsman.

  • Pls visit the Rios boot co in mercedes tx.

  • What is the cost to have these boots made? Total price?

  • Stop moving your head around dude… jesus

  • He makes beautiful boots

  • At around 20 minutes in.. shoemaker is like ‘uh huh, yeah uh, mm-hmm ok, uh huh’ and I think is really wanting to say STFU Kirby this is my way stop sounding like a know it all.

  • Close your eyes and it's 46 minutes of Bill Murray talking about measuring feet.

  • Plot twist: He just realized you were a city slicker with a lot of money so that whole measuring thing was bullshit to make you feel you got your money's worth.

  • I just can't get over how awful those socks are

  • if ben shapiro and report of the week had a dad

  • I’m from a rural Midwest cow town and most people just buy their boots at tractor supply lol I mean they’ve got Justin’s, ariats, timberlands, etc etc etc

  • Brannock Device never gets my size right. Using the device, I'm a 91/2, WRONG. I wear 11- 11 1/2 EE.

  • Millennials talk way too much

  • The client is an absolute patronising, smug man child.

  • OMG The measurement process. Amazing

  • Oh sorry but this video is just poorly planned and made.

  • I just want to punch you in the face Kirby. Were you raised by a house full of ladies? Try dressing like a real man.

  • Stfu Kirby let the man talk

  • Is there a follow-up video to this??

  • This video Kind of SUCKED ASS cause why…? Wheres the FINISHED BOOT BITCH? From September 22 2017 to video post January 2018 you don’t have a damn boot to show us? And you can’t tell us how much they cost either this is some key shit that’s needed to be told bro! The video aside from some unanswered questions was pretty good but what a waste of my time to have now reveal of the boot nor its cost!? Lame……..

  • Why in the hell did you go to Austin to get boots,Austin is not really Texas.

  • this is what Bucky Barnes has been doing after avengers

  • Wow this guy has a monumental superiority complex

  • Is that Jeff Goldblum?

  • somfin charlie done did? cowboys, sheesh

  • Shut up you weird lawyer looking dickhead and cut to the foot measuring. Lol

  • To all those who are calling out Kirby’s socks as women’s pantyhose, did you know that all your UnderArmour tees and shorts are made from the same cloth as women sexy panties? Yea.. That is right. Kevin Plank after trying out many variations of cotton finally ended up using the same cloth as used to make comfortable noline womens panties.

  • How can you spend so much of your time thinking and talking about male fashion but wear a suit that fits you so poorly

  • It is a privilege to see a true master, craftsman and artist of boot making … I have 2 questions… is your ring 8mm width? I have thought of making my wedding band wider… and do you have a video with the finished boots ? THANKS

  • A small squirrel runs over the tree in the left window at 41:50

  • Would it not work to make a mold and gipsum cast of a foot and use that instead of a wooden last?

  • Would it not work to make a mold and gipsum cast of a foot and use that instead of a wooden last?

  • The guy’s voice reminds me of Bill Murray for some reason.

  • when is kirby's boot gonna be finished???


    Lee Miller apprenticed under the late, great Charlie Dunn and took over the business when Dunn retired. Specializes in: Flashy designs, such as wild flames decorating the tops and trademark Charlie Dunn pinched rose overlays. Prices start at: $1,000. Turnaround time: Three years for new customers (they’re not taking any right now), thirteen months for old ones. Has made boots for: Country singer Lyle Lovett, rock singer Sting, actor Slim Pickens, golfer Arnold Palmer.

  • It's rely unbelievable how interesting is the job of a bootsmaker on, this kind of master craft is going to die out because nobody is able to teach the younger generation.

  • Tracing device = A pencil

  • If you close your eyes you can hear Nicolas Cage go through the process of boot fitting.

  • The hand foot thing is not true with me, my hand is slim and long fingered, my feet are literally hulk feet, really wide and solid flesh. Weird…

  • Wouldn't it be easier and more accurate to take a 3D laser scan of a foot?

  • So where are the boots? It’s been a year and a half

  • @KirbyAllison My Dad was a custom bootmaker and Lee was one of hos closest friends. Lee and his wife are gorgeous people who have taken many people from around the world to pass on the trade. Glad you got to meet them.

  • Those old guys seem to love arch support way too much. And i hate arch support, it only weakens the arch. Go see any building with an arch, there is no pillar bellow "supporting" the arch.

  • Kirby – have these been made yet?

  • This video would have been half the time if he just showed one foot

  • Considering what I have seen on this channel, I’m fairly impressed that you included western boots in you program.

  • So where is the video where you get your boots? All this time for the fitting and interviews you need to show the boots man.

  • God. This just goes on and on.

  • Hope you show us your boots when they are completed

  • Kirby, does your desk face a window with a busy street beyond?

  • Should have just stuck his foot into an industrial 3D scanner and had the last knocked out by a CNC

  • Watched on 1.5 speed lol

  • Imagine what a 3D scan would do.

  • True master craftsman

  • I was not expecting to watch this on it's two year anniversary

  • How much does it cost to get this done?

  • Note to self, for a good price,wear clean socks and make sure there are no holes with a toe sticking out.

  • Good pair of Levi's on the shoemaker.

  • Fun fact: the Brannock Device was invented in Syracuse, NY, and last year the city's baseball team, the Syracuse Chiefs, had a night saluting the Brannock Device. They wore custom jerseys and stuff and called themselves the "Syracuse Devices" 😛

  • I can't believe how many measurements he takes! Amazing!

  • 2:16 "lee, nice to see ya. Thanks for coming" As he's sitting in Lee's shop haha.. extremely awkward greeting.

  • Fascinating stuff

  • Disgusting how thin his socks are

  • What an absolute craftsman!!!

  • If it takes two day to make last form, how about just making casting of foot an have perfect reference points an save time!

  • Where's your wool dress/casual socks? Straight up dress socks for a boot fitting?

  • “When you shake someone’s hand your touching their foot”

    Also Kirby if you would stop talking so we can hear the foot shaker more that would be great.

  • having a high instep sucks, worst feet you can have if you like shoes, even some sneakers can feel snug despite the material being soft

  • Seriously, all of this is NOTHING but massagin rich wankers egos. It's pathetic. That they think they need perfect strangers to dote on them like this, NO one should think they're THIS self important, that they need to make someone, using their fathers money, spend SUCH a massive amount of time doing something that basically no one is gonna notice, and LITERALLY no one is gonna give a sh*t about. It's just pathetic. Seriously. And Kirby, SHAME on you for massaging these pricks ego's so

  • I came here from Trenton & Heath

  • If only at 4:12…”alright, we’ll I’ll go ahead and make a 9D then, see ya in a few weeks!”

  • I fucked this guy's wife. Her name is nikki

  • Louie X14 would love this channel

  • This music is horrible

  • This is some prime asmr material

  • Why is he wearing pantyhose???

  • What's this Yankee getting some boots 4 lol

  • Good presentation and very informative video.

  • 3 years after if I am still alive I will get to see the boots. ?

  • 01:11 They teach you that at Harvard? JK – Ha! BEGAN.

  • You can touch me from heel to ball any day cowboy

  • Seeing the value of an expert

  • Kirby, I want to see these finished boots!

  • dSo did he gets boots made? I wanted to see the final boot but I dont see any videos on his channel on them. anyone got a link? Maybe I missed it.

  • Just imagine the superior quality we can get when Texas gets just as overrun by immigrants as California.
    We're gonna regret not letting them all in sooner, I tell ya.

  • I have a question about the video.

  • bespoke shoe industry will change when they adopt 3d scanning

  • What's the best way to find some one measure feet my foot presicely? and a Taylor to measure exactly to have a Costom Taylor made suit??.

  • This guy has "Ole Miss alumnus" written all over him.

  • Get your greasy hair washed

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