The history of a-forme

Alt-Berg is run by bootmakers - it is in every sense a bootmakers company.

The Alt-Berg Bootmakers have always tried to combine their traditions and 'know how' of classic bootmaking, with the ever changing needs of today's customer. Nowhere has this been more evident that in the development of the new A-Forme® Last (footshape).

A New Foot Shape

During 2006, the bootmakers at Alt-Berg identified a foot shape that had different characteristics to the most common type of foot shape covered by their '5 width fitting' lasts. They called this foot 'the asymmetric foot' - it had 4 key features:

  • Large toe, to inside heel was more straight: Standard boot shapes pushed the large toe sideways (inwards)
  • Narrower heel and waist: Heel and instep moved more than the average foot when laced securely
  • Wider, shallower, forefoot: Too much room above flex area of a standard boot - too much pressure at the sides of the forefoot
  • Instep was further back: Foot had tendency to slip forward more than average

A New Bootmaking Last

During the period 2006-2011, Alt-Berg trialled many variations of lasts - some were based on old lasts from the 1930's-1950's - other features were completely new.

By 2012, the new last was developed - they called it the asymmetric forme last - or the A-Forme® last. Many of the changes are subtle - but the A-Forme® last sits at the centre of the types of foot that could be classified as 'asymmetric'.

There are 5 key features:

  • Toe Shape: Is asymmetric, and inspired by an early running shoe shape (straight down the inside curved at the outside)
  • The Waist: Ergonomic shape - developed from the 'Hawkins' last (used to produce aircrew boots during WWII). The sculpted narrow waist of this 'Hawkins' last is enhanced because it was originally designed for the Goodyear Welted Shoes, which go in further at the waist
  • The Heel: Developed from a 1940's last by Avalon (Somerset 1966), the uniquely shaped heel was modified and remodelled to suit men's and ladies boot styles
  • Toe Roll or Toe Spring: Inspired by the original classic shepherds last - used in the moorlands of the Northern Dales for much of the late 19th and 20th century. The extreme toe roll was modified to suit a more modern rough terrain boot
  • Wide Shallow Forefoot, and Rear Set Instep: Overall, the volume is slightly more than medium, but shallower over the flex area, and the rear set instep allows the insole base to be wider than standard.

During late 2012/2013, the A-Forme last was used as the base for the further development of the Ladies Elite last, and the new ergonomic Men's Tabbing Last.

A new - very high volume last (prototype name CMB9X) is currently being derived from the A-Forme - production is anticipated some time in 2014.