It's no accident that the Henry has such a great fit. When it comes to performance footwear development, the last comes first. What’s a last you ask? Gary Siriano, in the footwear development game for over 26 years for brands like ASICS, Etonic, New Balance, Puma and now YORK Athletics, tells us what a last is and why it’s so important.
Can you explain what a footwear last is and why it's important for fit?
The last is a foot like (plastic or wood) model that the shoe takes its shape from. It is important because any little change in toe box height/width, cuboid, etc....will alter the fit. This is why it is so important to have an extensive FIT Test program early on to ensure all fit and comfort attributes are addressed. It can take several iterations to finally dial this in. In our case, it has taken less than 6 months.
In the footwear industry they say: "The last is first." That sounds catchy, but what does it mean?
Yes, "The last is first." That means the foundation for any shoe, especially a new brand like us, must have a great fitting shoe and that starts with the last. The overall fit is "dialed in" and has received rave reviews from just about every wear tester and early adopter so far. That in itself is pretty rare, as it normally takes a few years to have that kind of consensus.
What makes the custom last that was developed for YORK's signature style the Henry special?
Not only has the static FIT tests been favorable but the DYNAMIC testing (measuring fit and comfort while foot is in motion) has been equally favorable. FIT and comfort are hard enough to achieve for one sport or activity. We have been able to basically achieve this early on for both running and training. The main difference is the training last is higher (accommodating 5/8 height) than the running last.
Jones & Vining created the last. Why did YORK choose to partner with them?
J & V are the foremost experts in performance/lifestyle/casual last development as well as supplying production lasts for companies around the world. They are Boston-based and have long-term relationships with the athletic footwear brands in the area.