Tongue: Custom didn’t quite work for me. I don’t think I got the ‘extra leather’ on the gause or tongue built into the boot. Not a big issue, but I knew through the 2 try-on pair of boots that getting my foot with my high arches into and out of the boot were going to be difficult. I ordered the extra leather to help alleviate the tight fit. They are very tight going on and taking off, but fit so well once on that I’ll live with it as it will eventually work itself loose. I included a picture of the leather ‘tongue’ and would like to know if anyone else has the same, smaller, or larger leather piece that fits under the laces.
Hooks: I really didn’t want hooks, but knew from past experience they are nice for quick on and off. I was going to go with just 2 hooks and studied on the forum and decided to go with the top tree hooks and 5 eye-lets. Not sure how it got messed up, but instead I only got 3 eye-lets towards the toe and 4 hooks with another eye-let on the top. This is quite disappointing, as this is the opposite of what I wanted, but again easy to work around. I’ll ask Kyle at bakers how they fix this and if it would be worth the effort. I would think ‘reworking’ the boot would involve a ‘repair job’ and weaken the boot so will have to think about it more.
Arch Ease: WOW, is it going to take some wear to break in the ‘ledge’ on the bottom of the boot. I have read enough to know that everyone has to break in the boot and this will turn into a positive with a little wear, so will not worry to much and just make sure I wear them a little every day till they form to the bottom of my foot. (or my foot forms to the boot) I’m currently wearing a pair of boots 20+ years old and are completely formed to my foot, so I don’t think this is a big deal just got to work with them. I do wish I started with a quality boot when I was younger, I have learned to never underestimate a quality tool.
I'll post an update after talking with Kyle at bakers and follow-up on the break in cycle. Any pointers on the best way to break in a pair of White’s would be helpful. I hear you fill a bucket with water and stand in them with your boots on… kidding, I’m only kidding. I WILL NOT STAND IN WATER, to break in a pair of boots.
They look great, congrats!
I think you can easily deal with the bad and send them back to change the the eyes. You can even have them change the tongue to regular size if you wanted. Getting my distressed on and off was very difficult at first, I used a long handle shoe horn and it worked out fine. Now that they are broken in, I can just pull them on no problem. I know some guys cut the sides of the tongue (Baker's even offered to do that for mine), but I didn't want to mess with the integrity.
The arch just takes time...a lot of time. I thought it was weird with my first pair many years ago, but now I miss it when I'm wearing my Swing last SD's (or any non-Whites). Whites will suggest 1/2 hour a day for the first week and slowly increase the time. Walking on uneven surfaces always helped me break in my Whites faster.
Sucks to pack them back up to fix the eyes, but like you said they will last forever...whats three more weeks, they will be back just the way you want them! I suggest a flat rate Priority Mail box to expedite the process on your end:)