Hand lasting operator


Hand lasting operators shape and secure linings and uppers over the last by hand. Hand lasting operators pull the forepart, the waist and the seat of the upper over the last using handtools with the aim of obtaining the final shape of the footwear model. They start by pulling the front part edges of the upper over the last, and pressing the waist and the seat. They then flatten the wiped edges and cut excess box toe and lining, and use stitching or cementing to fix the shape.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to hand lasting operator:

hand laster
hand lasting craftsman
hand lasting technician
manual lasting operator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as hand lasting operator.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Hand lasting operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Hand lasting operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to hand lasting operator.

lasting machine operator
sole and heel operator
pre-lasting operator
footwear finishing and packing operator
footwear stitching machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of hand lasting operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of hand lasting operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

footwear assembly supervisor
footwear production technician
footwear quality control laboratory technician
footwear production supervisor
footwear quality technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of hand lasting operator.

  • Footwear bottoms pre-assembly: The equipment and techniques used for the preparation of bottom components in the footwear industry, including soles, heels, insoles, etc.
  • Assembling processes and techniques for cemented footwear construction: Technology, equipment, machines and tools for lasting and soling in case of cemented footwear constructions.
  • Footwear materials: The characteristics, components, advantages and limitations of a wide range of materials used in footwear production: leather, leather substitutes (synthetics or artificial materials), textile, plastic, rubber etc.
  • Footwear manufacturing technology: Footwear processes technology and machinery involved. The footwear manufacturing starts in the cutting/clicking room , cutting the uppers and bottom components. The upper components are joined together in the closing room by following a precise order of specific operations: skiving, folding, sewing etc. The closed upper, the insole and other bottom components are brought together in the assembling room, where the main operations are lasting and soling. The process ends with finishing operations in the finishing and packing room.
  • Footwear quality: Quality specifications of materials, processes and final products, the most common defects in footwear, quick tests procedures, laboratory tests procedures and standards, adequate equipment for quality checks. Quality assurance of footwear production processes and fundamental concepts on quality including footwear quality framework and standards.
  • Footwear components: Footwear components both for uppers (vamps, quarters, linings, stiffeners, toe puffs etc.) and bottoms (soles, heels, insoles etc.). Ecological concerns and the importance of recycling. Selection of suitable materials and components based on their influence on the footwear style and characteristics, properties and manufacturability. Procedures and methods in chemical and mechanical processing of leather and non-leather materials.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of hand lasting operator.

  • Apply basic rules of maintenance to leather goods and footwear machinery: Apply basic rules of maintenance and cleanliness on footwear and leather goods production equipment and machines that you operate.
  • Apply assembling techniques for cemented footwear construction: Be able to pull the uppers over the last and fix the lasting allowance on insole, manually or by special machines for forepart lasting, waist lasting, and seat lasting. Apart from the main group of lasting operations, the responsibilities of those assembling footwear cemented types may include the following: bottom cementing and sole cementing, heat setting, sole attaching and pressing, chilling, brushing and polishing, last slipping (before or after finishing operations) and heel attaching etc.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hand lasting operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hand lasting operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Apply footwear bottoms pre-assembling techniques: Split, scour surfaces, reduce sole edges, rough, brush, apply primings, halogenate the soles, degrease etc. Use both manual dexterity and machinery. When using machines, adjust their working parameters.
  • Apply footwear uppers pre-assembling techniques: Prepare lasts and uppers, attach insole, insert stiffener and toe puffs, mould the upper on back part, and condition the uppers before lasting. Perform the above-mentioned operations both manually or by using machines. In case of using machines, adjust working parameters.

ISCO group and title

7536 – Shoemakers and related workers

  1. Hand lasting operator – ESCO
Last updated on October 22, 2022

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