Yup, that's me. They're awesome, and the resole definitely makes it work.As for sizing, I'm talking TTS for Brannock. I'm a 10.5E with medium socks Brannock, and a 10.5 2030, though frankly my guidi 2030s felt a bit short and if/when natty shell Vibergs come up again (maybe this month, Drew tells me) I'm going to order an 11.
I find most people size down incorrectly with Viberg and/or the 2030. I find the ball of my foot is in the right place if I go TTS and it's still very narrow in the toes even when sized right. Sizing down will likely lead to cramped toes and possibly denial about an ill fitting boot. Wish I'd known that before I bought and subsequently sold my Natty Shells.
Amazingly little known fact, the leather tips on crepe soles are replaceable. Take a close look at the welt stitching, you'll see that the stitching around the tip of your shoe is a separate piece of thread from the stitching that goes around the rest of the shoe. You can just have a cobbler take off the tip without affecting the rest of the welt (which is stitched to the midsole), attach a new piece of leather there, and sew on a new tip, and you're good to go.
There will be a run of natural shell boots sometime in the next couple of months (pre-order, of course). Current estimate, I was told, was by the end of April. No word on what the specs will be, Drew said the details had changed several times so far. I'm hoping for plain toe, personally.
That stitch is a perennial problem with any handsewn makers. Rancourt in current runs now uses a box stitch (where a rectangle is stitched around the penny slot) instead of running stitches down the length of the saddle. This has been controversial, as some (myself included) think the box ruins the aesthetic. However, it's not their fault that the full length stitch runs like that, and they're kind of in a bad spot. Especially as the shoes that people are getting right now...