I would personally never go with a shoe that hurt as soon as I put it on. Sounds to me like the 8's fit correctly. That's exactly how my Beckman's fit. Almost any work boot is going to have room up front. If the width feels good and they don't slide around when you walk, I think you're good. I bought my 8146's a half size too big. My feet slid around in them after they broke in. I went with an insole to make up the difference.