This may not be the appropriate place, but I figured this thread would definitely be the group who would know. I recently, upon the recommendations of this forum, purchased two pair of AE Park Aves, one in black and one in merlot. I'm in the slow process of building a young(ish) professional wardrobe, and these are my first pair of real dress shoes.
I went to my local AE store and was sized. We initially arrived at a 10.5C, but that felt just a little loose and I was concerned about leather stretching. We then tried a 10.5B which seemed to fit like a glove in the store (black). I've only worn the merlot pair out once since purchasing, and for a few hours around the house. After a day of wearing them, my feet hurt so bad, especially my pinky toes, that I could barely walk. Now, I notice an uncomfortable pressure on the outside ball of my foot and my pinky toe as soon as I put the shoes on. I've noticed a slight difference in where the pressure is between each pair, but neither is comfortable.
I contacted the AE store, and they assured me that this was normal. However, they offered, if I would wear them around the house a few more evenings, to first attempt to stretch the shoes, and then exchange them if I am not happy. Basically, I'm hoping if someone can give me an tips for how they should feel. Is it normal for them to be this uncomfortable while breaking them in? If I put them on and then sit in a chair, I am definitely aware of pressure on my feet. I'm really like a lot of AE shoes and am more than willing to go through the discomfort of breaking them in, but if this is not normal and indicates the wrong size, I'd rather get them exchanged sooner rather than later.
If the ball length of the shoe is too great, your pinky toe will get crushed. Perhaps a wider, shorter shoe is in order. IMO ball length fit is much more important than toe/foot length fit.