I measure a 9.5D and a 10C/D on the Brannock. I tried on various 5 last shoes and it went like this:
10D - Too long with extra room in the heel. No toe issues.
9.5D - Same as above
9D - Length and heel fits great. Pressure on the side of my toes.
9E - Toes have no pressure. Heel has too much space, as much space as the 10D.
I have two questions:
1. How much pressure if any do you feel on the sides of your toes in a new pair of AE?
2. What size would you try next based on the above attempts?
I think some pressure on the sides of the toes is OK, as long as it doesn't hurt initially or end up hurting after a day of wear. If the initial pressure isn't bad, the shoes may break in a bit and loosen up. I usually accept some slight pressure in the sides if everything else is OK.
I guess the next size you should try is probably 9.5C