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Alden LWB Barrie Question: Narrower width vs 1/2 size smaller?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Regarding Alden's Cordovan Long Wing Blucher on the Barrie last: I've read in other threads and on vendors' websites that these run about a half-size larger than a typical shoe, including many of Alden's other lasts. But instead of ordering a half-size smaller (e.g. 12 to 11 1/2) as many suggest, do any of you have experience ordering the same length but with a narrower width (e.g. 12D to 12C)? The reason I ask is because yesterday I went into the Alden Shop in SF to buy the LWB. I asked for size 12D, since that is what I wear in the Plaza Last, but when I tried it on, it was too large. The clerk didn't mention that the Barrie last usually fits a half-size larger (I only read that online after I got home) and instead suggested that I try the 12C. I did, and it seemed to fit okay, except that I was a little concerned since there seemed to be a long crease across the uppers when I laced them up, and the two leather flaps almost met when I laced them over the tongue. But in my enthusiasm I brushed these concerns aside and bought the shoes... Anyway, I am beating myself up today since I think that instead of buying a narrower width I should have bought a half-size down, as has been suggested by others here. I'm actually a bit irked that the clerk didn't even bring that up as an option, considering it's apparently quite common (edit: also mad at myself for not thinking of it) The shoes do fit "okay" (maybe slightly loose, but no major heel slippage), but my main concern is actually the deep crease, which I worry could be a sign that the shoes are a tad too big and that they will wear out faster. Hence my question: wondering if any of you have experience about sizing on the Barrie last --- and/or whether this crease might actually be typical of this shoe? P.S. I wore the shoes to work (meaning I probably can't exchange them as I've worn them outside)... normally I'm not this OCD about a pair of shoes, but I've also never spent $600 on a pair before either...
post #2 of 22
My shoes fit. They have creases. They aren't related. Also, I've never heard of a shoe wearing out faster due to fit.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback... About the crease, it's actually a single deep crease right across the shoe under the laces where it bends. It is not the usual series of littler creases that I typically see in my other dress shoes that fit. My cobbler actually told me once that this deep single crease is a sign that the shoe is too big and that it could crack eventually at the corners, which is why I was concerned. But yeah, maybe I'm overreacting, especially since I've worn them and I don't believe the Alden Shop would exchange them anyway for a different size at this point. I guess I should just not worry about it. They don't fit perfectly, but they aren't unwearable either. I just have to lace them tightly.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelonpelon175 View Post
Regarding Alden's Cordovan Long Wing Blucher on the Barrie last: I've read in other threads and on vendors' websites that these run about a half-size larger than a typical shoe, including many of Alden's other lasts. But instead of ordering a half-size smaller (e.g. 12 to 11 1/2) as many suggest, do any of you have experience ordering the same length but with a narrower width (e.g. 12D to 12C)?

The reason I ask is because yesterday I went into the Alden Shop in SF to buy the LWB. I asked for size 12D, since that is what I wear in the Plaza Last, but when I tried it on, it was too large. The clerk didn't mention that the Barrie last usually fits a half-size larger (I only read that online after I got home) and instead suggested that I try the 12C. I did, and it seemed to fit okay, except that I was a little concerned since there seemed to be a long crease across the uppers when I laced them up, and the two leather flaps almost met when I laced them over the tongue. But in my enthusiasm I brushed these concerns aside and bought the shoes...

Anyway, I am beating myself up today since I think that instead of buying a narrower width I should have bought a half-size down, as has been suggested by others here. I'm actually a bit irked that the clerk didn't even bring that up as an option, considering it's apparently quite common (edit: also mad at myself for not thinking of it)

The shoes do fit "okay" (maybe slightly loose, but no major heel slippage), but my main concern is actually the deep crease, which I worry could be a sign that the shoes are a tad too big and that they will wear out faster. Hence my question: wondering if any of you have experience about sizing on the Barrie last --- and/or whether this crease might actually be typical of this shoe?

P.S. I wore the shoes to work (meaning I probably can't exchange them as I've worn them outside)... normally I'm not this OCD about a pair of shoes, but I've also never spent $600 on a pair before either...

They should have an 11.5D in stock for you to compare. So, I would simply call the manager and explain to him the situation as you have on this thread. I think if you take a calm and polite approach with him, you may not be screwed (out of an exchange) even though you wore them out already. It's not like you wore them and then had buyer's remorse. Rather, you're not completely happy with the fit, and you're looking to improve it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pelonpelon175 View Post
Thanks for the feedback... About the crease, it's actually a single deep crease right across the shoe under the laces where it bends. It is not the usual series of littler creases that I typically see in my other dress shoes that fit. My cobbler actually told me once that this deep single crease is a sign that the shoe is too big and that it could crack eventually at the corners, which is why I was concerned.

While this could be indicative of fit, it could also be an attribute of shell. I don't have any shell shoes, so I cannot comment whether or not this is inherent with shell, but based on what I've read and seen on this forum, shell creases quite a bit differently than calf.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tomboys... good suggestions. Much appreciated...
post #6 of 22
NP. Good luck and I hope it turns out well for you. Keep us posted.
post #7 of 22
Go 1/2 size down with the Barrie. I went from a 11.5D to an 11D on the Barrie.
post #8 of 22
One width more narrow is standard advice. Most runs / retailers do not stock multiple widths. They are the ones who recommend one half size down.

Also note 11.5D is a bigger shoe than a 12C. Widths are more significant than lengths in terms of adding volume. Its simple math.

I think you have the right size. The laces coming together is not an indicator of a bad size if your arch is low. I would trust those guys to get your size right vs. second guessing based on what alden of carmel and other non C width stocking stores recommend.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dewey... that's logical! It puts my mind at ease a bit. I'm going to quit worrying about it and just enjoy them. Someday I might try on an 11.5D just for comparison (e.g. if I ever want to buy another shoe on the Barrie last), but I don't think I'll go back into the store to try and exchange these. They still look new, but still... By the way, I don't blame the shope, since they didn't force me to whip out my credit card and take them home. In case my previous post sounded critical of the shop staff, that was probably just my anxiety talking. I want to clarify that they were very nice at the shop.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelonpelon175 View Post
I'm going to quit worrying about it and just enjoy them. Someday I might try on an 11.5D just for comparison (e.g. if I ever want to buy another shoe on the Barrie last), but I don't think I'll go back into the store to try and exchange these. They still look new, but still...

Sorry, I just don't understand the "fear" of checking out what could be a viable solution to your fit concerns. What are you afraid of? Sure, maybe the 12C is the best fitting shoe for you in the barrie last, but what if it isn't? What if you try on the 11.5D and it's everything you hope for? True, it may not be any better, in fact, it may be worse. But, you're not going to know until you try.

The SF Alden store resists measuring feet because too many people get hung up on their "numerical size". What they tend to do is have their customers try on the shoes and purchase the ones that fit and feel the best, not just on what the number on the box says. As it stands right now, the impetus for your thread stems from a fit issue, not necessarily a "numerical size" issue. So, why not go through the process of elimination to ensure you have the best fitting shoe for yourself?
post #11 of 22
Is this your first pair of shell cordovan shoe? You mentioned that your other shoes have small creases instead of the "ripples" you see in your new shoe. That might be the nature of shell cordovan. You should try out a variety of width and +/- 0.5 sizes and check which one fits you best. You have the benefit of a physical store, why not take advantage of that. For what its worth, I like the barrie last alot and I am in the minority because I personally did not go down a size and simply took my regular width and size. I do not have heel slippage, the ball of my feet lines up at the widest point and neither does my shoe crease abnormally. That's good enough a fit as I can get.
post #12 of 22
For the Barrie last I can comfortable wear both the 12C and the 11.5D. After walking around the store for a while in both pairs, I was still unable to tell the difference.

Also, as has been mentioned by others, do you know the difference between Shell Cordovan and Calfskin?

I'm not saying, but just saying...
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the comments... Yes, this is my first pair of shell cordovan shoes, and I chose them because I saw and fell in love with the color #8 (especially in the sunshine). Until this morning - reading online - I had no idea about the many differences between shell and calfskin, especially regarding the creasing issue (and how shell creases are lighter in color). After seeing several pictures online of long, deep, hinge-type creases in shell cordovan shoes, I realize that what I'm experiencing in my shoes is actually very typical, which puts my mind at ease about that.

While I am curious to try on an 11.5D in the Barrie last at some point (I'm interested in some of their boots in that last), I'm more satisfied with my 12C shoes today - especially after reading all of your feedback. My main fit doubts were the result of ignorance about shell cordovan (i.e. creasing issue) combined with the fact that I've never owned such a heavy, clunky shoe that didn't fit super snug (all my previous "nice" shoes were Italian-made calfskin such as Bruno Magli, etc.). These LWB are the first shoes I've owned with as much room in the toes, but I think that's actually typical of the shoe. But they must be my size, or at least close enough to it, since they do not slip in the heel and at the widest point the ball of my feet does match the shoe.

Tomboys, I think you have a great point about at least taking them back to try on other pairs, just in case, but I guess I'm simply averse to returning anything (I know, I have issues). Given that I did walk around outside a bit, even though they still look great, I think the shop could have a problem re-stocking them if I were to try and exchange them. So, I'd rather just be accept this purchase and try and be more thoughtful in the future about impulse buys.

Thanks again everyone! I feel much more educated about shoes after the last couple of days.
post #14 of 22
As my kids say, "I feel ya." LOL.

Please understand that all I was suggesting was that since you didn't try on the 11.5D, it would be prudent to give it a shot to see if the overall fit would be better than your 12C. If was indeed better, then at that point you could either speak to the manager in hopes of facilitating an exchange, or you could simply just walk out armed with better knowledge for your next purchase. If it was very similar or worse, then you could take solace that the fit of the 12C was as good as it was going to get.

Just to share my experience when I was looking at that shoe. I am between a D and E width and while my foot only measures out to a 9 (stubby toes), I actually need a 9.5 based on heel to knuckle measurement. Additionally, I have somewhat of a high instep, so I need a shoe that has a touch more volume. So, on paper, the Barrie last should work well for me. Guess what?, it doesn't. I tried on a 9D, 9E, 9.5C,D and E. The "best" was the 9E, but even then, it wasn't great IMO. My heel felt "floaty", so I passed on it.

The last that fit me the best? Aberdeen in 9.5E. Go figure.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomboys View Post
Just to share my experience when I was looking at that shoe. I am between a D and E width and while my foot only measures out to a 9 (stubby toes), I actually need a 9.5 based on heel to knuckle measurement.

Under the assumption that ball length (heel-to-ball measurement) is not a relevant as Brannock would like you to think, your shoe size would be (US) 9 D or E.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomboys View Post
I tried on a 9D, 9E, 9.5C,D and E. The "best" was the 9E, but even then, it wasn't great IMO. My heel felt "floaty", so I passed on it.

Sounds as if it fit like it should, given that Alden uses combination lasts, IIRC. Switching ball width (from D to E) will automatically increase heel width (from B to C).

This is just what you've experienced: A slightly wider heel width.
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