January 24, 2019

Best shoemaker’s pincers for your craft

Shoemaker’s pincers is a necessary tool if you want to make your shoes, real shoes and not some DIY project. You must have shoemaker’s pincers and your shoe lasts

You need it in the process of lasting, where you must pull the edges of the sewn upper and lining of your shoe and attach them to the insoles.

In shoemaking there are different shoemaker’s pincers to work with and in this post I will show you 3 of them, the most common, and will explain their advantages and disadvantages.

3 Types of  Shoemaker’s pincers

German shoemaker's pincers
German shoemaker's pincers

The jaws width of this shoemaking pincers are 15 mm. It has a hammer to hit the nails during lasting. 

The advantage to work with this type of the shoemaker’s pinseres is that it is very comfortable and easy to last the upper and lining in the middle of the shoe last:

In the arch area (between the toe and heel).

Why ?

Because this pincers can grab a big piece of the upper and you can last evenly (and it is super important in this area) the entire arch area only by grabbing 3 times the edge of the upper and lining. So the best option to last the upper in this place is by working with this shoemaker's pincers.

On other hand …

To last the upper and lining in the pointed toe shoe last or in the heel area, working with this kind of pinsers, will be a hard task for you. Because the jaws are wide and it is difficult to grab the tiny folds of the upper and lining that will appear during lasting.

Italian shoemaker's pincers

This is a shoemaker’s pincers with jaw, width of 1 cm, and it also has the hammer side. 

It is wide enough to grab and attach the upper and lining edges in the arch area and it is not too wide (like the previous pincers) to last the upper in the toe and heel area. If yu want to know more about lasting process , read this article: "How to make shoes-Lasting porcess".

It is not perfect pincers to last the upper in these narrow and curved places of the shoe last but it is possible.It is possible, because you can grab the edges using the corner/edge of the jaws.

Narrow Italian shoemaker's pincers
Narrow Italian shoemaker's pincers

The width of the jaws is 10 mm and it has hammer side as well.

I don’t like this kind of pincers because the jaws of this pinsers are too thick and it is very difficult to grab the small folds of the upper and lining when lasting.

There are also a shoemaker’s pinceres with jaw width of 5mm.

This is a perfect pincers to grab and attach the upper and lining in the toe and heel area. You can grab the edges even with small folds and attach them easily to the insole.


I don’t recommend lasting the upper and lining in the arch area of your shoes working with such a narrow jaw.

There are also many other old type pincers and new (modern) pincers with slightly different shapes of the handle and jaws, but I personally work with the two first types of the pincers. 

More than that, most of the time I work with the second type of pincers.

For me the reason is very simple. It’s because I can last every part of the upper and lining without any difficulty, working with this type of shoemaker’s pincers. 

Hey, it's not like I am selling this pincers! I can only recommend what I am working with myself and this is the pincers type that I provide to my students in my 1 Year Program.

Now, to see it in action, please check the shoe making tutorial at the begining of this article, where I explain how to work with pincers during lasting. 

Comment and share the video if you like shoemaking 🙂

Master shoemaker holding Shoemaker's pincers

Transcript of the video tutorial:

00:00 In this to making video, I want to talk with you about this shoe making tool, shoemaking pincers. This tool is one of the most important tools that you should have to make your shoes, without pincers you can't make your shoes. And in this video I want to show you how to work with this pincers. Don't forget to subscribe and click the bell to get notified, when my new video comes out. I post new videos every week, so if you like this video, subscribe to my channel.

00:39 This shoemaker's pincers I recommend to use in your shoe making work. There are other few types and you can check what are those types in the post and the link to this post I attached in the description or just click the I button on the top right side of the video. So how to work with this instrument. You should grab the edge of your lining or upper with the jaw of this pincers, just like this. Grab the edge and pull it, but during pooling the edge of the lining or upper, don't use the effort because it has this hammer side. So place it, on the insole, and use it as a leverage to pull, to pull the edge of the upper. So I repeat it again, grab the edge, place it on the insole and use this side of the the hammer, hammer of the pincers to pull it, pull, fix it and place nail.

01:52 You see, it has the hammer side to attach nails during lasting. Then if you don't have tack puller take off nails working with the same pincers, grab again, the edge of the lining, stay firm and then place nail. Then after you will last the lining in the joints, you should work on your toe, toe area. So what is important here is to avoid creation of folds. To word this creation of folds, during pulling the edge of the lining, and you should twist it a little bit. So grab the edge where you have...Let's see it here. Here you have fold, big fold. So grab the middle of this fold with this pincers. Pull it and twist. You see, this is how you will eliminate creation of the folds. Now I have fold here, so to avoid the creation of the folds here on the bottom edge: grab, twist and attach the nail. Yeah, and so on. Grab, twist and attach the nail. So this is how you should work during lasting with this pincers. It's very easy to work with type of the pincers because it has the hammer side to pull upper and lining and to attach nails. That's it. Don't forget to subscribe and click the bell to be notified when my new video will come out. Thank you and see you in the next video.

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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