There are levels of acceptance when it comes buying RTW do to as you mention the variances of owners ankle, leg area...however owning 20+ pairs of boots from 5-7 different makers you do get a feel for what is in range for being a good fit for an RTW...and while I do strive for as perfect of a fit I can get in the lasted area and that always takes centerstage..the shaft area there is a little more forgiveness....however from all the pictures of Vass boots I have seen and with the pair I own ...they seem to fall out of what I would consider acceptable.
What is the "in range"? People obsess on SF about how wide the facings should be apart at the top of a low quarter oxford. And rightfully so.
But with a boot, suddenly, it doesn't matter? I've seen photographs of boots here, being worn, where the facings on the leg are pulled tight together and it is quite obvious the tops still aren't snug against the leg. And I've seen the reverse...where the owner has pulled the laces tight and the facing's gap is all over the place--an inch wide at the break of the ankle and closed but loose at the top.
It is possible for a bespoke maker to control that gap even while taking into consideration that as the boot/shoe is broken in, the creasing in the ankle will cause the tops to drop down the leg and the fit to change from when it was new.
That uncertainty alone would make fitting the leg of a boots problematic nevermind when no measurements are available (RTW).
But a boot that closes up tight without closing on the leg itself is simply not fit. And the converse is equally true--a boot top with facings so wide that the laces themselves become a comfort problem, is unsightly at best.
Given the nature of RTW, and the absence of a meaningful patterning standard or measurements directly related to the customer, there is probably no answer...it's always going to be an issue of "one size fits all."
And whether it be insteps or boot tops or heel seat widths or toe cramping...IMO, without the "level of acceptance" you cite, RTW is just another blind and rather expensive crap shoot.
But to return to the point, whether it is an oxford or a balmoral oxford or a derby, doesn't make any difference.
edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 3/8/15 at 10:00am